Thursday, February 1, 2018

U.S. Convenience Stores Growth Stifles Restaurants

Consumer trial of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food offerings at convenience stores continues to stifle restaurant sector brand managers looking to drive incremental customer counts according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Regular readers of this blog know that U.S. convenience store count increased to a record 154,958 stores as of December 31, 2017.
Chris Rapanick, director of business development at National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) stated "Our continued store growth suggests that the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s core offer of convenience continues to resonate with customers,”.. “Convenience stores are the destination of choice for the 160 million customers who frequent their community convenience store each day to refresh and refuel, whether it’s to grab a quick snack and a beverage, or a fresh-prepared meal.”
Consider this the convenience store count is significantly higher than other channels of trade, accounting for more than one third (34.4%) of the brick-and-mortar retail universe tracked by Nielsen in the United States. Except for the dollar store channel, all other major channels have fewer units at year-end 2017 than 2016: Jeanne Danubio, EVP retail for lead markets at Nielsen stated “Convenience stores saw solid growth in 2017 due to an increased focus on innovation, improved customer experience, assortment variation and healthy investments in food services,”
This has to be an ongoing concern for the restaurant sector “79.1% of convenience stores sell motor fuels, a decrease of 1.0% or 1,255 stores from 2016, with the single-store motor fuel segment dropping by 1,025 stores. The decline in the number of convenience stores selling fuel is reflective of retailers evolving their business models to focus more on the in-store, foodservice offer, as well as retailers embracing new store formats and establishing their brands in more urban, walk-up locations” and that my friends is from Nielsen.
In a nut shell C-stores have more units selling fresh food than ever before, more units driving visits frequency with fresh food than every before and more stores leveraging grocerant niche mix & match meal component bundling than ever before.  The C-store business model is evolving.  Does your business model look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

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