If there were such a thing as a "C-store Foodservice Endangered Species" list, you might see the roller dog and the slushie right up there at the top. It wasn't so long ago that those two items pretty much defined the state of foodservice in convenience stores. But recently, there has been a radical shift. Many c-stores now provide more than just a gasoline fill-up; they've now become a destination for fresh, creative food and drink.
According to NACS, The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, the average per-store sales of prepared food in convenience stores was $393,515 in 2016. A recent study done by the same group found that 62 percent of c-store operators were optimistic about their opportunities to grow food sales.
Some of the most forward-thinking c-stores have adopted the strategies that many fast casual and quick-service restaurants use to cater to the Millennial generation. The Altoona-Pa. based 500-store Sheetz chain, for example, offers online ordering and boasts of food made to order "24/7/365." Chai and energy-infused drinks are on the Sheetz beverage menu. The QuikTrip chain, with more than 700 stores primarily in the South and Midwest, offers four different flatbread sandwiches, and breakfast bowls with a veggie option.
This increased emphasis on fast, fresh and flavorful foods means c-stores must have the right equipment for preparation and service. The stories on the following pages show some equipment ideas to help c-stores better serve customers and maximize this profit opportunity.