Grab-n-go meals are nothing new. Their popularity, however, is at an all-time high. Hectic schedules, working from home, and an ever-running to-do list drive the purchase of foods that are quick and easy to access. Convenience is king — and convenience stores are perfectly designed and equipped to satisfy the hurried food needs of busy consumers.
The evolution of what consumers want
There’s a modernization and evolution of the grab-n-go foods customers desire. The typical vending machine-style sandwiches and hot dogs simply don’t cut it anymore. And while people still want comfort foods, there’s an increased demand for high-quality, healthy and plant-based meals. According to a GasBuddy survey, 56% of Americans stop at least once a month to grab meals from c-stores (with millennials purchasing food from c-stores up to five times a month). And the momentum shows no signs of slowing.
Consumers want choices; providing a variety of individual grab-n-go items that can be eaten as a quick snack, side, or combined with other foods to make a complete meal is a helpful way to increase customer interest and drive sales. Clever ideas and savvy marketing can quickly expand your c-store’s revenue. Here are some inspiring ideas to add to your grab-n-go menu.
Grab-n-go ideas for quick snacks
Healthy snacking can be a challenge, especially on the run. Providing plenty of great options will help build customer loyalty. Return customers want to know they can get what they want, when they want it. And when you come through again and again on tasty, healthy and convenient foods, they’ll keep coming through your doors. Some snacky items in demand are plant-based or low-sodium jerky, hummus and veggies, cheese slices or spreads, trail mix, fruit parfaits, roasted chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, kale chips, coconut chips, specialty popcorn, assorted olive packs, pre-cut fruit, and healthy granola and protein bars.
Grab-n-go ideas for quick sides (or mini-meals)
Sides can serve as a small meal or as a complement to lunch or dinner. Offering a few daily staples and other options on a rotating schedule provides both consistency and variety for customers. Some tasty options include bean or lentil salads, cold pastas, potato salads, broccoli slaw, roasted vegetables, quinoa salads, baked potatoes, dolmas, tabouli, chips, and salsa, guacamole and roasted plantains, cucumber or green salads, and soup.
Grab-n-go ideas for quick school lunches
Kiddos need balanced meals to stay healthy and keep their brains going. Packing lunches can take its toll, and finding a quick solution can be a great assist to already busy parents. Combining a grain, fruit, veggie, protein, and dairy item will give growing bodies the requirements they need to get through a long school day. Provide items like berries, cut fruit, veggies and dip, hummus, trail mix, cottage cheese, yogurt, sliced or string cheese, quinoa, rice, nuts, crackers, pita chips, olives, celery and nut butter, turkey sticks, flatbread, or whole-grain sandwiches and deli wraps.
Grab-n-go ideas for dinner prep
After a full workday, it can be hard to muster up the energy to make a meal, especially one from scratch. Grab-n-go options can be a big help to customers. Packaging up single options that customers can easily combine to create a full meal can make dinner more convenient and limit waste. Green salads with a side of protein (chicken, ham, cheese or tofu), rotisserie or baked chicken (can be offered cold and heated at home too), egg rolls, poke bowls, rice bowls, quinoa bowls, stir fry, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, panini and flatbread sandwiches. And, of course, to-go desserts for the occasional sweet tooth.
Smart moves to increase revenue
There are many meal ideas out there that will drive customer loyalty. Take the time to build out your grab-n-go options so your c-store is a destination known for incredible, quick and tasty snacks, sides and meals. With more people tapping into convenience stores for quality food, doing this well is a smart move that will increase revenue. Interested in learning more about what’s in store for the future of c-stores? Find out where c-stores are headed in our recent blog post, The Convenience Store’s Future is Bright.
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