Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Collision Course Wawa or Race Trac

Retail foodservice growth at times can be elusive, particularly when two companies that had not been direct competitors begin opening stores in new territory as direct competitors.  In the case of Wawa and Race Trac in Florida consumers will decide if they want to continue to roll, roll, roll away with a roller grill or refresh with fresh, fast, flavorful food offerings according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
The convenience store sector continues to garner customers from the restaurant sector increasing from the fast food companies the ilk of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King according to Johnson. 
Johnson continues saying “the convenient store sector ability to leverage grocerant niche mix and match meal component offerings will position the sector to outperform both the restaurant sector and grocery store sector for growth for at least the next four years or until either of those sectors evolves their business models to reflect a new retail environment.  That environment is the grocerant niche.  This has become a battle for a larger share of retail food dollars and larger share of stomach.
It’s a battle of retail food concepts that represent yesterday vs today and tomorrow. In the case of Race Trac and Wawa at this point Wawa has been leading the way with fresh, fast, flavorful food.  However Race Trac is moving forward fast while they still utilize a vestige of the past the ‘roller grill’ they are evolving fast with fresh food offerings as well. 
Consumers will decide the pace of change from vestiges of yesterday’s roller grill to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Johnson.  Many retailers rely heavily on consumer favorites from the roller grill that are hand held Ready-2-Eat food perceived as fresh garnering simple quick profit from reduce labor and food cost.  While others cultivate customer loyalty, frequency and incremental profit focused on fresh.
In the case of RaceTrac their customers are evolving albeit somewhat slower than 7-Eleven, Wawa, or Sheetz. In new insights from RaceTrac found that its “TracFanatics purchase a wide range of items during the early hours of the day — like hot dogs, energy drinks and bags of ice. The purchases were made between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.” 
In addition the insights found:
1.        RaceTrac customers are all about caffeinated drinks in the morning: 60 percent bought coffee, 26 percent bought fountain drinks and 14 percent bought energy drinks.
2.       Three in five people chose hot dogs over doughnuts in the morning,
3.       16,901 roller grill items were sold in the morning compared to 9,694 doughnuts.
4.       Customers purchased 30,360 pounds of ice daily between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. thus Mix & Match
5.       In one year, TracFanatics ate 588 miles of roller grill items.
6.       Last winter TracFanatics drank 1 million gallons of coffee.
Race Trac continues to evolve as it does and we have previously noted it will continue to garner incremental customers.  What is important to note is that seemingly the entire convenience store sector is evolving with more food, fresher food, while expanding mix and match meal component offerings creating a platform that continues to outperform others within retail foodservice.  Does your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow?
Are you growing incremental customer counts, top line sales, bottom line profits, while garnering positive word of mouth advertising?  That what change does.  Customers are dynamic your brand must be dynamic as well.  Do you need outside eyes for inside profits?  

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869

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