A new feature on restaurant reservation platform OpenTable will allow people to reserve grocery shopping times in the same way they reserve times to eat at a restaurant, according to a report by The Verge.
The new addition to OpenTable will let someone choose from a variety of different open time slots, or join a waiting list at a business that’s teamed up with OpenTable.
Right now, the new OpenTable feature is being used by seven businesses throughout San Francisco and Los Angeles — six restaurants that are acting as pop-up markets and one grocery store. The company said it was in “active talks with other national grocers/retailers.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many grocery stores have been under immense strain. People have been stocking up on household items while being told to stay at least 6 feet away from each other, and the stores have been so busy that it’s been hard to keep items on the shelves.
Many stores have resorted to having special hours (usually before opening) for seniors.
Walmart, for example, recently announced special shopping hours and cleaning procedures to help with the situation.
“We know our older customers could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus and to better support them, Walmart is offering special shopping hours. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Our Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time,” Walmart said in a blog post.
OpenTable’s new feature could help with the ongoing issue of crowding of stores, and also allow for a safer way for people to grocery shop while practicing safe social distancing.
“I think every one of us has had to adjust our daily routines in some way, and it’s likely that could continue. We are paying very close attention to our stores and communities and will continue making the necessary changes to help make sure our associates are taken care of and that our customers can get what they need. Let’s all take care of each other out there,” Walmart said.