Can You Eat Food In Walmart – What’s Allowed?

Sometimes shopping trips can be long, and you get a little hungry. You need a snack to get your shopping done! Therefore you start to wonder, can you eat food in Walmart?

Yes, you can eat food in Walmart. Eating inside Walmart is legal and allowed, although there may be a few limitations to what you are able to eat and drink. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid opening food in the store without first paying for it.

Eating in retail stores like Walmart is perfectly normal behavior. They also have restaurants within the store and designated eating areas to keep things simple. Although, you can definitely walk through the store with your food if you have to. Keep reading to learn more! 

What Fast Food Restaurants Are In Walmart

If you want to eat in Walmart, but a bag of chips doesn’t sound appetizing, you do have other options for a larger meal.

Most Walmart stores have fast food restaurants inside where you can eat. Some restaurants will be regional to where the Walmart is, but you can expect to find these food places inside:

  • McDonald’s
  • Subway
  • Auntie Anne’s or another soft pretzel restaurant 
  • Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs
  • Saladworks
  • Domino’s 
  • Taco Bell

You won’t be able to sit and eat at every restaurant that you might find in Walmart stores across the United States, but I have seen restaurants like Subway and McDonald’s with plenty of seating.

Along with seating are utensils like forks, knives, napkins and trash cans to dispose of your food items. It’s an easy way to enjoy a meal before or after your shopping trip and it saves you an errand on the way home.

Can You Eat Items Walmart Sells

If you aren’t hungry enough for a larger meal, you can eat items that Walmart sells – but you should do so within reason.

By this, I mean you are limited to foods that are easy to eat after they are opened.

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to eat a frozen dinner, ice cream, or drink from a milk jug. Foods and drinks like this will end up making a mess, which will upset the employees working in Walmart.

Anything you open in the store to eat should also be paid for before you leave. Walmart does have security, so there’s no point trying to bypass that step.

Giving the cashier an empty candy wrapper could feel strange, but failing to pay after eating your snack can be considered stealing.

I’ll be honest and say that you most likely will not be charged with anything serious after forgetting to pay for your candy bar. That sort of thing happens all the time. But you do not want to make it a habit. Store employees will soon become suspicious of you if they catch you doing it more than once.

You might be forgetful, so if that is the case, run through the self-checkout to scan your candy or bag of chips before you start eating. That way you can eat without worrying!

Can You Bring Outside Food In Walmart

You can bring outside food into Walmart.

If you’ve ever been in a Walmart, you’ve seen mothers and teenagers with a cup of coffee from Starbucks or a Dunkin’ coffee cup. Sometimes you’ll see someone carrying a reusable water bottle or a half-finished bottle of Pepsi.

You won’t get stopped when you bring outside food into Walmart. 

There are, however, worries that can arise when people bring food or drink into Walmart. Suspicious persons may be stopped by Walmart employees or management with some of the following concerns:

  • Like an opaque water bottle, a container could contain alcohol, which you are usually not allowed to drink in public.
  • Containers may carry restricted substances.
  • People, children, and adults included could leave garbage in the store. If you’ve ever been out, you’ve undoubtedly seen someone else’s trash on a shelf. 

If you are just an average person looking to have a snack after a long day or a drink while it is hot, you don’t have to fear that Walmart management will stop you and take your food or drink.

6 Things To Remember When Eating In Walmart

We covered some of the rules of Walmart stores regarding bringing in food, but here are five things to remember if you’re eating in a Walmart.

This may seem like common sense, but it is always important to remember!

Be Courteous

This one is hard to express, but you should be courteous to your fellow shoppers.

Walmart stores are relatively loud overall with music and chatter from shoppers, so someone may be unable to hear you chew. 

People can still be stuck behind you while you feed your toddler, blocked from accessing a shelf if your cart is parked, or turned off by the odor of some foods.

Do Not Leave Your Trash In The Store

It can sometimes be tempting to leave an empty bottle or wrapper on the shelf when you cannot find a garbage can but do not leave your trash for someone else to pick up.

Situations like this lead stores to develop policies prohibiting outside food and drink.

Don’t Leave Garbage In Your Cart

As with the store, do not leave anything in your shopping cart when you finish shopping. This includes bottles, wrappers, bags, and even the circular flyer if you picked one up when you walked in.

Other customers need to use these carts, and store employees are not always the best at cleaning out the trash. After all, it isn’t their job to pick up after you!

Don’t Steal

We covered this earlier, but it bears repeating here: do not steal any of the food or drink that you want.

This includes eating a candy bar or drinking a bottle of soda without paying, but this can also go further.

Don’t rip open a box of cookies to take just one out. This means another shopper could purchase damaged goods. 

Don’t Bring Illicit Substances

This one should go without saying, but you should not test the limits of what you could bring into Walmart.

Stick to regular foods and drinks – don’t ruin the leniency for everyone else!

Eat In Designated Areas

Most Walmart stores have restaurants they partner with and have within the store. McDonald’s and Subway are just a few examples of that. Although those locations are small, they do have designated eating areas. This includes tables, chairs, and even space to stand and consume your food.

While these are designed for those patrons of the restaurant, you can also consume other food in those areas. This includes food you may have brought in from home, or something you just purchased in the checkout lane.

Eating in these areas keeps things simple, and there are plenty of places to dispose of your trash afterward.

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