BY CARMEN SIERING
Customers walking into any one of the three Bloomingfoods locations at midday frequently encounter a bustling lunch crowd, and among the most popular menu items, says Operations Manager Paul Read, are the deli sandwiches. Now, thanks to a new delivery agreement with BtownMenus, fans of Bloomingfoods sandwiches don’t have to leave the house or office to get them.
“Just last spring we were discussing how to reach a broader audience, and delivery is the way groceries are going in general,” Read says. “No sooner did we start talking about it but BtownMenus let us know that a lot of people were interested in getting Bloomingfoods delivered. After that, it was a pretty straightforward process.”
It’s a pretty straightforward process for customers, too. Once they access the BtownMenus site, they simply find the Bloomingfoods store of their choice and select from the menu items available.
“Each store has a slightly different menu,” says Bloomingfood’s General Manager Tony Alongi. The East and Near West Side menus offer more variety, including build-your-own sandwiches and a wide selection of sides, plus salads and soups, different cookies, and drinks.
“The menu at Bloomingfoods at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington is the most different due to the limited operation that we run at the school,” says Alongi. The Ivy Tech menu offers a selection of ready-made sandwiches, chips, carrots, and apples as side options, a chocolate chip cookie for dessert, and several drink selections.
While BtownMenus does charge a small delivery fee, Bloomingfoods doesn’t mark up the price of its products, meaning what you pay when you order online is what you would pay if you visited the stores.
Looking to the future, Alongi and Read say Bloomingfoods is investing in technology that will allow the store to track inventory in real time. With that in place, online orders for pickup or delivery of grocery items could become a reality.
“This is a first step,” Alongi says. “Delivery is a hot topic in the grocery industry right now and, for us, this is a test. It’s a way to re-envision ourselves. And there is more to come. It’s a toe in the water to see where we might be able to take this.”
To find the Bloomingfoods’ menu and to place an order, visit btownmenus.com.