Editor's note: This story was previously printed by our sister publication Winsight Grocery Business.
Looking to make lemonade out of restaurants' supply-chain lemons, Cincinnati-based Kroger announced it's launching a restaurant supply business in the Dallas area.
Kroger Restaurant Supply, available as of April 5, is open to restaurants, bakeries and catering companies in greater Dallas, with free next-day delivery available on orders of $250 or more, according to a Kroger news release. Commercial customers will be able to purchase by the case or by the unit for delivery seven days a week.
Kroger said the new offering "offers an alternative to ordering in large quantities that have highly variable pricing and require deliveries on a set schedule."
The move by Kroger comes as the restaurant and foodservice industries have frequently struggled to get products into their stores because of logistics or other problems. That has left many operators suddenly scrambling for deliveries of often basic necessities after missed deliveries.
"Supply-chain bottlenecks are impacting nearly every restaurant across the country—this opportunity comes at a great time for small and independent restaurants," Corey Mobley, executive director of the North Texas Region of the Texas Restaurant Association, said in Kroger's news release.
At a time when running a restaurant "feels like it's harder than ever," commented Jay Scherger, director of technology for Kroger, Kroger Restaurant Supply "will bring our fresh assortment directly to regional businesses—all [with] consistent prices, product availability and delivery cadence they can count on."
"When our DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) restaurants think food, we want them to think Kroger," said Keith Shoemaker, president of Kroger's Dallas division. "We look forward to providing this new offering and extension of our overall grocery ecosystem."
Kroger last month announced another year of record performance for fiscal 2021, with net sales (including fuel) up more than 4% to $137.9 billion. Gross margin excluding fuel in the company's fiscal fourth quarter increased by 3 basis points to 22.2% of sales, driven by sourcing strength, Kroger reported.
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