Once straddled with a troubled brand identity, high prices, and no fresh food, C-stores today are garnering customers to their units focusing on fresh ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat prepared food. Restaurants and grocery stores are looking around and finding their customers eating, a hoagie from Wawa, Made to Order fresh food from Sheetz and pizza delivered by Casey’s General Store.
If you continue to Harkin back you can remember when the emphasis was on selling gasoline, beer, and packs of cigarettes at convenience stores. With consumer focus changing C-stores have changed as well. Today Wawa describes itself as selling FAST CASUAL FOOD TO-GO and Sheetz describes itself as a restaurant and won an prestigious award while being honored at Nation’s Restaurant News MUFSO event in 2012.
While most restaurants still don’t consider Convenience stores a threat. That should know that by leveraging social media and in-store promotions, the ilk of chain restaurants consumers are migrating driving top line sales and bottom line profits within the C-store sector. Grocery stores are beginning to feel the pinch as well. Many grocery store chains are now starting branded convenience stores themselves. Consumers like the smaller footprint and fast service combined placing value on the greater mix and match meal bundling options available at c-stores.
Focusing on fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food the convenience store sector is evolving with the consumer faster than any other retail food sector today. In fact 50 % of 7 Elevens new units do not offer gasoline at all. All of 7 Elevens new units are offering expanded fresh food offerings. Did you know 7 Eleven has over 50,564 units around the world? How many do you have?
C-stores are promoting “fresh” food with POP in windows, at the pump, on the radio and TV. Many offer free products samples and some offer free product days. C-stores abandoned products and financial models of the past focusing on the consumer of today and tomorrow. Evolving with the consumer is paying dividends for convenience store garnering market share in the fresh food space from restaurants, grocery stores.
Focusing on consumers today C-stores are embracing the hallmarks of the grocerant niche from more flavorful food to creating a platform for convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.
Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more or Steven Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant