Friday, September 10, 2021

Walmart’s Branded Restaurant Meals


There is no doubt that Walmart knows what customers want for dinner.  Where Walmart has stumbled was trying to sell consumers for dinner what they bought 25 years ago, the same brands, but in a smaller packaging size for more money according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

At the intersection food customer migration and what’s for dinner Walmart is experimenting with ways to give consumers what they want.  That’s is to say, grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals and meal components according to Johnson. 

Ghost Kitchen Brands has planted its flag in the U.S. partnering with Walmart. So, the Canadian provider of off-premise-only kitchen spaces recently opened its first domestic location, inside a Walmart in Rochester, N.Y. Ghost Kitchens has a deal with the retail giant to open at least 30 such outlets here over the next two years. Why a virtual kitchen in a Walmart? Insights from the team at Foodservice Solutions® found:


1.       Recent Grocerant ScoreCards found 82.3% of consumers don’t know what’s for dinner at Noon, and 61.1 don’t know what’ s for dinner at 4PM %.

2.       83.1% all dinners have at least 1 grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal component and 68.4% have two meal components.

3.       When asked if they wanted to cook dinner from scratch or assemble dinner from fresh meal components 90.4 % of Gen Z chose assemble from Fresh Prepared Meal Components and Millennials 82.7% chose meal components.

4.       Seventy-three percent of retail prepared food purchases are taken to go

5.       Prepared food purchases are frequently a planned purchase among 59% of shoppers, while 41% of shoppers said they buy prepared foods on impulse. Dinner has the highest amount of prepared food buys with 79% of respondents making purchases for that meal, while lunch comes in at 77% and breakfast at 62%.

6.       55% of consumers would like to try autonomous EV delivery

In A Battle for Share of Stomach

Get this, Walmart’s Rochester location features 25 brands that include restaurants like Quiznos and Saladworks along with packaged products like Red Bull and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Customers can order a combination of items for delivery or pickup while they shop, either via mobile app or on-site kiosks.

Adding relevance for Gen Z and Millennials customers can order from kiosks or via mobile app for pickup or delivery. Here is how it works; Ghost Kitchens operates all of its locations via licensing deals with the brands. Each kitchen staffs about two or three employees who are cross-trained on the various concepts

Ghost Kitchens focus in on templated uncomplicated brands the ilk of Quiznos and Saladworks, and it sister concept, Frutta Bowls, fit that bill. Other options, include the ilk of Nathan's Famous, Wow Bao and Dickey's Barbecue Pit, have also made ghost kitchens and licensing deals part of their growth strategies.

Ghost Kitchens employees are cross-trained on all 25 concepts at the location. So, other brands on the Rochester roster are Cinnabon, Cheesecake Factory's bakery concept and Shaquille O'Neal's Big Chicken, which is making its East Coast debut. 

The selection of brand also includes a handful of international concepts. Canadian chains BeaverTails and Yogen Fuz are in the mix, as is U.K.-based Costa Coffee, owned by Coca-Cola.

Currently, Ghost Kitchens hopes to have 800 locations in the U.S., with Illinois, Texas, Georgia and California next in line. It is targeting nontraditional, high-traffic sites in retailers and malls, as well as stand-alone stores. In some of its Walmart locations, it is taking the place of McDonald's found in many Walmart’s.  How are you giving customers what they want for less?

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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