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How Convenience Stores Can Drive Revenue Meeting Demand for On-the-go Meals

October 13, 2020
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Convenience stores are in a unique position to offer an even greater level of convenience in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns. Thanks to extended store hours and a small store footprint, C-stores make it easy for customers to get in and get out with limited exposure to other shoppers. 

Not only this, C-stores can sell food and on-the-go meals quickly in direct competition with restaurants and grocery stores, which suffer low inventory and delays with online ordering. 

The best part is you don’t have to reinvent your food service to meet customers’ demands for ready-made meal solutions. Learn how a few simple changes in product bundling, product displays at the point of sale and marketing can give your C-store an opportunity to steal share of wallet from the grocery and fast-casual segments.

Offer Pre-Made Meal Kits, Convenience Store Style
To meet the needs of customers seeking a fast dinner solution, follow the example of some C-stores that are packaging hot dogs, buns, chips and soft drinks in ready-made meal kits. These kinds of on-the-go offerings are advantageous, as 36% of drivers fill up on gasoline during the evening rush, between 3 to 7 p.m. 

Selling ready-made meals creates new ways to draw customers in-store — an essential strategy for your C-store to increase profit margins through foodservice. Remember, how you present your food is just as important as what you sell. Experiment with different displays for your meal kits near the point of sale to draw attention from in-store visitors.

Take Advantage of On-the-Go-Snacking Trend
Due to COVID, C-store food service is under fire to meet new and ever-changing sanitation requirements. Many operators are leveraging automation to limit hot food handling by patrons and attendants. With so much change to self-serve food service, it is a relief that C-stores can rely on prepackaged snacks and grab ‘n go food as a constant source of demand from shoppers.

Leverage product displays and marketing to advertise easy snack pairings like chips and a drink or a candy bar and coffee. Position your grab ‘n go snacks like cheese sticks, fruit cups, yogurt and jerky near the register to attract impulse purchases.

Offer Grab ‘n Go Pantry Items
Many C-stores have turned to selling essential groceries for customers who want to avoid crowded grocery stores. One-stop shopping is a valued service in the wake of COVID, as customers seek minimal travel and touchpoints to purchase necessities. 

This is an incredible advantage for the convenience store. A customer can fill up gas, pick up a quick dinner meal kit and also purchase essential grocery and pantry items like milk, eggs, bread, butter, peanut butter, soup and tuna. 

Expand your grab ‘n go pantry items to steal share of wallet from grocery stores and save shoppers a trip!

Capitalize on Convenience By Offering Curbside
Finally, to maximize convenience for your shopper, consider curbside pickup options, delivery or opening a drive-through. Some C-stores, like Casey’s General Stores, have partnered with DoorDash to offer home delivery. QuickTrip launched an on-lot pickup service via mobile app orders, which includes its full kitchen menu, bottled drinks and more. Future-thinking C-stores have built drive-throughs to reach a new segment of customer and improve the shopping experience. 

How can your C-store broaden its efforts to improve convenience for on-the-go meals?

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