C-stores are a foodservice force
Back in late 2013, the Hartman Group advised on how convenience stores could overtake restaurants in popularity as food destinations with a formula of easy, quick and accessible meals.
Hartman began with the need for convenience stores to overcome the perception that restaurant food was tastier, primarily because of its freshness. Convenience stores were advised to focus on delivering fresh, healthy food, ready for immediate consumption, quickly prepared (and customized) in front of customers — primarily young men and solitary diners. The firm also suggested convenience stores upgrade their décor to help make the customer experience more enjoyable.
Early last year, Technomic published research showing c-stores were upping their foodservice games. Darren Tristano, EVP, pointed to stores replacing hot dogs and pizza with "significantly improved quality and taste, a more customized, higher-quality, and broader menu selection along with healthy food."
Wawa, Sheetz, Quick Trip, Stripes, and Kwik Trip earned high marks across all of Technomic’s categories. Large and small, convenience stores were proving a convenient alternative to both fast food and quick service restaurant competition.
According to a late December The Wall Street Journal article, NPD Group found convenience stores had made many of the changes recommended by Hartman and were becoming a bigger force in the foodservice market. The number of meals served at convenience stores in the 12 months ended August 2014 grew 3.1 percent year-over-year, compared with a 0.4 percent decline at fast food and casual dining restaurants, according to NPD.
- Supermarkets, Convenience Stores Now Woo Diners, Too – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Understanding changing consumer dynamics will be key to restaurant industry growth in 2015 – The NPD Group
- How convenience stores could eat quick service restaurants’ lunch – Hartman Group
- C-Stores Eating Your Lunch – QSR
Are c-stores primed for more foodservice market share growth in the years ahead? What factors do you see driving or slowing the channel’s momentum?