Should Grocery Stores Invest in Virtual Food Courts?

You might have heard some buzz around virtual food courts in the grocery industry lately. That’s because grocery chains are starting to test the new concept in their stores. These virtual food courts, or “ghost kitchens”, come as grocers look to boost their fresh food and meal offerings due to the pandemic and inflation affecting shopping habits.

Here’s everything we know about virtual food courts so far.


Virtual food courts allow customers to order from multiple different restaurants while shopping at their local grocery stores. Shoppers can purchase meals from on-site digital kiosks, the store website, or a mobile app. Customers can have the option to mix and match items from various restaurants in one order for pickup or delivery.


Your customers are already likely using takeout and delivery apps regularly, so why not bring that idea to your store? Virtual food courts take both fresh meal solutions and convenient delivery into one space, adding an extra advantage to your store in a competitive food landscape. 

While the innovation is still relatively new in the industry, retailers investing in ghost kitchens are seeing promising results. This is because customers are quick to test out the benefits. With multi-restaurant ordering, households no longer have to compromise on what food to get. Instead, they can order from separate places without the extra fees. They can also order ahead of time and grocery shop while waiting for their meals to be delivered to the store.

Having more fresh food options for your customers helps make your store a meal destination while also allowing you to take advantage of delivery app popularity. Not to mention the concept can help reduce store expenses by alleviating the need for a robust food court and employees that help it run successfully. 

At STCR, our professionals are always on the pulse of emerging grocery trends and can provide strategic omnichannel solutions to boost your store’s performance. Whether it’s upgrading your self-checkout options or implementing robust store management software, we can help increase store efficiency and ROI. Request a demo today to get started!