Operations

La Madeleine tests Walmart locations

As big chains like McDonald’s and Subway leave their retail units, the French bakery/cafe brand plans to open 10 Express restaurants this summer.
La Madeleine
Photo courtesy la Madeleine

La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe plans to open some 10 test locations inside Walmart stores, the fast casual announced this week.

The move comes as big chains, such as McDonald’s and Subway, retreat from locations in Walmart and other retailers, saying those locations don’t generate enough revenue to make such a partnership feasible.

The first la Madeleine Express restaurant is slated to open in Garland, Texas, in July, with more opening in the Dallas-Fort Worth area not long after, the chain said.

The small-footprint express units, ranging from 980- to 2,200-square-feet, will serve grab-and-go options as well as a dine-in menu. They will also have a retail area for customers to buy soups, jams, sauces and more. The chain is adding some menu items, like pizzas, that have been created specifically for the Walmart units.

Typical la Madeleine restaurants are about 5,000 square feet.

“We’re very excited about Walmart’s curated food service experience for customers,” la Madeleine CEO Lionel Ladouceur said in a statement. “We look forward to making it even more convenient for the DFW community to enjoy the la Madeleine experience, while also introducing our French comfort food to Walmart shoppers that are looking for more diverse dining choices.”

La Madeleine, which has been around since 1983 and has 86 locations in nine states, has been experimenting with new store formats recently, opening its first drive-thru earlier this year.

“If you want to stay in business, you just need to go there,” Ladouceur said at the time. “We really think this is the future of our brand.”

The pandemic has accelerated a move by many big chains to leave their retail locations behind. In addition to McDonald’s and Subway, Dunkin’ has shuttered Speedway locations and Starbucks has said it’s largely abandoning its mall units.

 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Workforce

Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.

Financing

Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.

Financing

Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.

Trending

More from our partners