HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What have you made lately?
TELL US

Fresh Direct Updates?

j
jenhen2 Sep 22, 2007 05:29 PM

I used Fresh Direct about a year and a half ago once or twice and I remember generally being pleased at not having to carry my own groceries, but not overly impressed with the quality or service. Do any other New Yorkers have updates on how their service, food and prices are these days? I am debating placing another order.

Thanks!

PS - I know there are recent discussions about people's favorite items, but I am really wondering if it's even worth the bother. Thanks!

  1. foodmonk Sep 22, 2007 09:08 PM

    Seems same as always. I think that their produce is quite fine for being basically just a grocery store, not a produce specialty store. Service is non-existent, but then again, these are just people driving a truck to your residence, not skilled customer service reps. Prices are equal to what I see in the store. For basics, it works great for me. If I want to make sure that I have bought the exact right thing, I go to the store and pick it out myself.

    1. j
      jens Sep 23, 2007 06:18 AM

      I think they're fantastic, given what I require of them. I don't rely on them for fancy things, and I tend not to buy things like fish or choice produce from them (I'd prefer to pick out my own berries, lettuce, etc.) But they are a very efficient way of getting the basics. Having relied on them for five years, I have had a few issues regarding which I have contacted customer service-- for instance, the wrong item was sent, or I forgot to be home at the correct time-- they have always been excellent in their response and any issues have been resolved to my full satisfaction.

      I think the prices are pretty fair, although I really don't do much in the way of comparisson. I also shop at WF and Citarella on a regular basis.

      1. erin07nyc Sep 23, 2007 09:18 AM

        I'll agree that the quality seems the same - I've been using them for 2 - 3 years. Again, they're great for the basics, especially heavy stuff. I've been ordering their meat and chicken recently, as I don't live near a butcher. Steaks are on the expensive side, but not as high as whole foods.

        On the plus side, I used to have to report a couple missing or wrong items after every order for a credit. They've been a lot better in the past year, and I can't remember the last time something was missing.

        11 Replies
        1. re: erin07nyc
          k
          kathryn Sep 23, 2007 09:25 AM

          Same here. Last year, I had a handful of bungled orders. This year, none that I can remember.

          1. re: kathryn
            b
            BW212 Sep 23, 2007 12:39 PM

            I would say that about 40 percent of the time they get the order wrong. And never in our favor. They forget to pack stuff or they pack stuff so badly that something gets broken and everything in one of the boxes arrives covered with some sticky food item. OR they leave stuff on the truck,

            And of course if you have a big order you won't notice it until after they left. So then you are stuck calling them and either asking for a credit or having to wait around for them again to bring the missing items. They are good about reimbursing though.

            We still order from them when we need a lot of bottled goods and heavy things, but, i always am very careful to go through my order and make sure nothing is missing.

            1. re: BW212
              j
              JennS Sep 24, 2007 08:56 AM

              I've actually had the opposite "problem" on most of my recent orders. They've included everything on my orider, but the last 4 or 5 orders, I've gotten something extra that I didn't order. Brown paper lunch bags, a massive bag of Lay's potato chips, Bonne Maman strawberry jam, and a case of green tea have been included by accident.

              1. re: JennS
                k
                KeriT Sep 24, 2007 09:38 AM

                we used to get at least one unordered item in every order. This happened about 5-6 times in a row. Nothing as good as jam though. When they do get things wrong that are not in our favor, they are always good about issuing credits (if you call, the one time I emailed I never heard back).

                1. re: KeriT
                  t
                  TipsyMcStagger Sep 24, 2007 10:14 AM

                  I've never used FD but I recall reading a policy of not allowing their drivers to accept gratuities when they were established several years ago.

                  Is that still the norm?

                  I've been thinking about trying them for cases of Gatorade, etc (things I don't feel like carrying).

                  Tipsy

                  1. re: TipsyMcStagger
                    foodmonk Sep 24, 2007 10:37 AM

                    I actually just got a delivery from them a few minutes ago. I tipped 'em.

                    1. re: foodmonk
                      LeahBaila Sep 24, 2007 10:43 AM

                      ...and I just placed my first order a few minutes ago. How much to tip?

                      1. re: LeahBaila
                        foodmonk Sep 24, 2007 10:48 AM

                        I'd say a couple of dollars. I gave them a five because I ordered cases of stuff from the "bulk" section and I'm sure they had an interesting time getting it up here to my door, considering the weight and number of boxes.

                        1. re: LeahBaila
                          m
                          merrymc Sep 24, 2007 10:49 AM

                          I used to live on the 4th floor of a walk-up, and I tipped around $3 or so. It probably depends on how much of a hassle it is for them to get to the apt. I always tipped, as I imagine the guys aren't making all that much money, and it can be pretty rough labor carrying things up flights of stairs all day.

                          1. re: merrymc
                            m
                            merrymc Sep 24, 2007 10:50 AM

                            Also, my orders were moderate (food for one person) and I never ordered very heavy stuff...for that I'd tip a few dollars more.

                            1. re: merrymc
                              j
                              JennS Nov 7, 2007 06:36 AM

                              I usually tip about $1 per box so it's usually about $5. I live in an elevator building but we usually get heavy stuff.

          2. n
            NancyC Nov 6, 2007 09:54 PM

            I live in Brooklyn so my view is a little skewed compared to some Manhattanites, but while I live near 2 Key Foods and a Met in Prospect Heights, I often find they are best for dry foods and emergencies-only produce. It's been a while since I've bought meat. And compared to the Key Food in Williamsburg, which I never thought was any great shakes when I lived there, these stores seem to have much fewer neighborhood-specific ethnic items.

            One reason I use FD is pure laziness...I don't always want to carry OJ, 2 packs of toilet paper, 2 lbs of frozen shrimp, canned tomatoes, etc. For that stuff, cost is generally the same and I can plan ahead. Also, even though I live right near the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market, Saturdays just don't often work out for me for shopping.

            There are definitely some produce items I can't find at my local stores, although I don't doubt there are stores SOMEWHERE in my vicinity that carry them. FD has a great cheese selection, and the price seems normal. Also, I pretty much only like Fuji apples and I can't think of the last time I saw one in my area (I've lived here a year and a half). Sometimes prices are crazy, sometimes they're OK (never a steal), but I like them more than types available for cheaper at my local stores. FD also has a great selection of cold cuts (all the stores near me seem to have only limited Boar's Head).

            Some items that would be readily available at most Food Emporiums are not here...like nicer baking chocolate. I do like having the parbaked breads on hand, and I recently tried their puff pastry, which was of course not as delectable as Dufour, but much better than Pepperidge Farm for a bit less money.

            Anyway, the prices do add up so it's definitely worth doing some comparison shopping. But every 3-4 weeks it's worth it to me.

            1. g
              gloriousfood Nov 7, 2007 07:14 AM

              I recently tried FD and found the delivery people to be friendlier than expected. I tipped $1/box, but for the love of god, FD is so wasteful its packaging that I soon realized that "equation" would get expensive rather quickly (the first time I saw my delivery, I thought there must have been some mixup--I didn't order enough for 5 boxes!). Two standouts were the ribs and the precooked brussel sprouts. Depending on where you live and what your options are, it might be more expensive to shop through FD as your regular grocery store. At least, that's how it was for me, so unless I'm catering a party or something, I've gone back to shopping elsewhere.

              1. j
                JohnnyBooy Nov 7, 2007 07:29 AM

                To be fair to Fresh Direct, I think their customer service is excellent. They do make mistakes, but every time take correct it right away.

                For example, I was once missing two pints of ice cream. I emailed them about it, they emailed back within 1 hour to arrange for redelivery, and the ice cream was at my house within 10 hours!

                1 Reply
                1. re: JohnnyBooy
                  n
                  NancyC Nov 7, 2007 08:26 AM

                  I was missing an entire box worth of stuff once, but it was once out of perhaps 12 deliveries. I didn't have time for the redelivery so I took the credit instead. They were pretty nice about it.

                  I do find that some delivery guys do push for tips, even though the site still says they aren't supposed to. Not verbally, but they look kind of pissed when I don't (which is only when I don't have change on hand...plus I'm in the 3rd floor of an elevator building and don't order that much anyway!), but some guys are so damn cheerful and walk out so fast there's barely time to hand them a tip!

                Show Hidden Posts