Taco Maker, others detail Wal-Mart deals

BENTONVILLE Ark. At least three franchisors detailed plans on Monday to put their restaurant brands inside Wal-Mart stores.

Simultaneous news coverage of development deals with The Taco Maker Inc., Pollo Campero and Beautiful Brands International suggest a shift in the on-site feeding strategy of Wal-Mart, which has previously opened its stores to such big national brands as McDonald’s and Subway. The chains whose agreements were disclosed or covered Monday are smaller, regional or multi-regional brands.

Pollo Campero, for instance, is a Guatemalan chicken chain with 40 units in the United States. Wal-Mart said Monday that a branch of the brand had opened in a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rowlett, Texas, with as many 20 more outlets slated to open in stores by 2010.

Taco Maker Inc., an Ogden, Utah-based franchisor of more than 185 quick-service restaurants worldwide, signed an agreement to begin franchising all of its brands in U.S. Wal-Mart stores. The concepts include Taco Maker’s Mexican namesake, the Jake’s Over the Top burger operation, and smoothie specialist Mayan Juice. To date, Taco Maker has signed lease agreements to open stores in Wal-Marts in Utah, Florida, and South Carolina. Six of these locations will open this year.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Tulsa, Okla.-based Beautiful Brands could open a Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe inside a Wal-Mart by the fall. The story cited the chain’s intentions to put units in 300 of the retailer’s outlets. When an affiliation with Wal-Mart was announced early this year, Beautiful Brands had cited a target of 200 in-store restaurants.

Beautiful Brands also franchises the FreshBerry frozen yogurt and Coney Beach burgers and hot dogs concepts. Camille’s specializes in sandwiches and pizzas that are marketed as being healthful.

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest public corporation. On Tuesday it reported a net income of more than $3 billion on sales of $94.1 billion for the first quarter. In addition to its namesake line of discount retailers and supercenters, Wal-Mart is the parent of the Sam’s Club warehouse retail chain.