America's Biggest Grocery Store Chain Is Now Serving Fast Food
After announcing a partnership with Kitchen United MIX in August, Kroger has officially entered the fast-casual restaurant space this month with the opening of its off-premise ghost kitchen in a Los Angeles-based Ralphs.
The restaurant kitchen, which opened on Jan. 7, allows customers to place orders for pickup or delivery from 10 different fast-food eateries, including Dog Haus, Fresh Brothers, Sajj Mediterranean, and Wild Rice Asian Kitchen. Orders can be placed digitally via a website, mobile app, or an in-store kiosk at the Ralphs location. Kitchen United is charged with running the ghost kitchen.
"The Kitchen United collaboration provides the fresh, on-demand meals our customers crave," Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising for The Kroger Co., said in a statement. "It is one more innovative example of how Kroger is fulfilling its commitment to anything, anywhere, anytime"
The Kitchen United partnership is Kroger's second on-site ghost kitchen collaboration since the fall of 2020, according to Supermarket News. After discontinuing its ClusterTruck-powered meal delivery service, Kroger shook up the partnership in October of 2020 by opening two in-store ghost kitchens—one in metropolitan Indianapolis, and another outside of Columbus, OH. However, unlike the new Los Angeles ghost kitchen—which sells various restaurant offerings—the Indiana and Ohio kitchens serve items like sandwiches and salads under one unified brand.
With the launch of its Los Angeles restaurant kitchen, Kroger is also following Walmart's lead, as America's biggest retailer teamed up with Ghost Kitchen Brands last March to launch its first ghost kitchen location in Canada. These partnerships allow grocery chains to adapt to evolving consumer behavior, as more shoppers are opting to regularly order meals. It also provides the grocers with an opportunity to compete with restaurants.
"We proudly operate successful ghost kitchens across the country and will apply that expertise to reimagine takeout and delivery within Kroger stores," Michael Montagano, CEO of Kitchen United, said in a statement. "Our work together provides millions of Kroger customers access to their favorite restaurant cuisines in a convenient supermarket format, while providing Kitchen United and our restaurant partners a high-touch, interactive storefront."
Kroger will open additional ghost kitchen locations in Texas later this month, but no additional details have been shared by the grocery chain.
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