Kroger, the biggest US retailers in terms of revenue announced a partnership with ClusterTruck, a startup operating cloud kitchen in the Midwest. They are many types of cloud, dark or ghost kitchens companies (you can choose the name you like the most, the terminology is not quite fixed) operating in different business models. ClusterTruck is operating central kitchens, without any tables, where multiple virtual restaurants with a vast range of meals, exist and take orders from its own delivery platform.
Kroger will launch its Kroger Delivery Kitchen, powered by ClusterTruck, and will be able to offer on-demand meals in a few cities (Indianapolis, Columbus and Denver) in addition to plans to open joint facilities.
Why does it matter?
First, this move is not isolated. Kroger is clearly one of the top retailers when talking about innovation. They have taken equity in Ocado and are building new automated warehouses and are experimented autonomous delivery with Nuro.
Then, this experiment from a grocery giant with a local cloud kitchen company can tell us many things:
- Retailers are looking for ways to expend their reach and may consider meal delivery to be interesting to combine with grocery delivery. We can imagine a future where you would be able to order both groceries and meals on a single platform and is delivered once for all your needs, daily or a few time a week.
- Operating a virtual restaurant is considered hard enough for Kroger not to launch an experiment by themselves