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C-store Foodservice Remains Strong

Hours-old hot dogs are making way for hot and cold made-to-order sandwiches, pizza, salads and more breakfast options. Many also are incorporating healthier options as well as accommodating vegetarian and vegan diets with plant-based offerings.

ad cstore iStock 472606004C-store retailers realize that, when done correctly, foodservice is a money maker with high profit margins.

Total foodservice sales, which include prepared food, commissary and dispensed beverages, grew a whopping 14.3% in 2022, according to the 2022 NACS State of the Industry survey from the association of convenience stores. Total foodservice netted revenue of $677,897 per store, or more than a quarter of in-store sales, according to NACS. All categories saw a year-over-year increase, but prepared food performed the best, producing an average of $538,531 per store.

Equipment technology has kept pace with c-store retailers’ needs, which include automation, small footprints and fast results.

For cooking, speed ovens, smaller combi units, induction cooktops and tabletop fryers have enabled operators in the convenience space to expand their menus more easily, while saving on labor and accommodating employees with limited cooking skills.

Display cases, hot holding and refrigeration also have kept pace with the convenience segment’s requirements, incorporating energy-efficient features and other technology suitable for c-stores.

With more c-stores looking to differentiate their offerings and become a meal destination, this market is expected to continue expanding and evolving in the years ahead.