- Walmart is bringing la Madeleine’s new fast-casual format to 10 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the French bakery and cafe chain announced on April 14.
- La Madeleine Express, which will feature grab-and-go items and dine-in seating, is expected to first open in Garland, Texas, in July, followed soon after by nine more Walmart stores in Texas.
- Separately, fast food hot dog chain Nathan’s Famous announced on Monday that it has entered a partnership with Ghost Kitchen Brands that will bring it to a number of Walmart stores.
The new partnerships come at a time when Walmart is seeing a shake-up with its in-store restaurant partners and testing new concepts centered around customer convenience.
Last summer, Walmart opened its first in-store sushi and craft beer restaurant in Rogers, Arkansas, with Hissho Sushi and Craft Beer Bar. Walmart stores in California have recently embraced smoothie-making robots to give customers contactless food and drink options. In October, Walmart rolled out a Blendid robot in its store in Fremont, followed a few weeks later by a Jamba by Blendid kiosk in its Dixon location.
Walmart is navigating the closure of hundreds of in-store McDonald’s locations, along with Subway franchisees, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. Meanwhile, Domino's and Taco Bell are reportedly moving into the retail giant's empty spaces.
The arrival of Nathan's Famous in certain Walmart stores is a part of the retailer's recently announced ghost kitchens pilot.
Walmart is also tapping into other well-known restaurant brands that have teamed up with Ghost Kitchen Brands. In an arrangement similar to the one Walmart struck with Nathan's Famous, Saladworks announced in March that it’s coming to dozens a number of Walmart stores in partnership with the company. Saladworks also has locations in stores operated by Kroger, ShopRite and The Giant Company.
Other grocers, like Kroger, have also turned to the ghost kitchen trend.
Meanwhile, the la Madeleine Express concept gives shoppers the option to get grab-and-go items or order choices like chicken caesar salad, tomato basil soup and pizza from the menu, according to the press release. Shoppers will also be able to buy soups, jams and sauces from a small retail area in each Express location. By piloting a variety of in-store food and beverage options, Walmart can see which formats resonate with shoppers.
For la Madeleine, the Walmart tie-up grows the chain’s current footprint of 86 bakeries across nine states and builds on its focus on downsizing, which includes the opening of several “petite” stores. The Express format will range between 980 to 2,209 square feet, the press release said.