Grocery Gateway customers in the Toronto area can now get a nice chardonnay with their carrots, or perhaps a bottle of bourbon to go with their beef.
The Longo Bros.-owned grocery delivery service is working the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to add wine and spirits to the approximately 9,500 grocery items Grocery Gateway has available for order online. The deal has been in development for about a year, Longo’s president and CEO Anthony Longo, told Canadian Grocer.
“It’s all about convenience for the customer,” said Longo. “Grocery Gateway is a convenience service for consumers across the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), so adding another category just makes sense.”
This is Grocery Gateway’s second foray into alcohol delivery. Beer has been part of its offer since 2013, with Longo saying that orders have been “steadily increasing” since then.
It now offers a product assortment spanning 22 beer brands, including Budweiser, Creemore, Guinness, Keiths, Labatt and Molson. “Consumers seem to enjoy that service without having to make another stop at The Beer Store to get what they want,” he said.
Grocery Gateway has a delivery license issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. It does not stock any of the alcohol products.
The LCBO has a dedicated product aisle within the Grocery Gateway website and mobile app, allowing shoppers to choose between 160 and 170 wine and spirits products. Items listed on the site range from a $7.60 bottle of Cas Vinicola Gerado Cesari merlot, to a $99 bottle of Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.
All prices are set by the provincial-government owned LCBO and will be identical to those at its brick-and-mortar locations. Grocery Gateway will add a $1.50 service and handling charge for each product, to a maximum of $10 per order. All wine and spirits orders must be accompanied by a minimum $45 grocery order.
Longo said that Grocery Gateway drivers will ask for government-issued ID at the door, and the ordering system will prevent it from delivering alcohol products outside of the LCBO’s normal operating hours. “If you have a 6 a.m. delivery, you can’t have alcohol with that order,” he said.
Longo is confident the new service will help attract new Grocery Gateway customers. “If it’s anything like beer, we’ll have people that will try Grocery Gateway because we have a new offering,” he said. “More importantly, it’s for people shopping Grocery Gateway already. If it helps them eliminate one more stop, then we’ve done our job.”
Thursday’s announcement comes amid a major revamp of alcohol sales in Ontario, with the Wynne Liberals announcing last week that up to 450 grocery stores would be licensed to sell beer by the end of the year. The government announcement did not make specific mention of wine and spirits, although it’s widely believed a similar initiative is in the works.
Grocery Gateway launched in 2004, with Longo saying that revenues are increasing between 10-12% a year, as consumers grow increasingly comfortable with online shopping.
“The majority of our new business is consumers recommending to their friends and neighbours, or they see our trucks in the neighbourhood so they try us out and continue with it,” he said.
Grocery Gateway’s delivery boundaries stretch from Toronto east to Oshawa, west to Waterloo and north to the Newmarket/Aurora area.