An online startup is partnering with two Beacon Hill restaurants to offer curbside pickup of premium groceries at their respective locations.
Grocery Outpost, which recently launched to help local restaurants provide quality fruits, vegetables and meats to consumers, is working with Peregrine at The Whitney Hotel at 170 Charles St. and Harvard Gardens at 316 Cambridge St. to essentially set them up as temporary grocery stores. Through the initial pilot program, Grocery Outpost is also now partnering with Juliet, Pergerine’s sister establishment in Somerville’s Union Square, and plans to expand later this month to work with 15 more restaurants located throughout Boston, as well as in Cambridge, Somerville and possibly Watertown.
“We are learning every day as we continue to navigate the new realities of the response to COVID-19,” said Joshua Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri, co-owners of Peregrine and Juliet, in a statement. “Opportunities like partnering with Grocery Outpost allow us to do more for our staff, connect with our community, and be a part of bridging the need for access that affects our community in differing ways that aren’t always easy to navigate individually. We are excited to be a part of building this new community benefit, which also directly strengthens our ability to support our own team and our business.”
Grocery Outpost customers use the online platform to choose from pre-made bundles of groceries supplied by restaurant wholesalers that include selections such as D’Artagnan meats, Iggys’s Bread and produce from Baldor Food. During designated hours, customers can pick up their food bundles from participating restaurants, which will receive 20 percent of each order to help keep their staff on the payroll.
“It’s a really great way to bring fresh, high-quality groceries to people without them going out to large grocery stores while also making them feel good about supporting their beloved neighborhood restaurants,” said Emma Snyder, who launched Grocery Outpost about five weeks ago with another out-of-work “techie,” Ethan Pierce.
As a result of the pandemic, one study found that 70 percent of restaurants are at risk of closing permanently, Snyder said, while restaurant suppliers have seen their sales drop by as much as 90 percent, resulting in mountains of food intended for restaurants going to waste.
Besides helping restaurants survive these precarious times, Snyder said customers tell her they have adopted healthier diets as a direct result of Grocery Outpost.
“One customer said he has beautiful fridge full of produce so he’s cooking healthier and being more experimental in the kitchen,” Snyder added.
Others, she said, were excited to see some food bundles contain early-summer produce, such as a two-pound bag of cherries.
“Moving forward, we plan to work with chefs from the restaurants who will offer recipes using the ingredients,” Snyder said. “It’s a way to feel connected to some of the Boston area’s greatest chefs.”
The online company has also already given back to local healthcare workers by holding a fundraiser for Mass General’s Health Care Heroes program that provided complimentary groceries to around 40 nurses at the hospital, Snyder said.
And after providing over $10,000 worth of goods to more than 100 households in its first month of operation, Grocery Outpost seems to have found a recipe for success.
“We sell out every week,” Snyder said, “and moving forward, we’ll be doing a greater volume.”
Peregrine will offer grocery pickup on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. while Harvard Gardens is offering it on Tuesday, June 9, from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visit Grocery Outpost at groceryoutpost.com to learn more.