The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) provided a detailed feature on the convenience store industry’s burgeoning foodservice programs. Citing NACS figures that show foodservice sales comprised 16.9% of $195 billion of in-store sales at convenience stores in 2011, The Gazette said, “Don’t think of them as gas stations. Instead, think of them as the place for pizza, doughnuts, and maybe even some banana bread.”
“Food is the future of our industry,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of industry advocacy. “Our stores will become food stores that happen to sell gas rather than gas stations that happen to sell food, as they are perceived today. It will be a slow evolution, but it is happening for two important reasons.
“From the retail perspective, the product is there, the distribution is there, the competency is there, the revenue is there and, from the consumer side, the demand is there. People want fresh food on the go and they want food that has value,” he said.
According to market research firm Technomic in its 2011 “Consumer C-Store Brand Metrics Shopper Insights Report,” a significant number of QSR customers view convenience stores in the same category as fast-food eateries, with 82% saying they purchase prepared foods or beverages from convenience stores once a month. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)