Kroger Partners With ClusterTruck on Ghost Kitchens

The venture will open two kitchens inside Kroger supermarkets.

October 09, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Kroger and ClusterTruck have joined forces to open two ghost kitchens at Kroger stores in Columbus and Indianapolis, MaketWatch reports. Ghost kitchens, which prepare food for takeout or delivery only, have proliferated in recent months as restaurant dining rooms have closed and online ordering has taken off.

Kroger, an investor in ClusterTruck, tested ghost kitchens last year. The new, 1,000-square-foot ghost kitchens will have around 80 meals touted as “quality you can get at a sit-down restaurant with the personality of street food.”

The grocery chain pointed to its 127% bump in digital sales during the second quarter as driving the expanded collaboration. ClusterTruck uses technology to get meals delivered to the customer within seven minutes of preparation and within half an hour of ordering. Customers place the order via the ClusterTruck app or website, with home delivery or pickup at a Kroger store. Menus will carry ClusterTruck’s branding, although Kroger will promote the service in-store as well.

“As part of the Restock Kroger initiative launched in 2018, Kroger has prioritized offering new prepared fresh food options and developing new ways for customers to engage via e-commerce,” said a Kroger spokesperson. “Our insights tell us that the use of and interest in on-demand ordering continues to grow—and as customers seek out more convenient, seamless meal ordering options, the ClusterTruck partnership allows Kroger to meet this evolving need.”

Kroger will wait to see if sales warrant further expansion to other stores. “The new on-premise kitchen, in partnership with ClusterTruck, is an innovation that streamlines ordering, preparation and delivery, supporting Kroger as we meet the sustained customer demand for quick, fresh restaurant-quality meals, especially as we navigate an unprecedented health crisis that has affected every aspect of our lives, including mealtime,” said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh merchandising.

For more on this trend, read “Ghost Kitchens” in the September 2020 issue of NACS Magazine.