CINCINNATI – The Kroger Co. has opened two on-premises ghost kitchens, one in Indianapolis and the other in Columbus, Ohio.
Developed in partnership with ClusterTruck, a technology start-up that operates delivery-only restaurants, the kitchens will provide a variety of freshly prepared meals on-demand with no service or delivery fees.
The new concept will repurpose approximately 1,000 square feet at each participating store to create a culinary space for ClusterTruck staff to prepare meals for delivery and instore pickup. The kitchen will offer over 80 meal options that are intended to rival the food quality found at sit-down restaurants.
"Kroger remains focused on providing our customers with fresh food and experiences enabled by industry-leading insights and transformative technology," said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger's group vice president of fresh merchandising. "The new on-premises 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."
Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck is a pioneer in the ghost kitchen space, building a proprietary software system that creates custom algorithms to optimize kitchen and delivery operations and removes the complications that can stem from a third-party delivery model.
ClusterTruck's systematic approach to meal delivery allows the company to ensure all orders are delivered to the customer within just 7 minutes of preparation — and on average, less than 30 minutes of ordering. The launch at Kroger stores has the potential to create a new and more sustainable model.
"ClusterTruck combines leading software, high-quality ingredients, and delicious variety to elevate the prepared food delivery experience," said Chris Baggott, ClusterTruck co-founder and chief executive officer. "As the prepared food delivery category continues to explode, we're thrilled to play such a pivotal role in Kroger's fresh and forward-thinking meal delivery strategy."