The grocery chain will enter the Miami market sans retail stores or human grocery baggers.
Instead, customers will soon be able to order from the grocer via Kroger Delivery, in what has become part of the company's ongoing expansion of automated fulfillment centers.
The Cincinnati-based chain, founded in 1838, is one of the largest grocery companies in the U.S., with more than 20 brands operating 2,800 stores in 35 states.
The move into Florida is based on aggressive growth tactics for Kroger's new delivery service and marks the introduction of two automated fulfillment centers, facilitated with assistance from U.K.-based technology company, Ocado Group, which use AI learning and robotics to provide fast and affordable delivery.
Kroger Delivery is also set to launch in the Northeast and expand its operations in California, to be followed by sites in Texas, Georgia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona. The company launched in Central Florida earlier this year. the plan for South Florida involves the addition of two smaller fulfillment facilities that will join existing centers in Groveland, Jacksonville, and Tampa.
The South Florida service area and launch date have not yet been set, Kroger spokesperson Andrea Colby tells New Times.
“Kroger entered the Florida market earlier this year with our e-commerce model," says Colby. "South Florida residents can anticipate a shopping service that offers an extensive assortment of affordable fresh food and household essentials conveniently delivered to their doorstep."
When service expands to Miami, customers will be able to visit Kroger's website or use the Kroger app to place orders.
In South Florida, a microsite fulfillment center will be the first of its kind, offering automated services that also allow for curbside pickup, which can service customers in as little as 30 minutes with a selection of 10,000 fresh food items and essentials, or deliver same-day or next-day orders of more than 35,000 items.
Inside the highly automated centers, more than 1,000 robots will whiz around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by Ocado's proprietary air-traffic control system. The grid, known as "the Hive," contains hundreds of totes where products are placed to fill orders.
Completed orders are loaded into temperature-controlled Kroger Delivery vans, each of which can hold up to 20 orders. Facilities are equipped to fulfill thousands of orders each day.
Not everything is automated, however. On-site workers — up to 400 employees at larger fulfillment hubs — support delivery operations and help process, package, and load orders. Roles focus on customer service and engagement, engineering, operations, inventory, quality management, and transportation.
To view available careers coming to South Florida, visit jobs.kroger.com.