If you’re like me, you hate shopping. I don’t mean at the mall buying jeans or at IKEA, though for me those are also experiences I try to avoid as much as possible. No, I mean grocery shopping. It’s just such a time suck and you have to do it so frequently!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried (often unsuccessfully) to find ways to automate things that are annoying or pull focus from things I’d rather be doing and grocery shopping is one of those things. Think about it: Setting aside the kind of shopping where you pop into a Potraviny to grab a bottle of water or that Soy Sauce you forgot to pick up, you probably spend no less than thirty minutes each time you have to go shopping for food. It makes sense, you’re usually stocking up for at least a week, but it doesn’t make you feel any better when you have so many other things you’d rather be doing… things you need to be doing.
There’s also the thing of trying to think ahead. For many of us, it’s difficult to know what kind of mood we’ll be in on a random day next week… what we might want to eat. This, of course, makes shopping more of a random thing where you’re just kind of… scanning shelves and thinking, “oh… that might be good.” Add in the fact that stores the world over are planned very specifically to encourage the “impulse buy,” and that people frequently go shopping when they’re hungry and suddenly you realize you’re probably spending more than you intended. Back home I used to call this “the Target factor,” partly because the stores are “targeting” you with things they know you’ll probably grab if you see them… and partly because I never left a Target store with only the one thing I came to buy. Ever.
For all of these reasons and more, I was thrilled when grocery delivery services started to become more commonplace. Back home, I never used them, but when I left the U.S. they were more expensive. A thing rich people would use. Once I got here, it suddenly seemed like something anyone could use, and not only that, but takeout took on a whole new meaning. Not only could you now order delivery from places that had their own service, but with companies like Dame Jidlo, Wolt, and Uber jumping into the food delivery game you can literally order food from pretty much anywhere.
In this article we’re going to look at the services out there in Prague that are built to save you time, money, or at least get you some good food when you’re in a hurry. The bad news, which I’ll share upfront, is that most of them do not offer English on their websites… on the flip side, it’s food shopping and they have images, so you can probably figure it out. Or use Google Translate.
So. Let’s start with groceries. Here in Prague you have three main services for grocery delivery:
Košík (“Co-sheek,” phonetically, translated to “basket” in English) is the service that I personally use, though I have tried Rohlík. Košík has a solid selection of products and the fruit, meat, and vegetables are generally fresh (though I must say, the meat is usually only good for a day or two beyond purchase). They rarely mess up an order and, if they do, their customer service is always quick to fix the issue. At most times you can get delivery on the same day, but this may vary.
For me, one of the best reasons to go with this service is their cooperation with Iceland stores (whose products I really like) and the fact that they have, in many cases, package-free options. They also work with Delmart, Wine Food Market, and they can even swap out that SodaStream cartridge.
When placing your order you can make a selection of your preferred delivery time (usually within a two hour time frame) and you’ll get a call or text when they’re almost at your place or if they’re running behind, which is helpful. You pay by card when they arrive and they’ll even go over the list of items with you if you want.
I usually tip the delivery person about 50Kč because I know they don’t make much and the delivery is free over 1000Kč anyway, but this is totally up to you and never expected.
You can find the website here: https://www.kosik.cz
Similar to Košík, Rohlik (“Row-h-leak,” phonetically, and named for that little roll you can buy in every single Czech food shop or Potraviny) is generally similar in offering, but has a different partnership: Rohlik offers products from M&S (Marks & Spencer).
Unlike Košík and, arguably giving them a leg up on the competition, they feature both an iOS and Android application. Another thing that sets them apart is that they can usually deliver within 90 minutes of ordering and they offer compensation if they’re late – something you won’t get from Košík…
Like Košík, Rohlik is only available in Czech but is easy to navigate if you set up Google to translate the website.
Here’s a bit more information from Adela Graham, a customer of Rohlik and a friend of mine who has been using the service for some time now:
“I do my big weekend orders mainly through Rohlik, especially when we run out of heavy washing liquids for example,” she told me. “The meat is always fresh. Sometimes the expiration dates are too soon, but I guess that could also be because I usually buy Bio (organic) quality.”
Another reason she likes their service is because she hates food waste and Rohlik offers a section called “Save The Food,” where you can select items that are expiring soon for a much lower price. They also have a fruit and vegetable section “Ošklivky“ which has items that, while they may not look the best, are still of good quality. “Rohlik will also collect empty beer bottles and refund you later,” she told me.
The couriers usually come on time and you’ll be notified by text when they’re five minutes away and, as with Košík, if they’re running late, the courier will call to inform you and provide a rough estimate of arrival. Unlike Košík, you automatically receive a credit for future orders when they’re late. “They’ll also carry your bags up to any floor if necessary,” adds Adela.
The first time she and her husband ordered groceries online, she recalls him saying, “I feel like the Queen mother, being served with anything I want anytime I need.“
Delivery with Rohlik is free over 1200Kč and the website can be found here: https://www.kosik.cz
If you’ve lived in Prague for a while you’re likely very well acquainted with the Tesco brand. If not, think of them like the Czech equivalent (they’re actually a British company) of Target. Like Target, they even have their own internal brand for clothing and home goods called F&F.
As with the aforementioned services, you won’t find the website in English and iTesco, surprisingly, does not have an app, but again, it’s all fairly easy to figure out online. I haven’t used iTesco, so I can’t comment on the service but feel free to leave a comment if you like them… or if you don’t.
Find iTesco by clicking on this link: https://itesco.cz
Now let’s jump to prepared food delivery. With various restaurants offering their own services now it’s easier than ever to get lunch delivered to the office or dinner delivered to your door, but Prague has several popular meal delivery services which, if you live here, you may already know about… If you don’t, here they are:
Each service has an app (with English!) and all are fairly self-explanatory. I will say that it’s worth having all three as, while they will all generally have the standard places, one may offer different partnerships with different restaurants than the other so if you don’t see that restaurant you’re craving… check one of the other apps and it may be there.
Finally, maybe you need someone to pick up something totally random for you. Perhaps you need a new set of pens for your office. Maybe you have dry cleaning you forgot to get last week or maybe you feel sick and need someone to stop off at the pharmacy for you.
For all of that and more, you can use IDODO (http://idodo.cz) which is basically like having a personal assistant and, as the site states, will bring you pretty much anything you need (as long as it’s legal).
There’s no sign-up necessary. You simply text 222 111 800 (or, if you prefer, you may use Facebook Messenger), and tell them what you need. Prices are not fixed because the job can be small and simple or quite intensive… but basically, once you tell them what you want from their courier, they’ll text you back the price for this service. Once you confirm, the courier heads out to make it happen!
How crazy can this get? Well, as an example, let’s say it’s time to change those tires on your car for winter… Simply text the good folks at iDodo and they’ll come get your car and return it safely with those fancy new winter tires!
You can set an order anytime, seven days a week from 8:00 to 10 and you can pay by cash or card. The company has over 35 dispatchers, 350 drivers in the city (you may have seen one of their cars and wondered, “what’s that about?”), and more than 70 couriers.
So there you go. Groceries. Meals. Dry cleaning! Tire changing! You can get anything you need!