Miami Herald Farmstead

Cloud kitchens have satisfied your pandemic munchies needs. Now, a cloud grocery is in Miami

BY Rob Wile 

You may have heard of cloud or "dark" kitchens — the delivery-only restaurants from which you can order food but not a table to eat at.

Now, a new California concept, cloud or “dark” grocery stores, is rolling into South Florida.

San Francisco-based Farmstead says it can deliver fresh, high-quality groceries at equal or better prices than local supermarkets through an order placed through your phone or online. Despite the massive expansion of Instacart amid the pandemic —it now claims half of all online grocery deliveries — many shoppers remain loath to use online grocery delivery, usually because the cost remains high. That’s not simply because of fees but also because most grocery stores are simply not optimized to handle online orders.

By deconstructing all the essential components of a grocery store into a single warehouse location, Farmstead says it can make 10 times more deliveries than a mainstream supermarket while keeping prices low. The cost of an order would be typical to what you’d pay at your local grocer, Farmstead says.

Farmstead says Miami customers will be able to get a host of brands — high-quality local providers such as Floribbean, Jennifer’s Homemade and Zak the Baker; plus national groups such as Kraft and Nabisco; and well-loved Latino labels Goya and Cafe Bustelo. Fresh meats, dairy and produce will also be available. Local deliveries will start no later than this summer.

South Florida is Farmstead’s fifth market, after the Bay Area, Charlotte, N.C., and the North Carolina Research Triangle; and Nashville, Tenn. Each Farmstead warehouse can create as many as 100 jobs; Elankumaran said he hopes to have enough to service locations from Homestead to Boca Raton.

“Demographically, [South Florida] is right in our sweet spot, when we think about mid-market grocery shoppers who make multiple trips to the grocery store in a week,” Elankumaran said.