Friday, February 25, 2022

Kroger from Frozen Food Court to Fresh Food Court Will it Work


Legacy grocery stores have been losing customers for over 50 years.  In fact, for just the past 15 years there are 50% fewer legacy grocery stores then there were 15 years ago.  So, what’s next?  Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, stated, It is not going to be the legacy service deli, it’s not going to be a restaurant in the grocery store, or a branded coffee shop that is going to save legacy grocery stores it is going to be the further evolution of the grocerant niche.

To that end Kroger is experimenting with a new format that complements the “Frozen Food Court” found in the frozen food aisle in most legacy grocery stores. So, Kroger has partnered with Kitchen United MIX too place a ‘ghost kitchen’ inside a Kroger supermarket in Houston, marking its second location with restaurant hub operator Kitchen United.

What that means is Kitchen United is cooking and serving branded restaurant meals for customers to take home from the grocery store.   Now, the Kroger store at 1035 N. Shepherd Dr. in Houston, has the new kitchen center that enables customers to place orders online or through a mobile device or an in-person ordering kiosk using Kitchen United’s MIX platform and then pick up their meals on-site or have them delivered. Restaurant staff prepare the orders, with delivery service fees set by third-party providers. How well do you think that will work when they charge more?

At Kroger, currently, customers can choose from 15 branded eateries, including local and national restaurant brands such as Burns Original BBQ, The Rustic, Fuddruckers, Buca di Beppo, Dog Haus, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, MrBeast Burger, Snowfox, Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos, Wing Zone, The Impossible Shop, Joe Leo, Bad Mutha Clucka, Plant B and Jailbird. This just might be the best part, shoppers also can mix orders from multiple restaurants and have their purchases grouped on one receipt. The location operates Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Laura Gump, president of Kroger’s Houston division, stated, “We are thrilled and proud to be the first Kroger location in Texas to launch this exciting and innovative partnership. “‘What’s for Dinner?’ is a question that’s always on the minds of our customers, and being able to offer a fresh and tasty selection, paired with friendly service, is the experience we strive to provide each day. This partnership emphasizes how we continue to advance our ‘Fresh for Everyone’ strategy.”

So, the Kitchen United Mix in the Kroger Houston store, situated in the city’s The Heights neighborhood, follows the early January opening of the companies’ first restaurant kitchen inside a Ralphs supermarket in Westwood, Calif. Kroger and Pasadena, Calif.-based Kitchen United announced their national partnership last August.

Kitchen United CEO Michael Montagano, stated, “Kitchen United MIX is proud to introduce our multi-restaurant ordering platform to more shoppers through our newest grocery installation with Kroger,” ... “We recently launched our first ‘store within a store’ at a Ralphs in Los Angeles, and it’s been incredibly popular. Kitchen United MIX is revolutionizing the way people order takeout, and we’re thrilled to provide this one-of-a-kind experience to Kroger shoppers in The Heights neighborhood of Houston. By partnering with Kroger, we now offer Houstonians a variety of delicious meals for delivery as well as for pick up as they shop.”

The Kitchen United partnership marks the second on-site ghost kitchen collaboration that Cincinnati-based Kroger has announced since the fall of 2020. That October, the grocer unveiled plans to launch two ghost kitchens with ClusterTruck inside stores in metropolitan Indianapolis and outside Columbus, Ohio, for on-demand delivery of freshly prepared meals. The rollout followed a pilot of a meal service — dubbed Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck — from off-site “scratch kitchens” in late 2019.

Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising for Kroger, stated, “Our customers know they can count on Kroger as a destination for the freshest meal solutions,” … “The Kitchen United collaboration provides another simple, on-demand meal option within our stores. It is one more example of how Kroger is fulfilling our commitment to anything, anywhere, anytime.

Think about it, customer have been buying branded meals form the ‘Frozen Food Court’ for over 20 years, if done right this partnership could provide Kroger an incremental customer boost that is long overdue.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the leader within the Grocerant niche Worldwide.

Kitchen United MIX 

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