It’s no secret, satisfied customers often become loyal guests. But, happy consumers equate to more than just frequent visits. Satisfaction also has an impact on other important areas of your c-store such as the amount shoppers are willing to spend on each basket or word-of-mouth advertising to friends, family, and coworkers. In short, there’s nothing more important to your operation’s success than providing an excellent experience for every person coming through your doors. So, what’s the best way to do this? Let’s discuss three top ways.
1. Improve quality and taste
The science of taste runs deep. In fact, some types of food trigger the pleasure center of the human brain. And many folks associate a meal with spending time with people, celebrations, and social gatherings. Food is much more than just something to eat, which means getting it right matters.
The foundation of tasty food begins with excellent quality, and that journey should start at the source. Be sure the items you receive from your suppliers are within your quality standards. Take the time to visually inspect and reject anything that doesn’t measure up. In addition to high food-sourcing standards, stick to the meals you know shoppers enjoy, but also experiment with new recipes. Try out limited-time offers, taste test your products, and ask for honest customer feedback. Just be sure to follow through where necessary and make appropriate changes to satisfy your guests.
Lastly, introduce smart and intuitive equipment into your c-store operation. Well-crafted equipment will do wonders for the quality, texture, and taste of your food. Look for equipment such as ovens with programmable presets that allow operators to input multiple cook settings into the unit. This will help you control the time, temperature, and blower speed of the oven for perfectly cooked menu items — every time.
2. Lower prices and increase value
Customers don’t just want great-tasting food at your c-store, they also want a deal. Tasty food and an excellent price equate to high value for most guests. One way to keep prices low is by looking at all of your sourcing options. Are there local vendors that charge less for fewer miles traveled? Or, can you order within a co-op of c-stores and boost your buying power to receive a better-contracted rate?
When it comes to costs, it’s also important to keep an eye on inventory. Limit food waste by rotating stock (first in, first out). Also, when food isn’t just right, it’s often sent back to the kitchen only to end up in the trash. Training employees on proper food handling and cooking practices will help reduce pricey food waste. In addition to keeping food costs down, reducing labor hours is also key. Remember the smart equipment referenced earlier? Automated features work to free staff to multitask and work on other areas of priority within your store.
3. Keep up with demand and make it fresh
Unfortunately, high-quality food can take a dive pretty quickly if it doesn’t stay fresh. Equipment with quick-cooking capabilities allows your operation to bump up batch production for peak dayparts instead of holding foods for longer periods of time.
Equipment featuring impingement cooking technology is an excellent example of a quick-cooking solution for busy foodservice operations. Specialized nozzles blast heat past the cold “halo” that typically lingers above food as it enters the oven and provide precise and quick-cooking that’s four times faster than traditional commercial ovens. Another practical and efficient solution is using food warmers to keep food at optimal serving temperatures while maintaining that “just cooked” texture and flavor. But, no matter the equipment you choose, be sure staff follow health protocol by time-stamping products and tossing any items that go past the acceptable holding times.
Put a smile on their face
It might go without saying, but keeping customers satisfied is the single most important thing your c-store foodservice operation can do. Interested in other ways to put a smile on your customers’ faces? Take a look at our post, “Clean and Convenient: The Secret to Winning C-Store Customers.”
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