Saturday, December 2, 2023

Yes, Today Restaurant Customers are Eating Lunch at Convenience Stores


Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson as the 325,000 regular readers of this blog know has repeatedly spoken at leading industry events, posted on this blog, and has been interview about restaurant customer migration to both the grocery sector and convenience store sector since 1991. 

Do you remember that data from The NPD Group found that “Convenience stores are making inroads with consumers and stealing quick-service visits”. Now that is nothing new to our readers.  In fact we consider it the highest form of professional flattery and a complement.  Thank you for joining the choir NPD you do great work welcome to the grocerant niche.

Food research industry icon and NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs back in the day clearly stated “QSRs really have to pay attention to C-stores,….They’re  are making inroads and stealing visits from QSR.” Here are some facts the  NPD report that might just ring a bell with you today:


1.       C-stores’ share of quick-service visits rose to 10 percent in the year ended August 2016, from 9.3 percent in 2011.

2.       Both Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2015) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) have increased visits to C-stores in the last five years. Millennials are now the heaviest users of C-stores, accounting for 32 percent of visits in the year ended August 2016, from 28 percent in 2011. Gen Z are the second-heaviest users, accounting for 23 percent of C-store visits, from just 7 percent in 2011.

3.       Gen X has cut back on visits, but is still also a big user of convenience stores, accounting for 25 percent of visits, down from 30 percent in 2011.

4.       “[C-stores] have broadened their appeal. Attracting all age groups, not totally dependent on blue-collar workers, on gasoline, smokes and Cokes. “They offer fresh food, variety, convenience.”

5.       Price is a key factor driving C-store visits,.. In the year ended August 2015, a visit to a convenience store cost $2 less than a visit to a traditional quick-service outlet. Other motivations driving growth are quality and variety of products.

6.       In the year ended August 2016, 15 percent of Gen Z visits and 19 percent of Millennial visits to C-stores were related to brand loyalty.

7.       During the same period, just 10 percent of Gen Z visits and 12 percent of Millennial visits to quick-service restaurants were related to brand loyalty.


Riggs went on to say that Convenience stores. “It’s something new, different.” Once again the Team at Foodservice Solutions® agrees.  What our team identified, quantified, and qualified was that the key driver of the ‘differentiation’ is the ability to Mix and Match food products per trip and price.


Success does leave clues and bundling meal components, and the role of price in Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing are clues no retailer should over look.  For product placement, positioning, or customer relevant messaging ideation, contact:

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