Kroger’s off-premise kitchen, powered by Kitchen United, will offer up to six local, regional or national restaurant brands. Customers can place orders using the Kitchen United app or through kiosks on site, selecting items from the different restaurant brands for a completely customizable order. The meals are prepared by restaurant staff, while delivery service fees are determined by third-party vendors.
The first store is expected to open at a Los Angeles Ralph’s store this fall, with more locations to come in the future.
"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," said Craig Gauden, Kroger's director of partnership development.
Kroger’s restaurant offering follows on the heels of the launch of Gopuff Kitchen, an on-demand kitchen concept from instant needs delivery company Gopuff. The company, which has raised billions this year, debuted its made-to-order hot and fresh foods concept to enable customers to order the meals alongside everyday essentials and grocery items. Ghost Kitchens became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, when restaurant and retail closures drove many businesses to solely offer delivery and online orders.
Both Kroger and Gopuff are seeing an appetite for more on-demand options from their customers.
"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."
Kroger has previously offered a ghost kitchen concept, after partnering with Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck for on-premise ghost kitchens.