Kroger Expands Restaurant Focus

Grocery chain has opened its Culinary Innovation Center, a new test kitchen and training facility.

February 19, 2018

CINCINNATI – Kroger announced last week that it has opened its Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The 12,000-square-feet, LEED-designed commercial kitchen features multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.

"Kroger's new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center," said Daniel Hammer, Kroger's vice president of culinary development and new business. "As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates' culinary knowledge."

Kroger introduced its first restaurant concept Kitchen 1883 in November 2017 and launched its Prep+Pared Meal Kits earlier in the same year, which are available for purchase in stores and through ClickList. Kroger has plans to rapidly grow the footprint of Prep+Pared Meal Kits in 2018.

"The Center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors, and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers," added Hammer.

"Kroger has operated grocery stores since 1883; we know food. People will always eat, but the way they eat will always change. Our new Center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture," he said.

In late December 2017, Kroger's Culinary Development team announced a new restaurant concept, Kitchen 1883, that offers a fresh take on new American comfort food.

Kroger and EG Group, a privately-held petrol forecourt convenience store retailer based in the United Kingdom, announced earlier this month a definitive agreement for the sale of Kroger's convenience store business for $2.15 billion. The companies expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of Kroger's fiscal year.