- Walmart is partnering with Hissho Sushi and Craft Beer Bar to launch the concept inside a Walmart Supercenter in Rogers, Arkansas, according to a press release. The sushi restaurant serves items including hand-rolled sushi and hot appetizers and will employ 20 people, including highly trained sushi chefs.
- Selections on the menu include California rolls, as well as spicy red pepper and crunchy shrimp rolls. Hot appetizers include Asian chicken wings, shrimp, dim sum and a list of eight wines and 12 rotating beers on tap featuring beers from local brewery Bike Rack Brewing Company. The restaurant also serves breakfast items like avocado toast, acai bowls and fruit smoothies.
- To open its in-store restaurant during COVID-19, Walmart and Hissho will provide employees with training focused on hand-washing and sanitation and require them to wear masks and be screened before each shift. The restaurant will also be operating at half capacity with tables and chairs spread six feet apart, and require customers to wear a mask to enter, per Arkansas’ guidelines.
While many customers are still choosing to cook at home and skipping the dine-in restaurant experience due to safety concerns, Walmart’s full-service, in-store restaurant signals the grocer’s interest in elevating its meal options. Although the grocer has always offered the typical supermarket prepared foods like fried chicken and deli items, shoppers are looking for new dishes, and innovation is key in keeping them interested.
Supermarket prepared foods represent the fastest-growing sector of the foodservice industry and exceed $12.7 billion in annual sales, according to FMI. While sushi has always been a supermarket staple, consumers have shifted to wanting more than just a grab-and-go selection.
Walmart has worked with Hissho, the nation’s second-largest sushi provider, in the past. The grocer launched “Hissho on the Go” at Walmart locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area late last year. Hissho chefs make hand-rolled sushi off-site daily for delivery to the stores.
Prior to Walmart, Hissho partnered with Meijer right before the pandemic to open its craft beer and sushi bar inside a location in Brighton, Michigan. The restaurant features offerings similar to what Walmart’s Hissho restaurant sells, but works with a different local brewery.
In addition, Hy-Vee and QFC recently opened sushi bars inside new stores, Wegmans now offers sushi to-go through its delivery app and Target tested a sustainable sushi line in 2018.