Tuesday, January 31, 2023

C-Store Consumers want Fresh Food Fast Priced Right


Convenience store operators want to garner a larger share of stomach and they continue to target fast food restaurant customers looing for something new, fresh, fast, that cost less.  Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® stated, the constant fluctuating price of gasoline is not attractive to consumers nor does it drive convenience store brand loyalty.”

Grocerant nice Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food service as an entity with identity as a branded meal solution fresh and fast will drive customer brand loyalty while providing the platform for consistency that consumers are looking for according to Johnson.  

The stock market is up one day down the next and the news does not change much. So, as the country wrestles with a sinking economy and surging inflation, costs are going up, and that is starting to present concerns for convenience stores. Let’s look and see what some C-store professionals have to say about 2023.  M. David May, director of food services for Kwik Stop in Nebraska, reminded us this month that the industry’s most prosperous category, while a vital part of consumers’ daily lives, is still very much tied to the economy.

“The price of fuel has a tremendous impact on our foot traffic in the stores,” May said. “Customers weren’t coming in as much or buying as much when gas was approaching $5 per gallon, but now that gas prices are retreating, we’re seeing our store sales go up.”

To attract cost-conscious consumers, May, always tries to have some type of meal deal combining chicken and a small side for a value price of between $5 and $8. This bundling has proven effective. 

Retailers are going to have to be innovative and be quick on their feet to maintain their foodservice business as customer discretionary spending dwindles. The key to maintaining sales is remembering to excel at the basics. Customers are busy, hungry and increasingly price sensitive. Retailers must focus on meeting customers’ demands on their schedule with healthy options, affordable prices and outstanding service. I realize this is no secret, but in tough times like this, growth isn’t always the best course. Basic blocking and tackling to maintaining existing sales are an effective solution. 

Among the convenience store industry’s greatest competitive advantages over the past two decades has been its ability to provide fresh fast service, fresh food discovery, and meet or exceed customers’ immediate demands, so much so that it’s become instinctive to top-quartile chains. 

Looking a customer ahead, the foodservice space sees increasing impacts and competition from online. Third-party delivery services have created unprecedented options for foodservice, and not just for the food itself, but on price. Customers simply have more options and many different price points to choose from. These are some difficult waters to navigate. 

All of this means if you are not tracking the trends and your customers’ other options, you will fall behind. Convenience store retailers must do everything possible to entice customers to try new products with full flavors, edifying food discovery, and return for more, without negatively impacting why the stores exist: to provide convenience.

Whatever level of food you feel comfortable delivering — the simplest or the most complicated —  you must focus on freshness, quality, and value. But the ultimate piece is consistency. You have to be able to deliver great food consistently.

What’s more, these don’t necessarily need to be elegant upscale menu items. It’s whatever you feel you can do great. If you are comfortable selling sandwiches, sell the best sandwiches you can. If it’s fried chicken, have the best fried chicken in the market. It is a rigorous endeavor, but this is where market leaders excel.

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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Larger Share of Stomach

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