The c-store retail environment has been seemingly ever-changing over the past few years. A big question many convenience store owners may have is, what does the future of c-store retail really look like?
C-Store Sandwich Trends
Moving beyond snacks and sodas, sandwiches are one of the more recent trends emerging in c-stores across the country. Customers are wanting quality meal options that are satisfying and quick to pick-up and go. Creating a fresh menu filled with variety will please customers and ensure that they will pick your c-store time and time again for their sandwich needs.
Our Seven Favorite Trends
It seems that everyone is selling sandwiches from high-end restaurants to late-night diners, and now c-stores have decided to join in on the popular food item. If you are wanting to add sandwiches to your ready-to-eat foods then you should make sure that they are fresh, tasty, wholesome, and on trend. Here are some of the trends we have seen in c-stores:
Offering many different toppings, even if they seem non-traditional can lure in customers. Offering new additions such as dried fruit, lemon, mint, nuts, or yogurt bites will make your frequent sandwich shoppers excited to try new things.
Don't Forget the Veggies
Fresh and organic vegetables should not be overlooked. Offer not only what is in season, but provide new types of veggies that may not be typical for sandwiches. Pairing spinach with colorful peppers or artichokes will make all of the difference to your customers taste buds.
Sauces are King
Giving customers non-traditional condiments is also a huge plus. Flavors like thyme, curry, jams, apple butter, and Siracha will appeal to people with different flavor pallets.
All Around the World
When most people think of sandwiches they just think of the traditional bread, cheese, and meat. But offering items related to sandwiches like tacos, sushi, or salad will appeal to people from all over the world.
New Types of Meat and Cheese
Changing up your meats and cheese are also a rising trend. Cheeses like Brie that are not typically used for sandwiches are making an appearance with pairings like fig. Having new meats like prosciutto or even different flavors of chicken or steak can amp up your sandwich game.
A Variety of Protein
Different forms of protein can help cater to different health needs. Offering beans or tofu are great for vegans and vegetarians who still want the health benefits of protein in their quick meal.
At 'Yeast' Give Them Options
Breads should also vary from the traditional white or wheat. Having bread options like hearty oats or grains, Italian style, and gluten free are a must if you are wanting to please shoppers. Adding even more adventurous options like a pretzel, biscuit, or brioche bun can offer texture that customers are looking for.
The Sandwich Do's
Offer Customizable Options; buyers are wanting the ability to add or remove their favorite veggies and condiments. Having readily available mayo, mustard, and a variety of salad dressings will help them feel like they are really making the sandwich their own. Some c-stores are even adding ingredients like lettuce, tomato, pickles, and more separately. This is similar to a self-service service or "Subway" style, which gives shoppers complete control over their sandwiches.
Provide Warm and Cold Choices; sometimes people want the ability to have a warm sandwich such as a panini or grilled cheese when it is cold outside. This can also be said for cooler options like wraps during the warmer months.
Proper Packaging; you want to make sure that your sandwiches have quality packaging. Containers need to be sturdy and easily portable. It needs to be convenient for those who are walking or riding a bike. Keep in mind that many people will buy more than one sandwich, so having an option that is easy to carry with multiple items is also important.
Include Nutrition Information; many c-stores also have a special symbol on pre-made sandwiches that are under a certain calorie limit. This can help market to customers who are looking to watch their calorie intake.
Make it Mobile; mobile ordering is no longer a thing of the future. Many c-stores use this technology to help make their store as convenient as possible. Customers are able to order what they want on-the-go through an app or website and can pick it up without the wait.
Quality Includes Food Safety
When planning your sandwich take-over you need to make sure that you are taking the right steps to ensure that all of your food is prepared and displayed in a way that does not compromise the integrity or safety of the food item. If the sandwiches are cold then make sure they are in a cooler or cold area so that the meat, cheese, and veggies do not spoil. You should also be paying attention to the types of breads you are using since there are specific areas that are properly engineered for refrigeration. Some are not, so you should be aware of this when deciding which types of bread to offer. Being aware of these things will help keep your sandwiches high quality and delicious.
Overall, sandwiches are a great way to bring in customers. Shoppers buying want variety in every aspect, from breads to toppings. Make sure you are following proper food safety instructions and picking the right products that are best for display and refrigeration in your c-store. Offering sandwiches will bring in extra food sales and keep your customers coming in for more.