C-Stores Are Developing A Sharp Culinary Aptitude
Heading towards a convenience store for a gas refill? Then, why not tuck into a hearty lunch there? Convenience stores are quietly and confidently bringing a revolution in their food offerings. The entrenched notion that c-stores are at most good for roller hot dogs and the likes has received a deadly blow. By introducing a wide variety of wholesome, delicious, and superior quality edible items, corner shops are challenging the hegemony of established constituents of the food service domain. In the National Restaurant Association’s opinion, total sales in the US food service industry in 2013, approximately stood at $660 billion and c-stores have successfully managed to get a larger pie from that figure.
Numbers speak volumes, c-stores have buckled-up and marching forward
Convenience stores are going through a major identity transition; they no longer carry the image of scruffy gasoline stations dealing in harmful tobacco products and basic unhealthy snacks. Rather, they have repositioned themselves as hygienic and inviting food destinations. Customers are also patronizing this new initiative wholeheartedly. Recent studies by well-known authorities univocally point out the fact that shoppers have chucked the negative connotation associated with c-store food quality.
According to a report by Technomic, the size of the c-store food service is $10.9 billion. Exactly, 57% of shoppers have revealed that they have bought prepared food from c-stores. The report also says that 40% of customers are ready to frequent convenience stores on more occasions for prepared food, if quality and freshness get enhanced. More than 75% of customers agree that corner stores offer a convenient alternative for buying prepared food. Among different retail formats, c-stores have become the number one breakfast eating joints as per customers’ choice. In another study conducted by Convenience Store Decisions in collaboration with Study Hall Research, it has come to light that a little above 84% of customers would like to purchase fresh, prepared food from c-stores until quality is not compromised.
To win customers’ affections, c-stores are not sparing any option
From building innovative apps to making an exclusive line of pizzas, to launching own branded eateries, convenience stores are doing everything possible to make their presence felt as hot and happening food zones besides being regular fuel selling locations.
Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has built a smart app christened The Fast to Go for its Bentonville-based Wal-Mart to Go c-store. The main advantage of the app is that customers don’t have to wait at the queue for ordering foods at the Bentonville Butcher & Deli counter housed in the store. With the app, they can simply give a prior order and pick-up the stuff from in-store at a pre-arranged time.
Altoona-headquartered c-store chain Sheetz is trying to project itself as a restaurant for enjoying mouth-watering meals and beverages through its unique promotional campaigns. The company has planned to integrate all of its new outlets with special dining enclaves. It is going heavy on technology and has started using touch screens for ordering.
Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppers, a chain with its root in Canastota, New York, boasts of restaurant-like food at every store under its helm. Some stores have its own branded café named Easy Street Eatery. The food service department of the chain is patterned on the structure of big QSRs.
Many more players like Wawa, Pump-N-Pantry, Quick Trip, or 7-Eleven have joined this gastronomical war to prove c-stores are capable of serving a scrumptious bill of fare.
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