Skyrocketing demand for food home deliveries: K-retailers are now creating new delivery models together with local entrepreneurs

The need for food home deliveries has increased sharply across Finland. Many K stores have expanded their ordering hours and delivery areas, and several K-retailers have responded to customers’ wishes by setting up a home delivery service from scratch, for example by cooperating with taxi and catering entrepreneurs.

K-Supermarket Aurora hired a small catering entrepreneur to handle home deliveries: “We want to help people stay at home”

Päivi Orava, the retailer at K-Supermarket Aurora in Espoo, posted a query on her store’s Facebook page for ideas on how to arrange home deliveries. The same evening she received an email from a catering entrepreneur who had idle equipment and staff available. The details were agreed on quickly, and Orava was able to advertise the first round of home deliveries by the next morning.

“We decided to start doing deliveries one round at a time and see how long we can keep them up. Though our system is slightly primitive, we got six orders for the first round – orders that were really important for our customers. This service allows us to help people stay at home,” says retailer Päivi Orava.

The cooperation with Tarjoiluapu Anniina Raita, the catering company, was expanded this week when the K-Supermarket started selling ready meals made by the caterer at the fresh food counter. Orava also feels it is important to focus on small and local producers in these times.

“It’s extremely important in this situation, and we K-retailers can stock small batches of products easily. I encourage small producers to actively get in touch with K-retailers.”

Home deliveries will be continued one order at a time for the time being, and customers will next be offered the chance to pick up their grocery orders from the store’s parking lot. Orava points out that although ensuring the smooth running of normal operations takes up a lot of the retailers’ energy, extra efforts like these are extremely important right now.

“Business is not first and foremost on our mind, as we just want to help people as much as we can. And you never know which of these arrangements may live on long after the crisis is over. I hope as many as possible.”

K-Citymarket Loimaa and local basketball clubs offer free home deliveries to at-risk groups and those in quarantine: “A great helping hand for a town the size of Loimaa”

The K-Citymarket in Loimaa has a long history of cooperation with Lokoko and Bisons, two local basketball clubs. When the clubs contacted the store about arranging free home deliveries, the retailers were eager to embrace the idea. Customers buy and pay for their groceries in K-Citymarket’s online store and the orders are delivered to their homes twice a week in Loimaa town centre and the Hirvikoski area.

“This is a great helping hand especially in a town the size of Loimaa. It’s great that the local basketball community wants to do its part by helping people in these difficult circumstances,” say Mari and Jyrki Koenkytö, the two retailers at K-Citymarket Loimaa.

The free home deliveries are intended for those who are quarantined and at-risk groups who are finding it difficult to shop in-store. Home deliveries will be provided for at least two weeks, after which the store and the clubs will consider whether to continue them.

“With games and practices on hold at the moment, many athletes and people who are active in the clubs are currently searching for ways to benefit their community. This is a good opportunity for them to help the community and other people in a difficult situation. For us as a store, it’s important to try and prevent the spread of the epidemic and to serve the local residents as best we can,” the Koenkytös add.

K-Supermarket Sammonlahti and seven K-Markets in Lappeenranta set up a home delivery service together with taxi entrepreneurs and pharmacies: “I want to bear my responsibility as a retailer”

The weekend before last, Oskari Penttinen, the retailer at K-Supermarket Sammonlahti in Lappeenranta, began receiving distressed queries from customers about whether the store could offer home deliveries during the current crisis. Penttinen began mulling the idea and quickly came up with a solution for a suitable home delivery arrangement that didn’t involve the online store. He had already ordered payment terminals and contacted a health inspector when a partner for the deliveries emerged by accident.

“I was just thinking whether I should make the deliveries myself when someone from Taksi-Saimaa, the centre for local small taxi entrepreneurs, called me to ask if we could set up a new partnership,” Penttinen says.

From there, things moved quickly and the first home deliveries left the store on Monday. The partnership was also joined by two local pharmacies as well as the Ratakatu, Mattila and Tirilä K-Markets of retailer Harri Mattinen and the Kourula, Kivisalmi, Uus-Lavola and Voisalmi K-Markets of retailer Marko Puustinen.

Businesses in Lappeenranta have a history of cooperating with one another, but the home delivery service comes as a new kind of partnership, according to Penttinen.

“By working together across different sectors, entrepreneurs can keep people supplied with food. For my part, I want to serve the residents of this area as well as I can and bear my responsibility as a retailer,” says Oskari Penttinen.

K-Market Munkki, a lunch restaurant and a taxi entrepreneur in Koski join forces: “Demand for home deliveries has just exploded”

Three local entrepreneurs in the town of Koski in southwest Finland quickly joined forces to set up a home delivery service. Taksi Venäläinen, a taxi company, has started delivering grocery orders from K-Market Munkki and lunches prepared by the restaurant Lounas & Bar Akseli to customers’ homes.

The store takes orders over the phone or by email until ten in the morning, and the home deliveries are made in the afternoon. Juha-Pekka Munkki, who has served as the retailer at K-Market Munkki for 26 years, says that the cooperation model between the three entrepreneurs came about naturally in the current situation, even though businesses in the town have not usually engaged in large-scale cooperation in the past.

“We have two shops and a few lunch restaurants, and normally everyone is slightly competing with one another. But in these circumstances it felt natural to work together since business at the restaurant and the taxi company was slow.”

“We used to have a couple of customers who ordered home deliveries, but now demand for home deliveries has just exploded. Our service helps people stay at home, which is the main thing. It will be interesting to see whether there will be a need for home deliveries after the crisis has passed.”

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