Shoppers can now shop for groceries AND dine out at Kroger in the Heights

Imagine this: your family members or friends all want to order dinner from different restaurants. Now, instead of having to compromise on a single restaurant, pick up from multiple locations, or wait for numerous third-party delivery services (paying tips and fees for each), you can now simply drive to a grocery store. Well, if you’re in or near the heights, at least. What once seemed like an exhausting storyline is now seamless, thanks to a swanky new multi-order platform called Kitchen United MIXlocated inside Kroger at 1035 Shepherd North.

“Together, our teams exited five aisles to build a 10,000 square foot Kitchen United MIX location, which will be the second such collaboration for Kroger in the state of Texas,” said Jeff Bailey, who has been the Kroger North Shepherd store manager for the past 44 years. “Kitchen United MIX is the future of restaurant dining,” says Michael Montagano, CEO of Kitchen United. “Put simply, it’s diversity ready to order.”

Kitchen MIX food at Kroger
A range of take-out meals from Kitchen MIX to Kroger in the Heights. Photo by Lauren Bebeau.

During the past year, united kitchen has partnered with Kroger grocery stores across the United States to bring its proprietary foodservice technology to stores. The company creates turnkey solutions for brands looking to leverage ghost kitchens and increase their reach, whether it’s onsite or offsite sales. Currently, 14 Kitchen United MIX locations operate in California, Arizona, New York, Illinois and Texas. Three more locations are planned for Frisco, Plano and Dallas later this year.

So how does it work? Customers place and pay for the orders of their choice from nearly 15 different restaurants, either at an in-store kiosk or through the Kitchen United MIX app. These include local, regional and franchise brands such as Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos, Bad Mutha Clucka, Bucca di Beppo, Burn the original barbecue, At Capriotti’s, Dog House, Fudruckers, The Impossible Shop, Recidivist, Joe Leo, MrBeast Burger, Factory B, The Rustic, snow fox and wing area. Although not every brand offers its full regular menu, most popular items are available.

Kitchen MIX order kiosk
The ordering kiosk at Kitchen MIX in Kroger in the Heights. Photo by Lauren Bebeau.

When an order is placed, a conveyor belt transports it from the kitchen to a pick-up area manned by a “concierge” in seconds. It is then placed in a locker and the customer is informed that the order is ready. Kitchen United relies on Google Business– Supported technology that allows multiple marks to appear on a single receipt. This means customers can order from as many different restaurants as they want in a single transaction.

We were invited as media to try some dishes during the grand opening. We opted for the highly publicized virtual brand, Mr Beast Burger, known for his double stacked beef burgers surmounted by processed american cheese. Then we tried delicious crispy chicken fillets with barbecue sauce from Dog House; caprese tomato and basil salad from Buca de Beppoand a smoked pork rib and sausage plate from Burns the original barbecue.

While a great option for Kroger to offer customers, shadow kitchen concepts also allow restaurant brands to grow without the costly building or maintenance costs of bricks and mortar.

“It’s the future and we’re excited to be a part of it to help us grow our brand even further in Houston,” said Cory Crawford of Burn the original barbecuea remarkable family establishment that once attracted the attention of late Antoine Bourdain for “Unknown parts.”

While the old-fashioned way of eating gets you nowhere, the Kitchen United MIX concept makes it easy to satisfy a variety of cravings. The Houston site is open Sunday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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About James Almanza

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