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Camille's Cuts Deal With Wal-Mart

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Wal-Mart will add Camille's restaurants in its new Supercenters across the nation. Wal-Mart will add Camille's restaurants in its new Supercenters across the nation.
Camille's founder was flattered to discover that Wal-Mart was approaching him as one component in the retailing giant's new strategy. Camille's founder was flattered to discover that Wal-Mart was approaching him as one component in the retailing giant's new strategy.
Camille's Sidewalk Cafe has always been one of Tulsa's entrepreneurial success stories.  Now they're teaming up with the world's biggest retailer. Camille's Sidewalk Cafe has always been one of Tulsa's entrepreneurial success stories. Now they're teaming up with the world's biggest retailer.

Camille's Sidewalk Cafe has always been one of Tulsa's entrepreneurial success stories.  Now they're teaming up with the world's biggest retailer.  Wal-Mart will add Camille's restaurants in its new Supercenters across the nation.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports Camille's wasn't hurting for business with more than 1,000 franchises sold and counting, but David Rutkauskus says this will build the brand even further.

Camille's founder was flattered to discover that Wal-Mart was approaching him as one component in the retailing giant's new strategy.

"We know that they're re-imaging themselves as a more upscale brand and really getting away from the typical fast-food operation that's been in the Wal-Mart Supercenters for a number of years," said Rutkauskus.

Industry watchers say Wal-Mart wants to compete better with Target, which attracts higher-income customers with a blend of affordable and upscale, a delicate balancing act that Camille's has perfected in the fast-casual food category.

"So they found us, and it seems like it's going to be a perfect fit," said Rutkauskus.

The deal is only for Camille's in new Wal-Mart construction, but that still means somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 new restaurants in the next few years and Rutkauskus says all the Wal-Mart foot traffic is a huge brand builder.

"When you partner up with the world's largest and most famous retailer, and you get to put your brand in their brand and reach all the millions and millions of customers that they get," said Rutkauskus.  "That's a powerful thing."

And he says he still just getting started.

"It's pretty limitless.  As long as we're not infringing on a franchisees territory or putting stores too close to each other, I envision thousands and thousands of Camille's," said Rutkauskus.

Camille's is opening restaurants at a rate of one every ten days.  It's also closing in on the $100 million mark in yearly revenue.

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