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Kroger to begin offering prepared meals for takeout

Its partnership with Kitchen United will produce food from six restaurant brands

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Photo (c) jetcityimage - Getty Images
Grocery stores have recently started selling meal kits that customers prepare when they get home. Kroger is now partnering with Kitchen United to actually cook the meal that customers can take home with them or have delivered.

"Our customers' appetite for fresh, on-demand meals continues to accelerate, and we remain focused on offering new and innovative products that provide anything, anytime, anywhere," said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger's group vice president of fresh merchandising "Our partnership with Kitchen United taps into restaurants' growing use of off-premise kitchen space to increase customers' access to their favorite foods."

Kitchen United will establish restaurant kitchens at participating Kroger locations. Chefs at these locations will prepare popular menu items from six local, regional, or national restaurant brands. Customers will be able to place orders by using the Kitchen United website or app. If they are already in the store, they can use an ordering kiosk and pick up their meal when they leave the store.

Delivery is an option

The companies say the food will be prepared just the way it would in a restaurant. If the customer wants the food delivered, they can use any of several third-party delivery services and pay the delivery charges separately.

"As we continue to define Kroger as a food destination, this collaboration creates another seamless way for our customers to order lunch or dinner for pick up while they shop for groceries or for delivery to their location of choice," said Craig Gauden, Kroger's director of partnership development.

The first kitchen center is expected to open this fall at a Ralphs store in Los Angeles, with additional locations expected later this year. The concept builds on increasingly popular meal kits that contain all the ingredients a consumer needs to prepare a meal.

In this case, no preparation is necessary. Customers may be able to order a steak dinner from their favorite restaurant and take it home or have it delivered.

‘Ghost kitchens’

Kitchen United is what is known as a “ghost kitchen,” cooking meals for consumption elsewhere. The company partners with restaurants, giving them another outlet at a time when demand for takeout food is increasing. It says the deal with Kroger vastly increases its footprint.

“Our work together provides participating restaurants access to millions of Kroger customers and the ability to better address off-premise demand in a convenient supermarket format – a frequent destination for most consumers," said Michael Montagano, CEO of Kitchen United. 

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