What if someone made dinner while you shopped? Thousands of Kroger shoppers now have this option thanks to a crossover between fast food and grocery businesses.
The grocery giant recently revealed intentions to introduce ghost kitchens to more of its stores after starting to operate them at a few select sites across the country during the pandemic.
These restaurant-free cooking operations, known as "Mix Food Halls," will make their debut at three locations in Columbus, Ohio, later this month. Gahanna, Clintonville, and Dublin Kroger locations will soon offer the new food selections.
Kroger will bring at least six of the ten distinct food franchises to each site as part of its continued cooperation with Kitchen United, including Nathan's Famous, Hardee's, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, Nékter Juice Bar, and Pei Wei Asian Kitchen.
Vice President of merchandising for Kroger's Columbus Division Melissa Stimac stated, "We are continuously searching for fresh and distinctive ways to help our consumers answer the 'what's for dinner tonight?' question."
Because customers' restaurant-quality meals will be prepared while they shop for the fresh food and pantry essentials their families need, the collaboration with Kitchen United is unique.
Customers of Kroger can place these orders via the website or mobile app of Mix Food Hall, in-store digital kiosks, or both. The only way to order food from various restaurants is through the platform provided by Kitchen United.
Progressive Grocer reports that the opening of the first brand-new ghost kitchen will take place in Gahanna on November 7 and that the ghost kitchens in Clintonville and Dublin, which will also include indoor seating, will follow at the end of the month.
In January, Kroger and Kitchen United opened their first food hall at a Ralph's in Los Angeles. Two other food halls soon followed at Kroger stores in Houston and Dallas.
Kroger has other collaborators in its ghost kitchen initiatives than Kitchen United. In 2019, the supermarket and ghost kitchen operator ClusterTruck worked together to test a meal delivery service.
The businesses decided to stop offering it, so in October 2020 they constructed two in-store ghost kitchens, one in metropolitan Indianapolis and the other outside of Columbus, Ohio.