- Kroger plans to open ghost kitchens at three supermarkets in the Columbus, Ohio, area later this year in partnership with Kitchen United, the companies announced Monday.
- The “Mix Food Hall” locations will each offer items from multiple restaurant brands for pickup or delivery, and customers will be able to order food from numerous brands in a single order.
- The new Kitchen United locations follow the company’s disclosure in July that it raised $100 million from investors, including Kroger, to fund its expansion.
The new Mix Food Hall locations will mark the concept’s arrival in Ohio, and represent Kitchen United’s first project in conjunction with Kroger in the Midwest, according to the announcement.
The new to-go food halls will each offer selections from at least six of the 10 restaurant brands Kitchen United is working with, which include Nékter Juice Bar, Saladworks, Hardee’s, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Pei Wei Asian Kitchen.
Shoppers will be able to place orders using digital kiosks located in the stores or online through the Mix Food Hall app or website. While the company will accept orders that come in from third-party delivery services, shoppers who want to order food from more than one restaurant will need to use Kitchen United’s own platform, the companies said.
Kroger noted that ghost kitchens can entice people to come to its stores, where they can make other purchases as they wait for meals to be ready.
“We are always looking for new and unique ways to help our customers answer the ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’ question,” said Melissa Stimac, vice president of merchandising for Kroger’s Columbus Division. “The collaboration with Kitchen United is special because customers’ restaurant-quality meal will be crafted while they’re shopping for the fresh food and pantry staples their families need.”
Kitchen United currently runs 14 to-go food halls in California, Texas, Arizona, New York and Illinois. Kroger and Kitchen United opened their first joint location at a Ralphs store in Los Angeles in 2021, and also operate food halls together at Kroger supermarkets in Houston and Dallas.
The three Mix Food Hall locations Kroger and Kitchen United plan to open in Ohio continue the grocer’s efforts to test ghost kitchens in its stores. Kroger has also partnered with ClusterTruck, another ghost kitchen operator, as it has experimented with the concept.
Walmart, meanwhile, has added ghost kitchens to stores in partnership with Ghost Kitchen Brands.