Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods is looking at getting into the home delivery of its prepared food and bakery products.
The Henrico County-based company has started a limited test of delivering its products to homes in certain ZIP codes — mostly in the West End — and at the Westminster Canterbury Richmond senior living community.
If the results from the tests look promising, the company said it could expand the service to other parts of Richmond region.
“We know that shifting needs of customers and the expectations have been changing for a while with many different delivery options,” said Scott Aronson, president of Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods.
“We have been looking at doing something like this for a while, but with the pandemic and with the change and needs of our customers, we wanted to accelerate this.”
In March, the company started allowing a drive-thru pickup service of its food products at its offices on Maywill Street in Henrico as a way to help Richmond-area residents worried about going to the grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic to buy Ukrop’s food.
The home delivery is an extension of that service, he said.
The testing period will last at least the next few months.
“The feedback we get back from our customers will allow us to change and improve and hopefully be something we can roll out to the whole market in the near future,” Aronson said.
Most of the company’s full lineup of bakery goods — from its White House rolls and chocolate bar cakes to lemon chess pies and the popular rainbow cookies, as well as its prepared foods including lasagna, chicken cobbler and Ukrop’s breakfast pizza — are available for home delivery.
The service started this week to homes in ZIP codes 23221, 23226 and 23230. The company said it chose those areas initially because it represents a high concentration of homes closest to its bakery and distribution center off Maywill Street.
Making deliveries to residents at Westminster Canterbury began April 17.
Here’s how the service works for residential customers: Deliveries will be made only on Fridays between 1 and 5 p.m. during the testing period. Orders should be submitted online — https://ukropshomestylefoods.com/shop/ — by noon on Wednesdays.
The company suggests a $30 minimum for home delivery. The $4.99 delivery fee is being waived during this testing period.
And no tipping is allowed to the home delivery driver — a nod, the company said, to its roots as a supermarket operator when it did not allow courtesy clerks taking groceries to customers’ cars to accept tips.
For deliveries to Westminster Canterbury residents, orders also must be made by noon on Wednesdays for Friday deliveries between 1 and 3 p.m.
Because of COVID-19, food orders are delivered to a lot next to Westminster Canterbury where employees of the senior living community retrieve them and distribute them.
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods decided to begin delivery to a retirement community after a conversation that Robert S. “Bobby” Ukrop, the company’s chairman and CEO, had with a resident of Westminster Canterbury.
They were “chatting about how Ukrop’s might be of service during the pandemic, [and that] resulted in an opportunity to test the delivery of our foods,” Ukrop said. “During this testing phase, we are determining if this type of delivery option is viable and of interest long-term, not only for this location but more broadly throughout our community.”