New Yorkers have been busily placing orders with grocery delivery services like FreshDirect and delivery.com, not only snapping up staples like bread and milk but stocking up on comfort indulgences like ice cream, snacks and candy, and alcohol, the businesses tell NBC 4.
FreshDirect says that compared to last week, orders were up this week by 40 percent for ice cream, 63 percent for snacks and candy and 57 percent for alcohol.
Of those snacks, the biggest spikes were in red wine, pita chips, chocolate-covered graham crackers and peanut M&Ms.
At delivery.com, grocery and alcohol orders were up 30 percent Thursday over an average Thursday. And alcohol orders were up 10 percent over an average January day.
People ordered 40 percent more batteries than in an average week at delivery.com, and three times more lightbulbs, the company said.
"We believe customers are waiting today (Friday, closer to the storm) to stock up on more perishable items," said Kate McGee, vice president of marketing.
Instacart, the grocery-ordering app service, usually sees an increase of 20 to 30 percent in order volumes before large storms, with more customers buying comfort food like baked goods, cheese and chocolate, it said.
Meanwhile, food takeout service Grubhub says restaurants will be continuing deliveries during the storm, though some may amend their hours.
"We hope diners will be patient if their orders take longer than normal to arrive, given the possibility of street closures impacting the route taken by their delivery person," said Grubhub spokeswoman Katie Norris. "We encourage diners to be generous and appreciative when tipping and readily available in case delivery people have questions."
Homer Logistics, a restaurant delivery service currently catering to midtown and Chelsea, says restaurants are in fact expecting a big bump in delivery volume.
"One owner told us that if we didn't think we could run delivery service it wouldn't be worth it to open because he thought so little of his traffic would be in store," said Home Logistics spokeswoman Marisa Claire Smith.
FreshDirect and Peapod were suspending some of their weekend deliveries, while the others say they'll continue to monitor weather conditions and keep customers up to date.
In the meantime, brick-and-mortar supermarkets were seeing elbow-to-elbow activity in some areas, a typical scene ahead of snowstorms. Photos posted to social media showed long lines and some shelves cleared of staples like bottled water and beverages.
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