Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wawa Targets Fast Casual and Florida, Florida, Florida

Winn Dixie, Publix, and 7 Eleven Wawa’s CEO Chris Gheysens has a six point plan and Florida is top of mind with a Fast Casual take-out focus.  With over 617 current units and 48 planned for this year, half of them in Florida Wawa is positioning itself to go head to head in the ready-2-eat fresh prepared food niche.

Wawa understands that consumers today seek branded meal components.  Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is changing consumer’s choice patterns. Traditional views of meals and mealtime can pretty much be discarded. Wawa wants to be more than just fast food for immediate consumption. Wawa in order to do that  will have to expand food offerings and build additional day-part sales.

Her is Wawa’s plan for 2013 as explained by Gheysens to CS News:

1.       “Achieve the financial goals the company has set through its budgeting process.
2.       Open 48 new stores, more than in any other year. Approximately half of those will be in Florida.
3.       Enhance its offer in terms of the "fast casual to go" market. One key element is rolling out in-store baking for Wawa's famous hoagie offer – a whole new oven platform that the retailer can build upon and innovate from in the future.
4.       Optimize its Florida investment. Wawa has 17 stores open today and will have 31 open in the Sunshine State by the end of the year. "We will begin to transition the mindset from start-up to mainstream," he noted.
5.       Look at mobile applications, loyalty-type programs and engaging customers with store-level "Voice of the Customer" surveys.
6.       Focus on enterprise productivity. "We are focused on growth, but at the same time, we have to be focused on being more efficient; being more productive so we can reinvest those dollars back”

Clearly consumer touch points continue to be a focus for Wawa.  During the past several years Wawa has reduced menu offerings and fresh prepared side orders from our perspective.  To garner a competitive footprint in Florida Wawa will have to expand fresh food offerings by day-part reducing some CPG products for fresh.

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