The Kroger Co. has begun on-demand delivery of meals made at “dark kitchens” through a partnership with “delivery restaurant” ClusterTruck.
Called Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck, the service enables users to order online from a wide menu of freshly prepared meals and have them delivered directly to their home or office within a half-hour, Kroger said Monday. The meals are made at central “scratch kitchens,” and customers aren’t charged delivery or service fees.
Initially, Kroger Delivery Kitchen is being offered in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Carmel, Ind., where Kroger and ClusterTruck are jointly opening a kitchen. Kroger’s King Soopers supermarket chain also will offer the ClusterTruck meal delivery service through a kitchen in Denver.
“ClusterTruck’s ultra-fresh and quick made-from-scratch meals set them apart in the food delivery landscape,” Suzy Monford, group vice president of fresh at Kroger, said in a statement. “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 doorstep.”
Customers in the Carmel, Indianapolis and Columbus delivery zones place ClusterTruck orders online at KrogerDeliveryKitchen.com or through the ClusterTruck mobile app. In Denver, orders can be placed online at KingSoopersDeliveryKitchen.com. The menu at the Carmel kitchen, for example, ranges from breakfast, salad and soup to rice and noodle dishes, wings, pizza, “grubfare” (burgers, wraps, sandwiches, gyro, mac and cheese, etc.), Latino entrees (burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc.), sides, children’s meals, beverages and desserts.
The companies said that, on average, customers receive their food less than 30 minutes after placing an order, with nearly every order “in the hands of the customer” within seven minutes after the meal’s preparation.
"The way our customers order and receive meals is evolving, and ClusterTruck's innovative culinary and digital design is cracking the code for the future of profitable meal delivery," according to Kroger Chief Information Officer Yael Cosset. "Kroger is leveraging ClusterTruck's advanced technology to ensure our customers don't have to sacrifice quality and value for convenience when it comes to meal delivery. Kroger Delivery Kitchen Powered by ClusterTruck will allow our customers to access restaurant-quality fresh and delicious meals like never before and without having to pay excessive service or delivery fees."
Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck owns and operates vertically integrated, delivery-only kitchens in downtown Indianapolis, downtown Columbus, Kansas City (Mo.) and Denver. Its so-called dark kitchens are powered by a proprietary software system that uses custom algorithms to optimize kitchen and delivery operations. Founded in 2015, the company launched its first kitchen in 2016 and has since expanded to provide meal delivery to downtown districts in Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Denver. The company noted that all of its meals are made in one central kitchen, and it doesn’t start cooking a customer’s until a driver is available to deliver the food.
"Our recipe for success has been a blend of cutting-edge software combined with high-quality ingredients and delicious variety," stated Chris Baggott, co-founder and CEO at ClusterTruck. "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."