AI-Based ‘Dark Store’ Grocer Launching First East Coast Operation in Charlotte


San Francisco-based ‘Dark Store’ grocer Food Rocket has just announced plans to open their first East Coast base of operations right here in the Queen City.

The move will create at least 100 new jobs across the region and give Charlotte residents a new way to buy their groceries.

Food Rocket will be partnering with Circle K to build out ‘dark stores’ around our city (meaning they will be closed to the customer).

The company’s unique business model is based on AI (artificial intelligence) technologies to manage and optimize food choice, assortment, demand for local customers. The ‘central brain’ then analyses delivery time by finding the dark store that offers the shortest delivery time and the lowest costs of building and delivering each new order.

The company claims that each order only takes 2-3 minutes to process, with delivery taking less than 10 minutes, on average. Food Rocket guarantees delivery within a specific time frame shown in the app, or it’s free.

When asked why they chose Charlotte for their first East Coast operation, CEO Vitaly Alexandrov said they were looking for a low-density city to roll out their new “urban” concept, which features delivery via cars instead of e-bikes. “We are waiting, trying to make it sustainable in Charlotte,” Alexandrov noted. “Once we’ve realized that we’re achieving all the metrics, we’ll go further.”

This month the company has been focused on grass roots marketing in San Francisco and Chicago, even being spotted in Chicago’s legendary Thanksgiving Day parade:

The company will likely launch similar grass-root marketing efforts here in the Queen City.

What do you think about the new company and concept?