This post may contain affiliate links.
If you buy something from one of the linked sites you won’t pay anything more, but I might make a commission.
Do you get Fresh Direct delivery? If you have a weekly reservation (or want to get one), there are some important changes you’ll want to know about.
I live in Brooklyn. Driving to a store, loading up my car, and bringing everything back home is not all that easy, since many stores don’t have parking lots, and I’ll most likely have trouble finding a spot near my house when I get back (it’s mostly street parking where I live). I stopped going to Costco and BJ’s regularly almost a decade ago because I found myself hauling giant, heavy packages for one or two blocks, by myself, or even worse, with small children in tow (if I shopped when my husband was home to help, on evenings or weekends, then the stores were a madhouse—there was just no winning on this one).
Long story short, I was getting most groceries and household items delivered before the current situation made it a necessity. Now that so many people are opting for home delivery, things are changing at one of my favorite online stores, Fresh Direct. Plus, delivery slots are now almost impossible to get. But there are a couple of tricks.
I reached out to them for more info on these changes, and if I hear back I’ll update this post.
Delivery options and changes
I’m going to be a bit vague in this post regarding delivery and cutoff times, because I don’t know if they’re the same for all areas. Fresh Direct now covers New York City and some suburbs, plus parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. They even deliver to The Hamptons and the Jersey Shore in the summer. You can check here to see if they cover your area, and what the delivery fees and minimums are.
The cutoff for changing or canceling orders is now earlier than it had been. I used to have more time (until the evening of the day before a morning order, or late at night before an afternoon or evening order for the next day) to make changes. Now, if I have an order coming on a Thursday morning, I can’t make any changes beyond Wednesday morning. So be aware. [Update: I can now make changes up to 4pm the day before a morning delivery.]
There are four kinds of Fresh Direct delivery slots:
These are open to everybody. They’re for people who pay a set delivery fee for each Fresh Direct order. They’re pretty much impossible to get right now, but you can check here.
Delivery Pass reservations
If you purchase a delivery pass, not only will you save money on delivery fees, but you’ll also get the benefit of making a reservation for delivery up to a week in advance (after your first order). So, if you manage to find a spot, you can reserve it, and then go back later to add your items and check out.
However, you have to actually put in your order and complete checkout by 5pm two days before your delivery reservation. This is a change from how it worked in the “before times,” when you had until the day before to complete checkout.
When you make a reservation, there’s a box you can check to make that slot a weekly reservation.
But here’s the catch: if you don’t use this reservation one week, you lose it for all future weeks as well. I guess they don’t want people sitting on unused reservations long-term when demand is so high, which makes sense. So, use it or lose it.
Update: According to the Fresh Direct website, all delivery slots are now weekly reservations. If you do not place an order one week, you will lose your reservation going forward.
Update: I made a new reservation last week and it did NOT save as a weekly reservation (after that order was delivered, my reservation reverted to its old day/time). I called Fresh Direct to let them know that the new wording on the website is very confusing, since my reservation was definitely not a weekly reservation. If you change your reservation day/time, I suggest you call to make sure that it was indeed changed going forward, because I had to get three orders within eight days in order to preserve my reservation.
Chef’s Table slots
I hesitate to even mention these, because you can’t just join the Chef’s Table (it’s for customers who have put in a certain number of orders or spent a certain amount of money per month). But if you are already a member, there is a chance that you will see some Chef’s Table reservations being made available. I saw some a few days ago, but haven’t spotted any since.
[ETA: The week after I wrote this, I checked on a Thursday afternoon and found Chef’s Table spots for all day the following Monday, so they definitely still exist.]
Going forward, if you like and use Fresh Direct, here’s how you can become a Chef’s Table member.
When to look for delivery times
The rumor is that new slots open up at midnight, for the next day a week ahead. I have not seen this happen myself, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening, because the site is nearly impossible to get onto at midnight. I tried to check last night, and it took me fifteen minutes and several error pages to even log in. So the delivery times might have just been sold out by the time I was able to look.
This is when same-day delivery spots usually to come online. I don’t know if Fresh Direct is still making any same-day spots available, but it’s worth taking a look if you’re awake.
5pm might be a good time to try, simply because that’s when reserved slots need to be used by. And while I haven’t been able to confirm that the slots are put right back into circulation at 5, in the past the reservation cutoff times were a sure bet. At this point I doubt there are a lot of people reserving spots and then not using them, but you could get lucky.
[ETA: I have found available slots a minute or two after 5pm several times. I was checking without being signed in, just putting in my address, meaning this was not some kind of special slot for Delivery Pass or Chef’s Table customers. However, it was gone in about two minutes, so be ready!!]
Other than those times, it can be random. If someone cancels their order, their delivery slot may come up as available. If Fresh Direct adds more times, you might happen upon one. Show your kids how to reserve a spot and give them a bounty if they manage to snag one for you. They’re on their phones anyway!
For now, Fresh Direct delivery people cannot bring your order into your home. They’re also not asking for signatures, or taking back the delivery bags. If your order has alcohol, though, they do still need to verify that you’re over 21.
Online tipping has been available for a while, but I’d never used it before last week. Seems like a good idea right now.
[Note: as of late June 2020, Foodkick is no more. It is now part of the new Express Delivery feature of Fresh Direct.]
If you’re in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, you can also try Foodkick, Fresh Direct’s same-day delivery service (or it used to be same day — their delivery slots have been selling out as well). Foodkick is less well known than Fresh Direct, and has a more limited inventory, so every time I’ve needed to put in an order from them in the past few weeks, I’ve had luck at midnight for the following day. So, if I check at 12:05am on Sunday, I can usually get a spot for Monday. Next day, not same day. (Which is as far ahead as they book their deliveries).
Update: This will vary by location, but in the past week (3rd week of April) I’ve had no problem finding same-day Foodkick spots in the morning.
Thank you Fresh Direct!
I’m so grateful for companies like Fresh Direct and their wonderful packers and delivery people for helping to keep their customers supplied with food. As a long-time customer, I can attest to the great customer service and products that Fresh Direct and Foodkick provide, and I hope that they’re able to keep their employees safe while they help the rest of us stay home.