The Kroger Co. is officially a participant in the ghost kitchen space.
As initially announced in August 2021, the country’s largest grocery retailer is partnering with ghost kitchen startup Kitchen United to provide customers freshly prepared restaurant food for takeout or delivery in select Kroger banner locations.
Kroger is opening its first ghost kitchen center at a Ralphs store in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Customers can build freshly prepared, on-demand restaurant meals from any or all of the restaurants participating in the initiative, including Fresh Brothers, Bushi by Jinya, Sajj Mediterranean, and Doghaus. The Los Angeles location is the first rollout of the Kroger-Kitchen United collaboration. Additional locations in Texas are anticipated to open later in the month.
The kitchen center will enable customers to place an order digitally using Kitchen United's proprietary Mix platform via web, mobile, or an in-person ordering kiosk. Customers can then pick up their meal onsite or have it delivered.
Restaurant staff will prepare the orders and delivery service fees will be determined by third-party providers. Shoppers can choose to mix and match their meals from and more. Customers can place their orders from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
This is not Kroger’s first agreement with a ghost kitchen company. In 2019, the retailer partnered with ClusterTruck, a software platform that powers delivery-only kitchens, to deliver fresh meals on-demand with no service or delivery fees. Kroger went on to open two ghost kitchens in its stores, one in Fishers, Ind., and one in metro Columbus, Ohio. Both of those locations offer delivery and pickup.
“When our customers think of food, they think of Kroger," said Dan De La Rosa, group VP of fresh merchandising for Kroger. "The Kitchen United collaboration provides the fresh, on-demand meals our customers crave. It is one more innovative example of how Kroger is fulfilling its commitment to anything, anywhere, anytime."
"We couldn't be prouder that Kroger and Kitchen United chose to open the collaboration's first location in Ralphs," said Kendra Doyel, VP - merchandising, Ralphs. "Our customers come to us to find the freshest food and to answer the all-important 'what's for dinner?' question. This collaboration provides our customers one more simple meal solution that they can pair with Ralphs' fresh products."
"We proudly operate successful ghost kitchens across the country and will apply that expertise to reimagine takeout and delivery within Kroger stores," said Michael Montagano, CEO of Kitchen United. "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. We are excited to bring this creative solution to the Westwood community."
Ralphs, a company of The Kroger Co., operates 184 stores throughout Southern California and the Central Coast.