Business & Real Estate

DeMartini Orchard partners with autonomous delivery service

Courtesy of DeMartini Orchard
An AutoX delivery car sits beside one of DeMartini Orchard’s original delivery trucks, now replaced by AutoX’s new technology. AutoX is the first fully autonomous restaurant food and grocery delivery in the Bay Area.

Los Altos’ DeMartini Orchard receives a handful of orders each week through the San Jose-based delivery service app AutoX, a small but steady start to expanding the market’s reach and bringing it into the modern age.

Representatives from AutoX – the first autonomous restaurant food and grocery delivery in the Bay Area – approached DeMartini Orchard owners six months ago with a “nice little business proposal” and a user-friendly system for online shopping, according to marketing manager James Kozy. A few months later, DeMartini products were listed on the app, and the service was up and running for South Bay residents.

“They’ve been kind of slow to start just because they are a startup company,” Kozy said of AutoX. “And so they’re kind of getting their feet wet and figuring out how this whole process is going to work.”

DeMartini Orchard, located at 66 N. San Antonio Road, also partners with local grocery transporter AVOCADO to deliver its products to customers in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. The delivery option is especially valuable for seniors in and around Los Altos, Kozy said. With AutoX, seniors living near San Jose who want to shop at DeMartini can opt for same-day delivery rather than calling a Lyft or Uber ride to visit the store in person. That was an option the Kozy family considered for his grandmother.

“My grandma’s 100 years old, and we had to take her license probably three or four months ago,” he said. “She still needs to get her groceries … we just bring them to her.”

Driving innovation

Beyond convenience, Kozy was intrigued by the technology behind AutoX. Acknowledging that not everyone in the area loves autonomous cars, he approached the option as “something to look into.”

“People will say, ‘Oh, I hate them – they take five minutes to make a right-hand turn,’” he said of complaints about autonomous cars with pilot programs such as Waymo. “But they made it very easy for me to get started with them. And it just sounded like kind of a cool thing.”

Since DeMartini joined forces with AVOCADO and AutoX, Kozy and his crew have fielded quite a few questions about the services. Other than light marketing on Facebook and featuring the names of the services in newspaper ads, DeMartini Orchard has not promoted the delivery options.

“There’s always that kind of barrier of knowing it’s a service and all that and then actually downloading the app and utilizing it, so there’s still that period of time where people just are a little slow to adopt it,” he added.

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