As much as we’ve all missed dine-in restaurants, many are still feeling the impact of the past year and a half’s tumultuous events. To help consumers get the fresh meals they crave and support foodservice operators as we continue to navigate this space, Kroger has entered a strategic new partnership with ghost kitchen purveyor Kitchen United.
"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," said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger's Group Vice President of Fresh Merchandising "Our partnership with Kitchen United taps into restaurants' growing use of off-premise kitchen space to increase customers' access to their favorite foods."
The partnership will feature off-premise restaurant kitchens that are powered by Kitchen United at participating Kroger locations, according to a press release. Each of the kitchens will feature up to six local, regional, or national restaurant brands with food able to be ordered using the Kitchen United website or app, or on-site through ordering kiosks.
Consumers will be able to select items from each on-site restaurant to create a customized order on a single receipt. Staff from the restaurant will then prepare orders and have them delivered though third-party providers.
"As we continue to define Kroger as 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," explained Craig Gauden, Kroger's Director of Partnership Development.
The first kitchen center is anticipated to open this fall at a Ralphs store in Los Angeles, CA. Additional locations are expected to be announced later this year.
"Kitchen United recognizes the significant value of Kroger as a strategic partner. Our work together provides participating restaurants access to millions of Kroger customers and the ability to better address off-premise demand in a convenient supermarket format—a frequent destination for most consumers," said Michael Montagano, Chief Executive Officer of Kitchen United. "We've worked collaboratively with the Kroger team to curate a mix of popular restaurant brands, and we see a great opportunity to introduce our partnership in cities across the country."
Kitchen United is known for its concept of housing multiple restaurant brands under one roof for delivery and pickup orders, as it will continue doing with Kroger. The company has further diversified its offerings through the expansion of its proprietary MIX platform as well.
"We are proud to have launched a number of successful ghost kitchen centers across the country, and now we are applying our experience and taking steps to expand in non-traditional ghost kitchen formats, such as retail shopping centers and food halls like our newest kitchen center location in Chicago, alongside our efforts with Kroger," said Atul Sood, Chief Business Officer of Kitchen United. "Our team has built a powerful tech stack and developed an infrastructure that optimizes any kitchen setting for streamlined and profitable off-premise business. Kroger is the perfect partner as we grow our reach and variety of business verticals in addition to our well-known ghost kitchen facility model."
As ghost kitchens continue to hold their weight at foodservice, keep an eye out for further reports from Deli Market News.