Ruler Foods is a warehouse store grocery chain in the United States, currently owned by Kroger. It is a no-frills grocery store where 80% of the offerings are Kroger Brand, the customers bag their own groceries at the checkout, and rent shopping carts for 25 cents. Kroger operates Ruler Foods stores in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri. It is part of JayC Food Stores, which was purchased by Kroger in 1999.
The concept was started by JayC Food Stores as a discount banner. By the end of 1998, the company operated three Ruler Foods store locations. Under the ownership of Kroger, the JayC division grew its Ruler Foods brand to 13 stores at the end of 2012, including the first store outside of Indiana. Some of the added Ruler Foods were conversions from the JayC brand, which has 23 stores at the end of 2012. The company hasn’t been specific with the number of Ruler Foods locations it would like to open. The stores are about 20,000 square feet, about one-fifth the size of Kroger Marketplace stores. Ruler Foods locations are strictly grocery stores, with no pharmacy and no fuel center. Customers bag their own groceries and 'rent' shopping carts for 25 cents, which is then returned when the cart is replaced. This cuts down on the number of employees needed at each store.
The majority of Ruler Foods locations are in Indiana, with some in Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Kroger opened its first Ruler Foods in Kentucky in Henderson. The first Ruler Foods in Ohio opened in Lima. Typically, Ruler Food stores open in markets where Kroger does not have existing stores. New Ruler Food stores have opened in Saint Louis, Missouri, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Belleville, Illinois, Granite City, Illinois, Collinsville, Illinois, and Highland, Illinois.