Kitchen United Mix opens in Dallas Kroger

Diving Brief:

  • Kroger has opened a virtual food court in partnership with Kitchen United at one of the grocery chain’s stores in Dallas, according to a press release on Monday.
  • Called Kitchen United Mix, the ghost kitchen is home to several local and national restaurants, such as Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Carl’s Jr., at the store at 5665 E. Mockingbird Lane. Customers can bundle food from multiple brands into a single pickup or delivery order.
  • The opening of the virtual dining hall marks the latest push in Kroger’s push toward shadow kitchens and expanded dining solutions to entice shoppers.

Overview of the dive:

The virtual food court is the first Kitchen United Mix in Dallas and the third opened in partnership with Kroger. The other two are in a Kroger store in Houston and a Ralph’s in Los Angeles.

At the Dallas location, customers can get food from nine restaurant brandsaccording to the Kitchen United website. Customers who want to order from multiple restaurants can do so from on-site digital kiosks or through the Kitchen United website or Mix app. Buyers can buy from individual restaurant brands through third-party delivery platforms. Kitchen United Mix is ​​on.

Kitchen United CEO Michael Montagano noted in the announcement that the ghost kitchen is in a prime location near Southern Methodist University, allowing Kroger to tap more into student service.

Kroger first partnered with Kitchen United last summer. The grocery chain is also working with restaurant technology company ClusterTruck, and the companies opened two shadow kitchens in Kroger stores in the Indianapolis area and metro Columbus, Ohio, in late 2020.

While ClusterTruck offers a range of menu items from its on-site ghost kitchens, the Kitchen United partnership allows shoppers to purchase food from multiple restaurant brands. Keith Shoemaker, president of Kroger’s Dallas division, said in the announcement that the new virtual food hall offers “restaurant-quality” meals that shoppers can order while shopping for their basic groceries.

Kroger’s efforts to house ghost kitchens come at a time when the grocers are looking to increase their fresh food offerings and draw attention to meal deals as the pandemic and inflation continue to alter where and how people seek out meal solutions.

According to a report from Placer.ai in June, Kroger has seen foot traffic slow, but the grocer’s prepared meals and ghost kitchen expansion are showing promising impacts on the grocer’s growth. The data company previously discovered in May that Kroger locations with ClusterTruck in Indiana and Ohio had higher foot traffic than neighboring Kroger stores. Its June report says the Kitchen United tie-up is following a similar trajectory, with virtual food courts in Houston and Los Angeles seeing higher foot traffic compared to other nearby Kroger stores.

Walmart has also jumped into the ghost kitchen space and is expanding its ghost kitchen footprint with Ghost Kitchen Brands.

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