Planning & Prep

When Do Grocery Stores Restock? A Simple Guide for Shoppers

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Last Updated: Nov 2, 2021

It’s frustrating when you head to the grocery store and find that they’re out of the products you need or that many of the items are very close to their expiration date. If this has happened to you, then you’ve likely wondered, “When do grocery stores restock?”

Wonder no more! The following guide will tell you everything you need to know. When you’re done, you’ll have the inside scoop on the day of week and time of day most grocery stores restock, as well as the best time to shop, depending on your goals. Let’s get started!

When do grocery stores restock during the week?

To make sure you can get the freshest groceries and enjoy fully-stocked shelves, you need to know the answer to the question—“When do grocery stores get deliveries?”

This actually varies depending on the size of the store. Most of the larger grocery store chains do enormous volumes of business, so they tend to restock every day. Since smaller grocery stores don’t turn their inventory over as frequently, they often restock twice a week—usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. While this is typical, every store has its own schedule.

If you frequently visit the same stores, the best way to find out their delivery schedule is simply to ask them. This knowledge will come in handy if you’re planning a dinner or a party and need particular items for that day. For example, you may need a selection of party supplies, nice cuts of steak, and a specific kind of camembert cheese. Heading to the grocery store right after they have re-stocked can help you avoid having to run all around town looking for the items on your list.

It’s also important to note that grocery store restocking schedules may change during high-volume times, such as during the holidays. When products are moving faster, grocery stores often add extra delivery days to keep up with the demand. 

What time of day do grocery stores restock?

Understanding a grocery store’s delivery schedule is only part of the equation. If the items you need are in the back of the store and haven’t been placed on the shelves yet, it’s still not going to do you a lot of good. That’s why you also need to ask, “When do most grocery stores restock?”

The answer to this question is simple—the bulk of grocery stores restock large items at night after the store is closed or early in the morning before they re-open. This allows them to bring items right from the truck into the grocery store, saving the step of having to store them in the back. It also causes the least amount of disruption to shoppers and allows employees to focus on restocking without having to deal with any customer service issues.

While some stores do all of their restocking between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., others choose to restock smaller items during the day. This is typically reserved for items that aren’t in high demand and that employees can restock without disturbing shoppers.

Picking out fresh bananas at the grocery store.

How to plan your shopping around grocery store restocking schedules

Now that you know the answer to the question, “When do supermarkets restock?”, the battle is half done. But there are also a few other things to consider. Whether your goal is to save money, get your hands on the freshest possible ingredients, or avoid crowds, the day and time you do your grocery shopping can make a big difference.

The best day to shop if you want to save money

While some stores follow different schedules, the bulk of grocery stores begin their weekly specials on Wednesdays. This makes Wednesdays the best time to shop if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Since the specials have just changed, some stores will also still honor the previous week’s coupons and deals. In this case, you might be able to enjoy a double discount!

Some stores also mark down perishable items—like fresh produce, meat, and bakery later in the evening. While waiting too long could mean that the store could be out of an item, if you’re willing to take that risk, shopping later in the day is often a good money-saving strategy.  

The best day to shop for the freshest ingredients

If you want to be sure the store won’t be out of what you need and also make sure everything is as fresh as possible, then it’s best to go shopping the morning after the store restocks. This will allow you to get things like eggs, milk, cheese, and produce right when it comes off the truck.

If your store stocks daily, then first thing any morning should be fine. Otherwise, Tuesday or Wednesday mornings are often best. Again, you’ll want to find out the delivery schedules for your favorite stores so you can plan accordingly.

The best day to shop for meat

Some experts suggest that the best day to buy meat is Wednesday, while others say it’s on Sundays. The truth is, the best day to buy meat will depend on the store’s restocking schedule.

If you shop at a store that restocks daily, then the meat selection should be about the same each day. However, if you’re visiting smaller retailers and want the perfect ribeye or other prime cuts of meat, then plan to buy your meat in the morning on the day that the store restocks.

The best time to shop if you want to avoid crowds

If crowds aren’t your thing, you may want to plan your shopping trips around the times when you’re most likely to have a bit of space. Weekends are almost always busy, and there will be many people shopping for their dinner after 5 p.m. during the week.

If you want to make sure you can take advantage of a freshly stocked store and still avoid the crowds, plan to do your shopping during the week in the late morning or early afternoon. Wednesdays between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. may be the ultimate shopping time for those who want fully stocked shelves, fresh items, great deals, and minimal crowds.

Skip the grocery shopping hassle! Try Instacart today

If planning your days around grocery store restocking schedules doesn’t appeal to you, that’s okay! Your best bet is to have a professional shopper take care of it for you.

Getting grocery delivery is easy and inexpensive to do. Just head to Instacart, create your shopping list, and add any special instructions. You can schedule your order for a specific date and time, allowing you to take advantage of grocery store restocking schedules without rearranging your week. Try it out today!

Instacart

Instacart

Instacart is the leading online grocery platform in North America, partnering with more than 750 beloved national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 70,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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