When the universe closes a door, it opens a window. In this case, the door is the Walmart snack bar, and it was slammed shut by McDonald’s, which began pulling its low-performing quick-service kiosks out of the mega-retailer last summer. The window is one of opportunity, and Wendy’s has taken a dive right through it: the fast food chain has begun sliding into Walmart stores to fill the chicken-nugget-shaped hole in hungry shoppers’ hearts.
Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Wendy’s has unveiled its new Wendy’s Hamburger Stand concept in its home state of Ohio; lucky shoppers at Walmart’s Heath location can now unwind after an exhausting checkout experience with a burger, fries, and a Frosty, and later this year, another as-yet-unnamed Ohio Walmart location will be similarly blessed with something called the “Snack Shop” concept. What makes these non-traditional Wendy’s a blessing? They have menu items you can’t get anywhere else: Wendy’s Hamburger Stand is the only location in America to carry the elusive Strawberry Frosty, and it’s serving up a brand-spanking-new chicken nugget.
“If you want to find a Strawberry Frosty,” Todd Penegor, Wendy’s CEO and president, told Nation’s Restaurant News, “you can only find it today in the Hamburger Stand restaurant. And we’ve got this unbelievably great Jalapeno Popper Chicken Nugget in that restaurant that isn’t in our freestanding restaurant.”
Penegor says that compared to regular Wendy’s restaurants, the Wendy’s Hamburger Stand features an abridged menu and will not be serving salads or baked potatoes. But who can eat a baked potato when they’re overcome with the excitement of seeing a Jalapeno Popper Chicken Nugget for the very first time?
We found Wendy’s Jalapeno Popper Chicken Sandwich to be a bit of a disappointment, but maybe the chain has learned from its past mistakes and found a way to perfect the flavor fever dream in nugget form? Even if the nuggets don’t live up to their full potential, can you imagine what they might taste like if you dip them in a Strawberry Frosty?! For the first time in my life, I am insanely jealous of people who live in Heath, Ohio. And if Wendy’s Hamburger Stand keeps innovating like this, it won’t be the last.