Cincinnati-based Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain by revenue, recently announced plans to partner with driver-less car company Nuro. The two companies will team up to deliver groceries using the latter’s autonomous vehicles.
Delivering fragile and perishable items, some of which require refrigeration and some of which don’t, is an endeavor fraught with peril. Then there are questions surrounding the dependability of the vehicles themselves. Making the task even more difficult is the fact that population density varies wildly across the Fruited Plain, from New York City to Wyoming, leading a few analysts to call the effort “corny.” Some on social media have tried to butter them up and egg them on. Other observers have waffled back and forth with their predictions, alternately proclaiming the venture could lead Kroger back to its salad days or that it could leave it dead in the water.
However, lettuce not be doubters. Though some have called them nuts, with both companies having a steak in the outcome, they are sure to milk this idea for all it’s worth. Though, if Nuro’s vehicles turn out to be lemons, it will put both entities in a pickle. The meat of the matter is, of course, how it affects the two company’s bottom lines. If delivering bread rakes in the dough it will have all been worth it, and shareholders will go bananas. On the other hand, if the undertaking proves a cereal killer and a loss leader, the joint effort will be dropped like a hot potato.
Salty industry experts, who have been peppered with questions about the deal, say they believe the venture will succeed, making it even tougher for mom and pop stores to compete. They also say it remains to be seen if other large grocery chains will ketchup to Kroger.
(I apologize to everyone in the world for such a cheesy post. I assure you, tomorrow’s post will not be so punny, and will, in fact, be back to “normal”).