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04/20/2022

Kroger targets new market for fast delivery with hiring initiative

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kroger delivery truck
Kroger Delivery is coming to South Florida (PRNewsfoto/The Kroger Co.)

The Kroger Co. continues expanding the reach of its refrigerated delivery service for e-commerce orders.

America's largest grocery retailer is now hiring more than 200 associates as it prepares to bring fast online delivery to the South Florida market during the summer of 2022. Kroger’s delivery service is recruiting drivers, as well as associates in areas such as logistics and human resources.

Kroger initially entered the Florida market via online delivery in June 2021, when it opened a location of its leading-edge automated warehouse concept known as a customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Groveland, Florida (part of the greater Orlando metro area). The 375,000-sq.-ft, facility carries thousands of popular grocery products and can fulfill thousands of orders per day.

Now, Kroger is expanding delivery operations already available to Floridians in the greater Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas. Customers can shop online and choose from thousands of fresh food options and household essentials, which are then seamlessly delivered to their homes in refrigerated vans.

Kroger Delivery automated hub and spoke model
CFC represents one of the models engineered for the grocer’s flexible, vertically integrated Kroger Delivery network, which also includes smaller automated facilities and spoke locations, such as a recently-opened Louisville facility. In CFCs, more than 1,000 robots traverse giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.

As customers' orders near their delivery times, the robots retrieve products from The Hive, which are presented at stations for items to be sorted for delivery via an algorithmic sorting process. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the fewest number of bags, reducing plastic use.

Once completed, orders are loaded into a temperature-controlled Kroger delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Machine learning algorithms dynamically optimize delivery routes, considering factors like road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Drivers may travel up to 90 miles with orders from facilities to make deliveries.

"We have an ongoing goal to provide customers the highest level of service possible and want to hire individuals who share in our passion for people and fresh food," said Peggy McCaslin, HR manager, Kroger Delivery. "Led by our purpose to ‘feed the human spirit,’ we are actively recruiting new talent to join our team and offer competitive wages, top-tier healthcare and retirement benefits, opportunities to learn and advance, and a welcoming, inclusive work environment. Kroger is a place where you can come for a job and stay for a career."

"We are thrilled about the opportunity to provide fresh food and convenient services to customers throughout South Florida," said Andrea Colby, e-commerce corporate affairs and communications manager. "The service combines the efficiency of technology with the experience of our associates to deliver fresh, affordable groceries directly to customers' homes."