Kroger is partnering with ClusterTruck to deliver fresh meals through its dark kitchens. The Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck will offer meals on-demand without any delivery or service fees. The company plans to launch the service in Indiana, Ohio and Colorado.
What Are Dark Kitchens?
Dark kitchens, also called delivery-only kitchens or ghost restaurants, do not serve meals directly to customers waiting at a table. Instead, they operate solely to cook food that is delivered to customers at home or at work. Usually, these kitchens rely on third-party apps and software to distribute their food, handle delivery and collect payments.
ClusterTruck, a software platform with integrated delivery-only kitchens, already operates in Denver, Indianapolis, Columbus and Kansas City. According to the company, chefs make the food in central kitchens and do not start working until a driver can take a customer’s delivery to the right location, so all the meals are fresh and hot.
“Our recipe for success has been a blend of cutting-edge software combined with high-quality ingredients and delicious variety. This winning combination has allowed us to thrill customers across the country, while achieving profitability. We’re excited to partner with Kroger to redefine the food experience for their valued customers,” Chris Baggott, ClusterTruck co-founder and CEO, said.
The Partnership Between Kroger and ClusterTruck
Kroger will be able to offer on-demand meal delivery through its partnership with ClusterTruck. In addition to using the company’s kitchens in Indianapolis, Columbus and Denver, there is a plan to open a joint kitchen in Carmel, Indiana. The Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck will compete with other food delivery services such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub.
After a customer places an order, the meal will be prepared in one of the ClusterTruck kitchens and delivered within 30 minutes. Unlike other services, Kroger does not plan to add extra charges for delivery.
“Kroger Delivery Kitchen customers can order pizza or pad Thai on the same order and get it delivered hot and fresh, within minutes of the meals being prepared. We are excited to work together to bring this partnership to life to provide our customers with real food delivered to their door step!” Suzy Monford, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh, said.
The new offer is part of Kroger’s delivery expansion tests that include planning to build an automated robot warehouse with Ocado in Ohio and using unmanned autonomous vehicles through a partnership with Nuro to deliver groceries in Arizona.