By Mike Pomranz | FoodAndWine.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Foodie
Shoppers can order prepared food by two dozen restaurant brands, from Cheesecake Factory to Cinnabon to Kraft Mac & Cheese.
When shopping at Walmart, you don’t expect to find only one brand of potato chips: They’ll have Lay’s and Kettle and Pringles — and you can toss all three into a single cart and buy them all at once if you want. Now, thanks to a partnership with Ghost Kitchens — a Canadian company that allows restaurants to operate beyond their usual brick-and-mortar locations — some Walmart stores will offer customers a similar experience for takeout meals. Simply head to the Ghost Kitchens counter, mix and match items from as many as two dozen recognizable restaurant brands, and collect your motley feast when you’re done shopping.
Walmart has just opened its first Ghost Kitchens location in the U.S. at a store in Rochester, New York, allowing customers to choose prepared items from a mind-boggling list of possible brands: Amaya Indian, BeaverTails, Big Chicken, Cinnabon, Costa Coffee, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Fries of the World, Frutta Bowls, Funnel Cake, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Lola’s Latin Food, Monster Cupcakes, Nathan’s Famous, Pepe’s Perogies, Quiznos, Red Bull, Saladworks, Slush Puppie, Tazo Bubble Tea, The Cheesecake Factory Bakery, Wings of New York, Wow Bao, and Yogen Früz. Don’t see anything you like? Don’t worry: Walmart explicitly states that the options are “not limited to” those 23 choices. More may be available.
And the Rochester store is just the start. Already working together in Canada, Walmart and Ghost Kitchens say that the pair is expect to launch more Ghost Kitchens counters in Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia, and other states over the coming months and into next year.
“Our business is founded on providing innovative offerings that give our customers the experience they are looking for,” Darryl Spinks, senior director of retail services at Walmart U.S., stated. “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.”
Nation’s Restaurant News reports that, as you might expect, these Ghost Kitchens tend to have slimmed down menus from their respective brands, but also explains that these kitchens use the same ingredients and training as the restaurants’ actual locations despite a Ghost Kitchens’ counter operating with only two or three employees at a time. Talk about multitasking.
Additionally, these Ghost Kitchens will also reportedly serve as a hub for online delivery orders through places like DoorDash, meaning next time you place an online order in Rochester, your meal could technically be coming from a Walmart. Wrap your head around that for a minute.
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