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.