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Simon Launches Ghost Kitchen Venture With In-Mall Delivery

Simon Property Group headquarters in Indianapolis

As part of its ongoing effort to prove the relevance of indoor shopping malls in a transformed retail landscape, Simon Property Group will offer food delivery to customers right where they shop.

The mall REIT announced the launch of its "Grab, Go, Eat" ghost kitchen concept in partnership with Kitchen United on Thursday, Chain Store Age reports. The first Simon-owned malls to feature the new offering will be Del Amo Fashion Center in the Los Angeles County city of Torrance and the Roosevelt Field Mall in the Long Island suburb of Garden City, New York.

At participating malls, Kitchen United will operate "Grab, Go, Eat" kiosks at which customers can order from multiple food concepts offered at the centers, CSA reports. Customers can also order on Kitchen United's website and app for pickup at designated lockers, at the restaurants themselves, or have food delivered to any point in the mall, including inside stores. The platform will also offer at-home delivery.

Kitchen United has already begun operating a similar combination of delivery, in-store pickup and hybrid, in-store delivery for grocery chain Kroger, starting with a store in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles under the umbrella of its California-based subsidiary Ralphs, CSA reports

Simon's choice of Kitchen United could be considered a surprise in light of its participation in multiple rounds of investment for Creating Culinary Communities, a company founded by Sam Nazarian that also offers a hybridization of a food court and a delivery-only ghost kitchen.

Simon's integration of ghost kitchens with brick-and-mortar retail is another example of the concept's growing acceptance among legacy forms of retail, including more traditional forms of food service. Fast-food chain Wendy's announced in August that it would be launching 700 ghost kitchens in partnership with embattled, SoftBank-backed REEF Technology.