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Can You Have Fast-casual and a Fresh Food Experience in One?
Can You Have Fast-casual and a Fresh Food Experience in One?
Feb 18, 2021
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The all-in-one convenience of shopping for fuel and food in one location makes C-stores a strong competitor to quick-service restaurants. 

But as more people choose C-stores as their one-stop-shop, there will be more eyes and expectations on your store’s ability to meet the demand for fast-casual or fresh-casual dining options. 

This post will explore if your C-store can offer both a fresh-food and fast-casual experience under one roof. 

First, let’s start by differentiating fresh-casual and fast-casual dining.

Fresh-casual eateries are known for sourcing fresh and sometimes organic ingredients. The menu is crafted with chef-driven food options. There is also greater investment in design and decor.

Fast-casual dining, on the other hand, is based on the quick-service model. A guest’s experience starts and ends at the point of sale counter for ordering and pick-up. Fast-casual eateries have more generic displays that are promotional in nature. 

Millennials are drivers of the fresh-casual experience. Data shows this generation desires fresh ingredients, customizable menus, and an aesthetically pleasing eating environment. It also helps that millennials statistically eat out at least once per week compared to their older counterparts.

So, how can you make the two work for you? You can start by finding common ground. 

Fast-casual eateries advertise a higher food quality than fast-food restaurants and typically use fewer frozen or processed ingredients. 

Since fresh-casual dining requires high-quality ingredients, you should consider speed-scratch cooking. Speed-scratch cooking is a time-saving technique for kitchens. It uses ready-made products with fresh ingredients to create tasty and healthy dishes.

An example of a speed-scratch menu item would be a pear, chicken, and gorgonzola cheese salad made with organic or locally-sourced greens, canned pears with no artificial preservatives, and frozen or pre-cut chicken, topped with gorgonzola cheese.

Another example could be speed-scratch tacos. Serve all-natural beef in a premade crispy taco shell topped with pre-cut diced tomatoes, onions, and shredded cheese. 

Remember, fresh can take many forms. You can sell whole pieces of fruit near your point of sale, or fresh fruit cups, salads, and sandwiches in a to-go cooler. 

The future of C-store foodservice is grounded in fresh ingredients. The more you can lean into this demand from consumers, the better it will be for your fast- or fresh-casual eatery. 

Lastly, invest in decor. If you can’t offer in-house seating, consider the aesthetic of your feed service area to create a fresh look for where your patrons will order food.

Ovention Ovens Make It Easy
Matchbox® 1718/1313
Matchbox® 1718/1313

Cook a full menu of delicious offerings without an oven hood. The Ovention Matchbox 1718/1313 takes the traditional conveyor oven to a whole new level.

Conveyor 2600/2000/1400
Conveyor 2600/2000/1400

Simple, smart and the right fit for operators looking for a high-throughput conveyor oven. The Ovention Conveyor Oven is the most technologically elegant and operator-friendly conveyor on the market today.

Shuttle® 2000/1600/1200
Shuttle® 2000/1600/1200

If you value precision and volume, Ovention has the perfect oven to fit your operation. The Shuttle sets the new standard for conveyor ovens everywhere. No other oven can operate as both a conveyor and a closed-cavity oven.

Matchbox® M360 14/12
Matchbox® M360 14/12

Cook a full menu better, faster, and easier. The Ovention Matchbox M360 has Precision Impingement® technology, a unique cooking carousel, and a small footprint, making it the perfect fit for any operation.

Finishing F1400
Finishing F1400

Finish your plates with ease and precision with this robust IR finishing conveyor. Melt, sear, toast, and finish to perfection with this operator-friendly, quiet conveyor.

MiLO® Double/Single
MiLO® Double/Single

Revolutionary infusion of Decoupled Air and Infrared (IR) technologies. Independently controlled top and bottom cavities, each with its own interior light and control panel.

MiSA®‑a12
MiSA®‑a12

Introducing MiSA; Microwave Speed Assist. Higher quality, higher speed, smaller footprint.

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Cooked with Conveyor 2600/2000

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