Monday, April 11, 2022

Kroger from Frozen Food Court too Fresh Food on Your Doorstep


Consumers are driving our Omni-channel retail world.  That is the one thing that is perfectly clear.  There is one other thing that is clear, that is within the legacy Chain Restaurant branded world; the status quo is broken” that according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru®, at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Since 2009 when Johnson first wrote about the “frozen food court” one thing has changed.  Restaurant consumers continue to migrate to non-traditional avenue of fresh food distribution, that includes grocery stores.

Today, playing catch-up, many legacy restaurant chains have entered the frozen food court each edifying their brand with consumers while building top of mind brand awareness. Consumers acceptance of these products remains solid as restaurant brands maintain, elevate, or create new product standards for product both from retail to restaurant or restaurant too retail.

Now this is important, channel blurring only exists in the blind eye of Neanderthal restaurant chain brand managers. Restaurant brand managers must understand their brand and their customers. If they do, they can integrate marketing plans that complement their consumer’s food consumptions footprint while positioning the brand in multiple channels of distribution.  In many cases that means new products including fresh prepared food in new non-traditional avenues of distribution.

All that said, Kroger is the largest legacy grocery store in the United States with close to 2,800 stores. You can walk up and down the aisle to the frozen food section and find branded restaurant meals, appetizers, and deserts in the frozen food court for your consumers to pick up or order-online for delivery.

In a new twist to channel blurring Kroger has started a new service called, Kroger Restaurant Supply, that is aimed at small and independent restaurants making smaller, more frequent orders, the Kroger Dallas Division said.  With supply chain disruptions, and prices ratcheting up the new service offers local restaurant operators consistent wholesale pricing, next-day delivery.

Kroger noted that the service, is now available in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area, is designed to provide restaurateurs with an alternative to ordering in large quantities carrying “highly variable” pricing and requiring deliveries on a set schedule. Sounds like a dream.  

Here is what they are saying, Kroger Restaurant Supply offers non-fluctuating, competitive wholesale pricing; opportunities to buy items by the case or unit; and seven-days-per-week delivery, according to Kroger. The company said the new service makes it easier for local restaurants to keep customer-favorite items on the menu.

Now all that sounds pretty good until you consider that they also are your direct competitor within each store with fresh food including meals and meal components sold in both tier service deli and prepared food section. 

Jay Scherger, director of the Kroger Technology & Digital/E-Commerce Accelerator, stated, “Running a restaurant has always been difficult, and today it feels like it’s harder than ever,” “This new service will bring our fresh assortment directly to regional businesses, all at consistent prices, product availability and delivery cadence they can count on.”  

So, Kroger Restaurant Supply is looking for new customers include regional restaurants, bakeries and catering companies. The service offers free next-day delivery on all orders of $250 or more, and businesses can order by midnight and receive next-day deliveries seven days a week. It is something all independent small fresh food retailer and restaurants look at with a serious eye on supply chain problems.

Corey Mobley, executive director of the North Texas region of the Texas Restaurant Association, stated. “Supply chain bottlenecks are impacting nearly every restaurant across the country,”… “This opportunity comes at a great time for small and independent restaurants. We’re proud to work with Kroger to strengthen our industry.” 

Restaurants customers can make their first order at:  The website said the service offers a “wide-range product assortment” and is geared toward smaller, more frequent orders, providing “flexibility that you won’t find with other comparable food suppliers.” Businesses must submit an EIN and Texas state tax ID to begin an order.

Kroger President Keith Shoemaker, stated, “Like our resident shoppers, we know our commercial customers want options and solutions that offer fresh food, consistent pricing and reliability,” stated Kroger Dallas Division President Keith Shoemaker. “When our DFW restaurants think food, we want them to think Kroger. We look forward to providing this new offering and extension of our overall grocery ecosystem.”

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

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