Convenience store foodservice has been a big trend so far this year. From boosting overall in-store sales to bringing in more customers, foodservice has brought many benefits to store owners. While foodservice is a great, high-margin addition to business it can also be competitive. Here are 4 ways to get customers to choose your store for their breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late-night snack needs…
Make Fresh a Priority Without a Challenge
Fresh foods are one of the fastest growing trends in retail and grocery. As supermarkets have adapted to consumers’ evolving eating habits by offering more organic and healthier products, convenience stores have also started to make the change. Aside from healthier foods, they want fresh food, food that is prepared just before they purchase it. Selling fresher and more nutritional foods may seem like a challenge at first, but it is a small change that could have payback.
Cold Prepackaged Foods
The perception of convenience stores have changed, customers are walking past the frozen meals and heading towards the salads and yogurts. Especially millennials, who are likely to buy their fresh foods from any type of grocery chain, which is great news for c-stores. Large chain grocery stores are fewer and the competition from more convenient options like delivery or online orders is slowing their business growth. This is a great opportunity for c-stores to come in and offer fresh foods and produce in a setting that is easier to get in and out of.
For breakfast, prepackaged fruits and yogurt parfaits are easy items to carry. When people are late to work and need to grab something quick, but still something that has health benefits, yogurts offer great protein and are low calorie.
Lunch is not typically a rush hour for c-stores, adding a hot food service may not see as much success as a cold food service would, especially in a small store. Customers can grab the lunch in the morning along with their breakfast and refrigerate it for later. Options such as fresh prepackaged sandwiches, salads, or small veggie plates are great products to consider selling.
Products such as fresh fruits and vegetables are a great additional item to carry. Especially for c-stores who have a large SNAP user base. Offering produce at your store is a great way to attract more EBT customers. Studies show that SNAP users buy bread, meat, and milk the most but still are in need of fresh produce. One way to find out what other groceries your store should carry is by asking your customers, see what kind of fresh produce they are looking for. You want to offer the groceries that would be beneficial for your customers. Offering deals such as “2 for $1” is a sure way customers will pick you over the large grocery stores who may charge more for their freshest products.
Not only is offering fresh produce a great way to attract SNAP users, but also health conscious consumers. Aside from offering prepacked fruits or vegetables, having fruit baskets near the register are a great selling point. Try selling different types of bread products that may be healthier and more organic. Almond and soy milk have also seen an increase in sales because of the health benefits they offer over regular or organic milk.
Hot foods don't just have to be fried food or nachos, consider other foods you can make throughout the day. The food doesn't necessarily need to be full of nutrition, just made fresh daily and not processed. Hot breakfast foods are an easy item to consider adding to your store. Mornings are typically the busiest time for convenience stores and are a great time to test a new food service.
Customers are usually coming in for their morning coffee or something, you can start small and continue to build your hot food service from here.You can offer inexpensive fresh breakfast egg sandwiches or bacon and sausage biscuits as a start. Offering an oatmeal service is another healthier alternative option to add.
You do not have to change your options to healthy products all at once. Snacks, candy and soda still dominate in the c-store, but looking to add healthier options are another way to compete with corporate chain c-stores.