Waitrose to treble Rapid Deliveries and increase click & collect slots by 50%, 40% of Rapid slots will be reserved for the elderly and vulnerable

Friday 17 April 2020

Waitrose has announced that from today (17 April) the number of delivery slots available each week through its Waitrose & Partners Rapid service will more than treble giving over 2.5 million households the option to use the service to get the food and essentials they need.

The supermarket has also confirmed that by the end of next week at least 40% of these new slots will be reserved exclusively for the elderly and vulnerable. It will contact customers on the Government's list of vulnerable people to inform them that they have priority access to Rapid slots. 

The service, which enables shoppers to have up to 25 grocery items delivered within two hours or less or on the same day, has been trialled from eight London shops, as well as in Hove, East Sussex. From today it will be available in the areas surrounding an additional 20 shops across London*. 

This will increase the number of available slots from 2,000 to 7,000 each week and means the service is now available to more than 2.5 million households. To check if the service delivers in their area, customers can enter their postcode on the Waitrose & Partners Rapid website

Waitrose has also announced that it will offer an additional 10,000 online grocery collection slots,  taking the total number available each week to 30,000, by introducing its online collection service in around 70 additional shops across the UK by the end of May. Forty shops are expected to offer this by the end of April.  Customers can check if the service is available to them by typing in their postcode on the slot booking page at Waitrose.com

As with Waitrose.com delivery slots, at least a quarter of collection slots will be also reserved for the elderly and vulnerable.  

Grocery collection has already launched in its shops in Kingston, Sevenoaks, Wimbledon, East Sheen, Westfield White City, Northwood and Bloomsbury with more being rolled out in the coming weeks.

Ben Stimson, Waitrose.com Director, said: 

“We are now making more online deliveries than Christmas week, every week, and have increased slots to reach 20% more customers than usual. We know there is demand for more slots and we are doing all we can to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get the essentials they need - especially those who need them the most.

“In addition to opening up more channels through expanding Waitrose Rapid and increasing the number of stores where online orders can be collected, we have recruited hundreds of drivers and increased the number of extra people-hours picking Waitrose.com orders by nearly 50%.”


1) *Waitrose & Partners Rapid will be available in the following areas from 17th April:

Barbican; Belgravia; Brent Cross; Buckhurst Hill; Canary Wharf; Chiswick; Clapham Junction; Enfield; Finchley Road; Harrow Weald; High Holborn; Kings Cross; Mill Hill; Monument; Putney; Richmond; South Bank Tower; South Harrow; Stratford; and Whetstone

2) Waitrose & Partners Rapid launched in September 2018. Before completing their order customers are given the option to receive their shopping within two hours of placing the order or to specify a one-hour time slot on the same day. There is a £10 minimum spend and a £5 charge applies for using either service.  All products are prepared for delivery by Waitrose Partners before being collected and delivered by Stuart, who specialise in last mile on-demand delivery.

About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is the largest employee-owned business in the UK and amongst the largest in the world, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. For all intents and purposes, the Partnership is a social enterprise; the profits made are reinvested into the business - for customers and Partners. John Lewis & Partners operates 50 shops across the UK (36 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. Waitrose & Partners has 338 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. Waitrose & Partners exports products to more than 50 countries worldwide and has nine shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. The retailer's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service, Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitroseflorist.com for plants and flowers.    


Waitrose & Partners Rapid

How are you going to be contacting the vulnerable about the 40% of slots?

This is something we will introduce by the end of next week. We will email customers on the government's list of vulnerable people to inform them that they have priority access Rapid slots. 

Is there a delivery charge?

There is a £10 minimum spend for normal slots, however the £5 delivery charge is removed for vulnerable and elderly customers. 

Why these areas? 

They have been chosen to reach the maximum number of customers in areas where we have identified a demand for the service.

Will it continue in these areas in the long-term?

That is our ambition, but it is something we would review nearer the time.

Are you still accepting new customers in those areas where Rapid was already available? 


Why is there a 25 product limit?

This was already the limit as the service to provide greater flexibility to where and when they get their shopping.  

Is the range on offer different from normal?

No, the usual rage of products are available, which includes cicra 2,500 different products.  

Is there a minimum spend?

Yes, there is a minimum spend of £10. 

Can customers track their order once it has been placed? How do they do this? 

Yes, customers can track the progress of their order on the website. They will receive a link in their order statement email and can access tracking via the my account section on the site.They will also receive an SMS when the order has been collected and will be given a ten-minute delivery window as well as being kept informed if there are any delays

Have you still got a cap on any products?

To ensure food is distributed fairly, we have introduced a temporary limit on some items, including anti-bacterial soaps and wipes, tissues, pasta, milk, baked, canned and fresh goods.

Should I expect more substitutions?

We are seeing very high demand for some items. We will do our best to deliver everything in your order, however, if we are unable to do so, we will try and find the best alternative. Once your order has been picked, you will receive an order receipt via email, which will state any unavailable items or substitutions made.

Have you changed the way groceries are delivered during the outbreak of Covid-19?

Yes, we have made some temporary changes in line with advice provided by the UK government and Public Health England. To keep contact to a minimum, drivers will knock and then take a few steps back. All your items will be bagged to help you carry the shopping inside. You won’t have to sign for your shopping. The driver will do this on your behalf once delivery has been completed.

What will happen when my delivery arrives?

The driver will carefully place your shopping at your door before knocking and stepping back. All deliveries will be bagged to make it easier for you to move them inside.

If there’s no contact how do I sign for my shopping?

The driver will sign for it on your behalf once the delivery has been completed

Online Grocery Collection 

How many of the grocery collection slots will be reserved for the elderly and vulnerable?

25% of slots will be reserved for the elderly and vulnerable in line with what we offer through Waitrose.com deliveries.

How will customers know if the service has been launched in their area?

We will be emailing customers in those locations as it launches. 

How do I find out if I am eligible for grocery collection?

Customers just need to type in their postcode on the slot booking page at Waitrose.com

Where are the other shops and when could we expect them to go live? 

Below are those launch dates that are confirmed with more to come:

Already live  
Westfield (White City)  
Raynes Park  
East Sheen  
Those now confirmed  
Twyford 20/04
Thatcham 20/04
Wandsworth 20/04
Surbiton 20/04
Bromley South 21/04
New Malden 21/04
Uckfield 21/04
Sanderstead  21/04
Cobham 22/04
Holloway Road 22/04
Battersea Nine Elms 23/04
Weybridge 23/04
Epsom 24/04
Upminster 24/04
Winton 28/04
Rustington 29/04
Hersham 29/04
Belgravia 29/04
Fleet 30/04
Balham 30/04

How many shops is the service already in? 

We offer 20k collection slots at present through 177 shops and by introducing it into a further 70  shops by the end of May it has the potential to add a further 10k slots - a 50% increase. 

How many of those shops it’s already in are in London?

By the 24th April, we will have 32 Shops inside the M25 offering grocery collections.

Do you plan to roll this out in every shop?

We continue to explore options that would allow us to open up more opportunities for our customers to get the essentials they need. 

What are the charges?

Delivery is free, but there is a £60 minimum spend.

Does someone have to live within the relevant postcode to collect from the store i.e. they simply won't be able to place the order otherwise? 

The slot booking page enables you to pick which shop you want to collect from but will always default to the closest. You could make it work with a postcode area however our route gives customers maximum choice and can significantly expand the area which is more advantageous to both us and customers.

Is it likely this will remain in place beyond the current crisis? 

This is something we would just review nearer the time. 


Waitrose & Partners

Matthew Clemens
Partner & Communications Manager
Email: matthew.clemens@waitrose.co.uk
Tel: 07591 381399

John Lewis & Partners

Mandy Pursey

Partner & Senior Communications Manager
Email: mandy.pursey@johnlewis.co.uk
Tel: 07813 696637