12 Fast-Food Chains That Have Opened Up Inside Walmart This Year
The number of McDonald's located inside of America's largest retail chain has steadily decreased over the past decade, but, at one point, there used to be 1,000 of these restaurants located inside Walmart locations across the country. During the height of this huge partnership, it is estimated that one in every three Walmart stores contained a McDonald's.
With all this space opening up, other fast-food and restaurant chains have jumped at the chance to move in. This year has seen its fair share of grand openings inside of Walmart—here are 12 eateries you can now get when you walk in the doors of the blue building.
Back in April, fast-food chain Nathan's Famous, known for its signature hot dogs and crinkle-cut fries, announced it would add 100 new locations in Walmart stores in 2021. This expansion included partnering with Ghost Kitchen Brands, a fast-food service. Since Ghost Kitchen Brands is based in the USA's northern neighbor, this deal was initially tested with Walmart Canada but was introduced to a Walmart in Rochester, N.Y. this September.
"Our business is founded on providing innovative offerings that give our customers the experience they are looking for," said Darryl Spinks, senior director of retail services at Walmart U.S., in a statement according to Supermarket News. "We are excited to expand our relationship with Ghost Kitchens to continue to bring new and exciting food options to customers, all while providing the convenience our customers need."
According to a Chain Store Age article, Nathan's plans on growing up to 150 locations by next year. Most of these will be inside Walmart stores with some locations offering seating, but all locations will be equipped with take-out and delivery services.
In that same report, James Walker, senior vice president of Nathan's Famous restaurants said: "We're excited to continue our expansion across the U.S. and Canada, and this partnership with Ghost Kitchen Brands grows our footprint even more."
Saladworks was one of the first chains introduced to Walmart via the Ghost Kitchens deal and its first Walmart location is in Rochester, N.Y. The salad chain began opening locations in nontraditional venues like Walmart in 2019, Progressive Grocer reports.
Eric Lavinder, chief development officer for WOWorks, the parent company of Saladworks said the partnership allows "Guests [to] continue to receive the same hospitality and healthy experience they have at our stand-alone restaurants, but with even more accessibility and convenience at Walmart locations."
Saladworks has more than 150 locations across America, with 40 opening just this past year.
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Frutta Bowls has the same parent company as Saladworks, WOWWorks. Frutta Bowls is also located in the Rochester Walmart but has more than 30 other locations in the U.S. Walmart shoppers can now enjoy menu items like smoothies, acai bowls, and protein bites after their shopping.
While Saladworks is no stranger to nontraditional venues, the Walmart deal marks the first for Frutta Bowls. "We're thrilled to make yet another debut for Saladworks inside a major retailer, and the first for Frutta Bowls," Lavinder said in the same Progressive Grocer report. "These partnerships have proven to be incredible opportunities for WOWorks, and we're looking forward to the growth that will come out of this opening."
Hissho Sushi & Wine Bar
Last year, the sit-down sushi restaurant opened its first Walmart location in Rogers, Ark. Since then, Hissho Sushi & Wine Bar has been opening up locations inside of other locations, like in August, when a Walmart in Plano, Texas welcomed Hissho as "A full service restaurant [offering] made-to-order sushi as well as a selection of wines," Community Impact Newspaper reports.
"The Japanese and Asian-inspired menu is extensive, offering nigiri, sashimi, maki rolls, specialty rolls, appetizers, dim sum, bentos and dessert. Their drink menu includes a selection of beer and wine, priced between $5 to $6," according to the Dallas Observer.
Related: The Best Sushi in Every State
Back in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Domino's is already in 30 Walmart stores across the country. That same report explained that the pizza company approached the mega-chain because Domino's has an interest in expanding its reach to Walmart's loyal customers in otherwise hard-to-reach areas in all 50 states.
La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe
April was a busy month inside Walmart locations, as the retail chain piloted La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe in 10 stores across Texas. The cafe's inside of Walmart will serve as express locations for the nationwide chain.
"We're very excited about Walmart's curated food service experience for customers," La Madeleine CEO Lionel Ladouceur said in a statement. "We look forward to making it even more convenient for the DFW community to enjoy the La Madeleine experience, while also introducing our French comfort food to Walmart shoppers that are looking for more diverse dining choices."
The bakery chain continues to open express locations in Walmart and Ladouceur explained to Denton Record Chronicle that the decision to expand La Madeline through Walmart locations will be evaluated next year.
One of the biggest chains set to enter Walmart stores is Taco Bell. "We're definitely looking to bring in new and exciting brands," said Avani Dudhia, a Walmart corporate spokesperson in a Supermarket News Report.
While Taco Bell is still testing out its Walmart locations, there has not been any word as to an official launch date for the brands to coexist.
Wow Bao already has 200 locations across the United States, but now this fast-casual chain is bringing pot stickers, bao buns, and dumplings to Walmart stores. All of these locations will offer take-out and delivery services, with some having indoor dining.
"We are thrilled to accelerate our expansion across the U.S. and Canada with this important partnership and the innovators at Ghost Kitchen Brands," said Geoff Alexander, the president & CEO of Wow Bao, according to QSR.
Since 2019, the chain has grown from six to 300 locations. Wow Bao is on track to opening 1,000 locations by the end of 2021 through its Ghost Kitchen's deal, Restaurant Dive reports.
The Mediterranean chain was founded in 2017. "We're excited that more people are actively seeking authentic, ethnic dishes as part of their regular diet," Sawsan Abublan, one of the co-founders, said in a statement. "Because our fresh menu items are made in-house and appeal to a wide variety of diverse palates and dietary preferences, we're poised for rapid growth and expansion during the next few years."
Eat This, Not That! previously reported, "Additional moves are indeed on the horizon for Shawarma Press. As the growing chain adds more locations in Texas next year, it will also expand into Florida and Oklahoma. Arlington, Georgetown, Plano, and San Antonio restaurants are being added as we speak, with additional locations in Irving, Frisco, and Mansfield set to open next year. Some of these restaurants will be inside Walmart stores."
Although McDonald's is on its way out of Walmart, Wendy's is on its way in, with a location already open in Heath, Ohio. Inside Walmart, shoppers can now find a new version of beloved Wendy's called Wendy's Hamburger Stand.
"The first and only Wendy's Hamburger Stand of its kind is all about the 'BYO' life," the fast-food chain previously told Eat This, Not That!, "Where we welcome customers to build everything from their Nugget size and preferred flavor, and dream hamburger from start to finish."
This type of Wendy's features a unique, yet limited menu including a strawberry frosty, or a sundae topped with Lucky Charms. Or, to satisfy a spicy craving, Wendy's Hamburger Stand also offers Jalapeno Popper Chicken Nuggets.
Later this year, another Walmart in Ohio is expected to open another version of Wendy's called Wendy's Snack Shop, which will simplify the menu even further by eliminating salads and baked potatoes.
Charleys Philly Steaks
Charleys has 600 locations across 47 states and 16 countries. This large brand known for its cheesesteaks, chicken wings, and gourmet fries opened a location at a Walmart in Columbus, Ohio, and added more locations this year. In a Fast Casual report, "The design of the restaurant, at 3900 Morse Rd., centers around not only food but fun family experiences, including arcade games and whimsical design elements, according to a company press release."
The brand aims to open 10 more restaurants inside of Walmart next year.
This Croatian-based chain is making its U.S. debut inside of a Walmart in Fort Worth, Texas. The brand was founded in 2009 and has more than 60 locations across 20 countries. Outside of America, the brand goes by "Surf 'N' Fries," but is rebranding for its Texas launch to specify that the restaurant sells chicken versus seafood, CultureMap Dallas says. In addition to fried chicken, the menu also features mozzarella sticks, breakfast, and desserts.
In that same report, the article explains, "A notable point of distinction is their use of air fryers, which creates the desirable fried food texture but without oil."
According to Carrie Sams, president of the U.S. operation, the Fort Worth location is the first of the 12 Texas-based locations that will be in Walmarts. "The Garland shop opening will be just the beginning of a long-term plan to open over 350 locations in Walmarts during the next five years," Sams says.
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