Walmart may be parting ways with McDonald's, as demonstrated by the hundreds of restaurant closures taking place this year in big-box stores. But that doesn't mean that the retailer has completely given up on fast food.
As McDonald's and Subway locations close in droves inside Walmart, the retailer is considering replacing the vacated spots with other fast-food brands like Domino's and Taco Bell, according to Supermarket News. (RELATED: 7 New Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches Everyone's Talking About)
After McDonald's completes the previously announced closures inside Walmarts, the big-box retailer expects about 150 locations of the fast-food chain will be left standing on its premises. The number represents a drastic decrease from the nearly 1,000 restaurants that McDonald's operated inside Walmart locations during the partnership's heyday. (At one point in time, about every third Walmart location had a McDonald's restaurant.)
Subway, on the other hand, still has about 1,000 remaining Walmart locations, but the chain has been on a closing spree. It shut down more locations last year than any other U.S. chain restaurant—a whopping 1,557, according to latest data.
Walmart doesn't appear to be dwelling on these closures as it searches for replacements. "We're definitely looking to bring in new and exciting brands," Avani Dudhia, a Walmart corporate spokesperson, told Supermarket News last week.
For now, the company is testing a Taco Bell location. It also plans to expand its relationship with Domino's Pizza, which has 30 units in Walmart locations, according to Dudhia.
Ghost kitchens are also likely to proliferate in Walmart stores, which would allow customers to either tack dinner onto their digital grocery orders or pick it up when shopping in person. A recently announced partnership between Walmart Canada and Ghost Kitchen Brands has already brought this convenient option to our northern neighbors.
For more on the latest fast-food trends, check out the 5 Biggest Fast-Food Menu Changes You'll See This Year. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.