Walmart Muscles Its Way into the Ghost Kitchen Business

  • In a partnership with Ghost Kitchens in Toronto, Walmart opened an omniversal foodservice concept at its super center in Rochester, New York, with dozens more to come.
  • Shoppers can select food and drinks from the menus of up to 25 national and regional restaurant and CPG food concepts, all in a single order.

Related: Round Table Pizza franchisee opens ghost kitchen in L.A.

Walmart has muscled its way into the ghost kitchen business, opening its first virtual food court at its supercenter in Rochester, New York, according to Supermarket News.

Walmart and Toronto-based Ghost Kitchens announced a deal in March to launch an omniversal foodservice concept in dozens of Walmart stores in the U.S. and Canada. The partnership will include locations in Texas, California, Illinois and Georgia in the coming months and in 2022.

“Our business is founded on providing innovative offerings that give our customers the experience they are looking for,” said Darryl Spinks, Walmart’s senior director of retail services. “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.”

Walmart shoppers will be able to select food and beverages from the menus of up to 25 national and regional restaurant and CPG food concepts, all in a single order. Customers will place their orders using touchscreen kiosks or an app. A receipt will be texted to their phones, followed by another text notification when the order is ready.

Participating foodservice brands at the Rochester location include Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken, Cinnabon, Nathan’s Famous, Quiznos, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Red Bull, Amaya Indian and many others.

That means a customer could order a sandwich from Quiznos, a Red Bull drink and a dessert from Cinnabon, all at the same time. None of the foodservice brands listed for the Rochester store feature pizza on the menu, but it seems inevitable that Walmart will add pizza concepts at some locations.

As Restaurant Business has reported, Ghost Kitchens and Walmart have a deal to open at least 30 virtual operations over the next two years. Each kitchen employs two or three people, and they’re cross-trained on the various concepts.

“We focused on brands that … we can execute and … we focused on great brands that maybe don’t have the distribution that they would like right now,” Ghost Kitchens President Marc Choy told Restaurant Business.