Fast Food Options at Costco and Walmart Are Changing (and Not for the Better)

MANAGE MONEY - SHOPPING
Profit, not taste is moving Walmart and Costco to add pricier foods to their restaurants.
Updated Jan. 11, 2024
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Eating an indulgent, bad-for-you meal while shopping at Walmart and Costco is a time-honored tradition. Who doesn’t love biting into a sugary treat or scarfing down McDonald’s fries while running errands? 

Here’s some bad news for fry lovers: Walmart has started to move away from having McDonald’s, and they’re now partnering with trendier fast-food options. As for Costco, they’ve replaced a beloved sweet with a replacement that has garnered more boos than raves.

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The importance of food changes for you

What do the food changes at Walmart mean to the average shopper? Instead of walking through the aisles with a burger in one hand and a shopping cart in the other, now shoppers need to sit down to enjoy their salad from Frutta Bowls, Saladworks, or any 11 other upscale new fast-food options.

Sitting down and eating cuts down shopping time, but if it keeps you in the store and you feel like it can help you save money while shopping then the stores are all for it. The newer food choices and their costs can cut into the monthly budget. Instead of grabbing a burger for under $5, a nice salad can cost $10 or more. And fries aren’t on the menu.

How sad are Walmart customers over the McDonald’s closure? Reddit’s Nostalgia community has many posts where commenters wax wistfully over the loss of the golden arches in Walmart.

Costco gets rid of a popular food item

Some Costco members are likely drawn to the low-price giant because of the food court. Where else can you get a ¼ pound hot dog and soda combo for $1.50?

So, people were outraged when Costco dumped the churro for a chunky chocolate chip cookie. One commenter wrote, “I will not stand for this transgression.” 

Another chimed in with, “This makes me so sad. Getting the churro made me feel like I was in Disney. Long lines, paying a lot of money, and my reward at the end was that beautiful delicacy.” 

And one commenter was inconsolable. They stated, “I was brokenhearted (sic) at Costco today. Replacing the churro? Animals!”

Then, when they found out about the price difference, they were furious as no one really feels like the cookie is the next great Costco hack. A churro costs $1.49, and the cookie clocks in at $2.50. 

A Costco Reddit community member reviewed it. They said, “It’s not worth $2.50. This is the price of almost two ¼ pound hot dogs and two sodas and is the price of half of a rotisserie chicken.” The reviewer stated that the cookie wasn’t that big and was 750 calories.

Comments ranged from “$2.50 for a cookie feels pretty absurd, to be honest,” to “750 calories, sweet baby Jesus!” to “I wish I could unsee this and continue my previous life of ignorance.” Many commenters wistfully recalled the churro and wished it would return to the food court.

Forget Mcdonald's, Walmart is adding a new fast food partner

Walmart’s newest fast-food partner is Uncle Sharkii Poke Bar. Based in California, the chain also has outlets in Utah, Texas, and Hawaii. Uncle Sharkiis will open in 10 Walmart locations in California over the next five months. 

These 10 locations will be the testing ground to see (1) how customers react to a poke bar in Walmart and (2) how profitable they are. Uncle Sharkii’s menu prices range from $9.95 to $12.95 an entrée. You may see an Uncle Sharkii at a Walmart near you if they do well.

Bottom line

Profit, not taste, is why budget retailers like Walmart and Costco will continue to tinker with their fast-food offerings. While consumers may feel loyalty to certain foods or brands, what they can buy to munch on while shopping or taking a break from shopping depends on the retailer’s bottom line.


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Author Details

PJ Gach PJ Gach is a professional writer who has over a decade of experience covering the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle beats. Her writing credits include Shop TODAY, GoBankingRates, SPY.com, Reader's Digest, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, and more.

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