America’s largest grocery retailer is getting in on the food delivery wars.
Kroger announced Thursday it will roll out two ghost kitchens at grocery stores in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, in partnership with ClusterTruck, a tech start-up that operates delivery-only restaurants.
The supermarket chain said the ghost kitchens — cooking spaces that serve food on a pick-up or delivery-only basis — will cook up a variety of freshly prepared meals on-demand with no service or delivery fees to cater to the ongoing need for food delivery during the pandemic.
Kroger piloted a ghost kitchen with ClusterTruck in 2019 before the pandemic. However, with dining rooms shut down during the COVID-19 and operating on pick-up and delivery only, restaurants have become more reliant on ghost kitchen models in which restaurants only operate on a delivery or pick-up only basis.
Customers located near the Indianapolis or Columbus locations can select from a menu of more than 80 meals.
A number of food tech companies have experimented with ghost or cloud kitchens in recent years. Third-party food delivery service DoorDash last year debuted the satellite kitchen in the Bay Area in 2019. And Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick launched CloudKitchens, a similar satellite kitchen and food delivery service and culinary space.