Building on their inherent strength in convenience, efficiency and 24/7 availability, convenience stores are rolling out their own, branded foodservice programs that return higher margins while also improving food quality and healthfulness, according to "Convenience Store Foodservice Trends in the U.S.," by market research publisher Packaged Facts. In the process, convenience stores are going head-to-head with established restaurant players, seeking to take a slice out of the limited-service restaurant pie while also keeping in mind their customers' broader on-the-go purchasing needs.
"By enhancing foodservice quality and variety, we believe convenience stores are poised to benefit from increased sales of gasoline and other merchandise, as consumers seek to consolidate their purchases in the interest of efficiency," says David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts. "Because it is so well positioned, we anticipate that convenience store industry foodservice sales growth will outperform the retail and restaurant foodservice industry average through 2013."
Several factors are driving convenience store companies' efforts to aggressively build sophisticated foodservice platforms designed to go head-to-head with established restaurant players, including protecting against gasoline sales volatility; deepening customer relationships; and protecting and leveraging a store's coffee/beverage turf. Moreover, c‑store operators recognize their foodservice shortcomings–fewer healthy choices and a perceived quality gap between their offerings and those of traditional restaurant competitors–and they're working to overcome these obstacles.
Packaged Facts projects that convenience store foodservice sales grew 6% in 2010, and will rise an additional 6% in 2011 and 5% in 2012.[Source: "Convenience Store Foodservice Trends in the U.S." Packaged Facts. 31 Aug. 2011. Web. 7 Sept. 2011.]