Despite announcing efforts to focus on bringing healthier food to the nation's expanding food deserts, Walmart is reportedly also focused on increasing the number of fast food outlets located inside the giant retail locations.
A recent report in Nation's Restaurant News says that these "nontraditional" outlets are continuing to become the norm for many fast food chains including McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. According to the Huffington Post, these chains "have a long history of partnering with their equivalents in the retail space, including Walmart and Target," and the trend is likely to continue, with more expansion from larger, better known chains, as well as smaller fast food outfits following suit.
According to the Huffington Post, "Checkers, Philly Pretzel Factory and Rally's have all opened locations within Walmart stores in recent months and have plans to open more in 2013 and beyond." Checkers, along with its sibling brand Rally's, are pursuing Walmart locations to open within the next year.
Several factors have been pinpointed in the wave of fast food restaurants moving into larger retailers including rising gas prices that might deter consumers from driving to another location, and, high premiums on real estate opportunities that make it more difficult for fast food chains, especially the smaller scale brands, to thrive.
Convenience locations, such as highway rest stop areas are also seeing an influx of fast food outlets including Huddle House, which has recently expanded into Pilot locations in several states including Pennsylvania and North Dakota.
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