Kroger seeks to ghost up take-home and meal delivery sales with dark kitchens
Kroger wants to be the place Americans think of when they order restaurant food for takeout or delivery.
The country’s largest supermarket operator, announced yesterday a partnership with Kitchen United, an operator of ghost kitchens, to offer freshly prepared foods on-demand from its stores.
“Our customers’ appetite for fresh, on-demand meals continues to accelerate, and we remain focused on offering new and innovative products that provide anything, anytime, anywhere,” Dan De La Rosa, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh merchandising, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Kitchen United taps into restaurants’ growing use of off-premise kitchen space to increase customers’ access to their favorite foods.”
Kroger will vary the menu of food selections by location with each featuring up to six popular local, regional or national brands. Customers will place orders via the Kitchen United website or app or on-site at Kroger using ordering kiosks. Orders can be placed for one or multiple restaurants with ghost kitchen staff preparing meals to be picked up at Kroger or delivered for a fee by third-party providers.
Craig Gauden, Kroger’s director of partnership development, said the deal will build on the grocer’s goal of becoming a food destination.
“This collaboration creates another seamless way for our customers to order lunch or dinner for pick up while they shop for groceries or for delivery to their location of choice,” he said.
A Ralphs store in Los Angeles is expected to be the first to host one of the ghost kitchens. Expected in the fall, the opening will be followed by other locations later in the year. Kroger has not specified where those will be located.
This is not the first time Kroger has worked with ghost kitchens. The retailer announced in 2019 that it was piloting the use of so-called dark kitchens to enable faster food delivery through an initiative called Kroger Delivery Kitchen. The program, which launched in three urban and suburban markets in 2020, included a partnership with ClusterTruck, which created meals from its own menu for delivery within a half-hour of being ordered.
- Kroger and Kitchen United Partner to Provide Customers On-Demand Meal Pick Up and Delivery from Popular Restaurants – The Kroger Co.
- Will Kroger’s dark kitchens cook up something good? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Kroger’s partnership with Kitchen United will succeed in its goal of furthering the grocer as a food destination for consumers in the markets served by its stores? Do you see this concept as scalable to the point of Kroger opening large numbers of ghost kitchens in its chain stores across the country?