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Skipping that trip to the grocery store? Here's what you need to know about pickup and delivery services

The fridge is bare and it's time for more food, but make sure you're planning ahead if you want to avoid the store.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — If you are looking to limit trips to the store as a coronavirus precaution, there's several great options for that.

"Definitely more customers are choosing pickup at store and home delivery options as we work through this," Melissa Eads with Kroger said.

They are one of many grocery chains like Food City and Walmart who provide a curbside pickup service. 

Eads said it's a good option for seniors and people at high-risk for the virus, but also for anyone who doesn't want to go into the store.

It's pretty simple. You go online, build your car with items you need, and place your order.

But remember that demand across the board is high, and there's a possibility you won't get an early pickup time.

"I suggest people plan ahead," Eads said. "Don't go online today and think you can put your order in two or three hours. Every store is different, every day is different based on volume, plan ahead."

Once pickup day arrives, you'll see a sign indicating a parking spot to pull into. Then you will call the store letting them know you've arrived. To limit contact, Kroger is having customers open up their trunk first. Then it will be loaded.

High demand for certain items might also mean stores might not be able to fill every request. They might be out of items or have to substitute for a different brand. They will alert you if this is the case.

Stores are still working 24/7 to keep supplies stocked with items like that coveted toiled paper.

"There's still a strain there, hit or miss, we are getting a supply, but as soon as it arrives it is bought and gone," Eads said.

Some good news is Kroger's pickup fee has been waived and you can get the service for free.

What about if you don't want to get in the car? There's also an option if you want your food delivered to your doorstep.

A company called Instacart has a personal shopper buy and deliver your groceries to you. There is a fee associated with this service and you're encouraged to tip.

If you still like going to the store, know that they are doing their best to make this a safe and clean experience for customers. Hours have changed to accommodate special shopping times.

"Monday through Thursday (from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.) senior shoppers and others who are high risk can shop during that first hour," Eads explained. Kroger is asking other customers to hold off from their shopping until after.

Inside the store, they've also begun installing sneeze guards and social distancing decals. Workers can choose to wear masks and gloves if they desire.

Credit: Kroger

"We've stepped up our cleaning practices. There are associates at entry ways all day long, cleaning shopping carts, hand baskets for each customer when they come in the door, cleaning check out stations," Eads said.

As demand inside and outside stores goes up, so does the need for workers. Kroger has hired thousands of associates in the last week alone.

If interested you can learn more about applying at jobs.Kroger.com