The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed consumers’ dining habits, as many have grown accustomed to enjoying restaurant meals from the comfort of their own homes where previously they may have dined on-premises. McDonald’s, for one, has seen its drive-thru locations perform significantly higher than its dine-in locations. Now, the quick-service restaurant (QSR) is closing hundreds of its restaurants inside of Walmart stores, though about 150 of these in-Walmart locations will remain open, reported The Wall Street Journal.
At the height of the partnership, which has lasted around 30 years, there were close to 1,000 such locations. Now, given the locations’ reliance on dine-in and their lack of drive-thru windows, these restaurants have seen their sales volume take a dive during the pandemic.
These closures aren’t necessarily an indication that the restaurant-in-superstore model is poorly suited to consumers’ current needs. QSR salad chain Saladworks, for one, recently announced that it would be opening many in-Walmart locations of its own. How these locations perform will give a clearer sense of whether McDonald’s was perhaps premature in these closures, or whether Saladworks would be better served to heed the lessons that the industry veteran learned the hard way.