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14 Best Grocery Store Chains For Pick-Up Orders

Grocery storefronts with location pin
Grocery storefronts with location pin - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty Images

In the middle of a super busy week when you don't have enough time to trudge through a crowded grocery store but your fridge is barren and your pantry is collecting dust, you may want to call in the big guns: grocery store pick-up. I personally love receiving my groceries this way, for several reasons. First, it's incredibly convenient to just pull up to the store, load your groceries into your car, and drive away. Second, ordering your items through an app means that you can get everything on your list without having to wander through the whole store looking for a niche item.

That said, this method certainly has cons — you're less likely to spontaneously try a new item, taste a free sample, or select the jug of milk that's farthest back in the row so you get the best sell-by date (though perhaps you're one of many people who prefer less perishable, non-dairy milk). But for folks still curious about grocery pick-up, I've compiled a list of the best supermarkets to visit based on some factors like pick-up cost, pick-up window range, replacement item policy, and more.

Read more: 12 Popular Grocery Store Butter Brands, Ranked

Wegmans

Wegmans storefront
Wegmans storefront - Bo Shen / Getty Images

I am personally a huge fan of Wegmans' pick-up order system, for too many reasons to count. First of all, the app is very user-friendly — it even includes a section where you can virtually clip coupons that will automatically be applied to your cart, so there's no forgetting that tiny paper coupon in your wallet. Wegmans' pick-up window is also very forgiving, and depending on the day and how busy your nearest location is, you can schedule a pick-up for as soon as an hour and up to five days ahead of time.

Something else to love about Wegmans' grocery pick-up is its policy on missing your pick-up window. The app gives you an hour to pick up your items, but as long as you do so on the same day as your pick-up window, you won't be charged any fees. Plus, the minimum amount you need to spend to place a pick-up order is just $10. There's no pick-up fee, and the pick-up section is clearly marked and easy to find. The only downside is that if you don't pick up your groceries the day of your chosen window, you won't be able to get a refund or pick them up another time.

Giant

Giant storefront
Giant storefront - Hapabapa / Getty Images

The Giant supermarket is, well, giant. There are almost 70 of these grocery stores across the northeast region of the U.S., specifically in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Its website also features a virtual grocery store, so you can really feel like you're in the store in person (which is super dystopian but also super neat).

As for its policies, Giant doesn't charge a pick-up fee, and there's no minimum dollar amount for pick-up orders, so if you just want to go quickly pick up one thing that you need for that meal you're making for dinner, you can. This is pretty unusual for most grocery store pick-up policies, as most have a minimum amount of at least $10. So Giant deserves some props. The pick-up hour window is pretty large, spanning from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., so you're able to place your order and pick it up until then.

Target

Target pickup person
Target pickup person - Scott Olson/Getty Images

While everyone's favorite hobby is walking around Target, appreciating the good vibes, and perusing their favorite sections (home decor, candles, clothes, jewelry, vinyls, etc.), sometimes you've just got to place a quick pick-up order to get what you need and go. Though it sucks to miss out on the fun of Target, sometimes you have to avoid all of the impulse purchases you'd make if you did go in.

Luckily, Target's pick-up service is top-tier. Target calls its service drive-up, where you can choose your items on the app and then pull up your car to the very clearly marked drive-up area and get your items. If you're worried that your items won't be available, then you can choose some substitutions for your items in the app. Another pro of choosing Target for pick-up orders is that not only can you get groceries, but you can also use the service for any items Target has in-store, like clothes, books, and home decor. Target has been shifting its focus to groceries in recent years, so there's a good amount of food options you can order for pick-up.

Kroger

a Kroger building
a Kroger building - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Another company killing it in the grocery pick-up game is the supermarket Kroger. Kroger's pick-up service does have a lot going for it, however, it's not as top-tier as some other grocery stores on this list. This is because you have to purchase at least $35 worth of items for your pick-up to be free, which is rather high compared to the competitive $0 at Giant.

Kroger stores are located in 16 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and more. So folks in the Southern states can enjoy the pick-up order perks Kroger offers. Some of the pros of Kroger, and why it's on this list when it has such a high minimum spend for pick-up, is that Kroger has some new trendy technology to keep its cold and frozen items frigid before you pick them up, you get the same deals and promotions doing online pick-up as you would in-store, and the prices for the items are the same for pick-up as they are in the store.

Costco

outside of Costco
outside of Costco - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Ah, everyone's favorite membership wholesale supermarket store (say that five times fast). Costco is a behemoth and a sensation, with people flocking to the stores for tasty free samples, freedom to roam the never-ending aisles, and, of course, the food court. But if you need to pick up an order and don't have the time to get lost in Costco, at least the grocery store has a good pick-up policy.

There are a lot of pros and cons with the Costco curbside pick-up policies, but there are enough pros to have it on this list. First, the cons. Only some Costco locations offer curbside pick-up and you have to actually have a Costco membership in order to take advantage of the service. Now, the pros. There aren't any extra fees you have to pay to use the pick-up service, and most of the products in-store are available for pick-up (though not all). Because Costco offers so many products in its stores beyond food, like tech, you can pick up many different items with your grocery order.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market - Lpettet/Getty Images

Whole Foods Market is an oasis of health foods, expensive snacks, and actually good produce. While a lot of its products are super expensive, it does offer seriously high-quality meat, fish, and more, so you are getting what you pay for. As far as the curbside pick-up orders go, Whole Foods Market partners with Amazon for its deliveries and pick-up orders. There aren't any fees for curbside pick-up if you have an Amazon Prime account, which is nice considering how much you're paying for groceries (and Amazon Prime per month). Think of it as a perk of being a member.

One con, though, is that you may have to pay a rush fee if you need your pick-up order sooner. Another con, though it wouldn't apply to many people, is that you have to have an Amazon account in order to place an order. So, while this isn't the best grocery store if you don't have Amazon, it still has solid pick-up policies, and Whole Foods Market stores are located around the country.

Publix

Publix outside building
Publix outside building - Kenwiedemann/Getty Images

Publix is a grocery store loved by Floridians and communities lucky enough to have one in their area. Fan favorites in the store include the hot bar section, where you can buy Pub Subs (Publix sandwiches), delicious popcorn chicken, and banging sides like mac and cheese, and the Publix bakery section.

Publix partners with Instacart for pick-up, so there are a ton of pros for placing a pick-up order from this chain. First, a big pro is that in most states where Publix's are located (including Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia) you can order alcohol for pick-up, which is super convenient when you need to quickly grab a six-pack before your barbecue. One con, though, of Publix curbside pick-up is that you can't apply all of the coupons you can in-store to your pick-up order. But the delicious food items available here make it worth it for pick-up if there's a Publix in your area, in my opinion.

Walmart

outside of Walmart
outside of Walmart - Sundry Photography/Getty Images

Next up on the pick-up lineup is Walmart. While some of its policies may change in the coming months due to the new Walmart+ subscription the corporation is offering, as of right now, you don't need to be a Walmart+ member to use the curbside pick-up option.

Walmart does a decent job with its curbside pick-up policies, including offering substitutions for items that aren't available anymore. You can also get refunds if you're not happy with those substitutions. One con, though, of Walmart's curbside pick-up is that you have to purchase $35 worth of groceries or more in order for the $6.99 pick-up fee to be waived -- which is a pretty high fee compared to other grocers. But Walmart is on this list because it's one of the most prominent chains across the country, so it's a good option if you're curious about curbside pick-up and are buying over $35 worth of groceries (I'm all about avoiding unnecessary fees).

Sam's Club

outside of Sam's Club
outside of Sam's Club - Slobo/Getty Images

Sam's Club, one of the most affordable grocery stores out there, is a competitor of wholesale grocers like Costco and BJ's. People who have a Sam's Club membership are typically totally diehard about the supermarket, so Sam's Club enthusiasts will be overjoyed to know about all of the pros its curbside pick-up has to offer.

Unfortunately, the curbside pick-up is only free for Sam's Club Plus members, which is more expensive than the basic Sam's Club membership. But there's only a $4 fee for non-Sam's Club Plus members, so that's not too bad. And what's nice is that there's no limit or minimum on how much you can order for curbside pick-up, so you can pack your car to the brim, or you could just order a frozen pizza and call it a day. One of my favorite parts about the Sam's Club curbside pick-up offerings is that you have 24 hours after your pick-up slot to pick up your items, so you don't have to rush to get your order the same day as your pick-up window in case something interrupts your pick-up plan.

Safeway

outside of Safeway
outside of Safeway - Jewhyte/Getty Images

Safeway is a very prominent grocery store with over 900 locations in states like Hawaii, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska, and Oregon. There are over 18 states that can take advantage of Safeway's curbside pick-up perks. First, and my favorite perk of Safeway, is that you can get $30 off your first order, which is an amazing and unique opportunity you should take advantage of.

Like a lot of the other grocery stores out there, there is a minimum amount that you have to spend in order not to incur extra fees with curbside pick-up. Safeway requires a purchase of at least $30, which is slightly less than a few other spots on this list. Almost all of the items in-store are available for pick-up. The only exclusions include items like magazines, greeting cards, and stamps, but otherwise, you can get everything that you need from Safeway in a pick-up order.

BJ's

outside of BJs
outside of BJs - Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Another member of the wholesale club (literally, though, it's called BJ's Wholesale Club), BJ's curbside pick-up is always free for members, which is wonderful. Its service is set up really well, it's super smooth to use, and the customer service is really responsive.

You can order as much or as little as you want from BJ's and return any item you're not happy with. If your phone dies and you're not able to alert BJ's that you're in your car ready to pick up your order, you can always go inside and alert an employee and they will bring your order out to your car. BJ's also has a great policy for if you miss your pick-up window. It will hold your items for the next day after your pick-up order window is up until one hour before the store closes, which gives shoppers some extra flexibility.

The Fresh Market

putting groceries in car
putting groceries in car - The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market is more prominent than you may think. It's located in 22 states nationwide and has a solid curbside pick-up policy. The Fresh Market is a competitor of Whole Foods Market and offers many trendy healthy food options. This grocery chain didn't start offering curbside pick-up until May 2020, and since then, it has really perfected its system.

You need an account in order to do online pick-up, but making one is free, so that's great. However, The Fresh Market does have a bit higher fees than some other grocery stores, with pick-up orders over $35 incurring a fee of $1.99 and orders less than $35 resulting in a $3.99 charge. Though the fees are a bit higher than some other stores, the quality of the items is high, so for some, the extra fees may be worth it. But for others, they can be superfluous.

H-E-B

outside of HEB
outside of HEB - Jhvephoto/Getty Images

H-E-B grocery stores are located mostly in the Southern state of Texas, and Texans are very proud of their solid supermarket -- as they should be. For one thing, H-E-B has a great curbside pick-up policy. The store makes the service super easy and intuitive, though one con of H-E-B curbside pick-up is that the store isn't able to hold your order overnight without notice, unlike some of the other grocery stores' policies. This is less forgiving for when you have something come up and can't make it to the store in time for your pick-up window.

You do need an H-E-B account in order to do pick-up, but you need to make an account for almost any grocery store curbside pick-up, so that's pretty standard. I would recommend doing an H-E-B curbside pick-up over stores like Walmart and Target because the grocer has a larger range of products and brands available, which can make it a one-stop shop for all of your grocery needs.

Aldi

outside of Aldi
outside of Aldi - Alan Morris/Getty Images

Aldi is one of my favorite grocery stores in general since it offers ridiculously low and competitive prices, decent food, and cuts down on unnecessary packaging in-store. But you don't have to walk into the store (and put a quarter in a shopping cart to use it) to take advantage of the great products Aldi has to offer.

Currently, only 1,500 of Aldi's stores offer curbside pick-up. You do have to pay a small fee for the service, but with the amount that you're saving on groceries, it's likely still less than you would pay at most other grocery stores. You also do have to pay a small fee for the bags your groceries come in, but that's Aldi's typical policy. The grocer encourages customers to bring their own bags when they shop in-store. Not only does it reduce the amount of bags going into the landfills, but it also saves the chain money because it doesn't have to stock as many bags.

Methodology

ordering grocery pickup
ordering grocery pickup - Chay_Tee/Shutterstock

I chose these grocery stores based on several factors, including if there's a cost for pick-up, a minimum amount before you can choose pick-up, how easy the pick-up is, the policy on missing your pick-up window, how soon you can make the pick-up window, and how far in advance the pick-up window goes. I also looked at large grocery store chains nationwide that would be fairly accessible.

Another factor I considered was how the store handled replacement items and substitutes. Though there are plenty more grocery stores in the U.S. offering grocery pick-up, these are the best right now, based on my personal experience doing frequent grocery pick-ups and doing a lot of research to learn more about grocers outside of my area.

Read the original article on Tasting Table