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C Stores Think

Convenience Store Equipment to Help Drive Breakfast Sales

June 5, 2019
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Breakfast has long been considered an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The problem is, it’s not always a convenient part. With millions of people skipping breakfast each day, there is a tremendous opportunity for foodservice establishments — particularly convenience stores — to bridge the gap between breakfast and convenience.

And, with more and more convenience stores prioritizing grab-n-go breakfast options, store operators must reconsider the equipment they need to remain competitive and drive revenue. Here are few must-haves for c-stores looking to succeed in the breakfast arena!

Coffee
Let’s face it, most people aren’t skipping their morning dose of caffeine. However, they are picky about where they get it. Consumers want the best of both worlds — an affordable cup of joe that’s quick, delicious and (you guessed it) convenient. And, with coffee drinks, specifically espresso, being the fastest growing beverage in convenience stores, there’s opportunity for the taking.

But, to compete with java giants like Starbucks, convenience stores can’t rely on just any run-of-the-mill coffee equipment. Stores serious about the coffee business need to invest in commercial-grade bean grinders, coffee brewers, espresso and cappuccino makers, and high-volume dispensers. To figure out exact equipment needs, operators should estimate intake volumes of each beverage type for a given day. With this information, equipment vendors can guide buyers toward the best options to support store demand.

Show-and-sell
For convenience store retailers, merchandising is the number one driver behind impulse buys. Most customers don’t drop by their nearest convenience store to peek around and window shop. More often than not, a c-store shopper has a particular need in mind, whether it’s a cold drink, lotto ticket or gas. To win the dollars and cents of potential breakfast buyers, store operators need to get their attention by appealing to their senses.

By leveraging merchandising equipment, stores can drive impulse breakfast buys that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. When deciding on food displays, stores should consider and prioritize equipment features that will help drive sales. With no shortage of bells and whistles, merchandisers have options for everything from custom signage to LED lighting, self-service capabilities, zoned heating, and more. Just remember, it’s not only about the quick sale. To win repeat business and get regulars talking, a store’s grab-n-go breakfast offering actually needs to taste good. So, aside from show-and-sell features, c-store operators should look for merchandisers that keep food fresh, and at optimal serving temperatures.

Healthy
It used to be that a stop at a convenience store meant consumers were coming out with a giant fountain soda, a few bags of chips and a questionable egg salad sandwich. However, as health and wellness trends pick up speed, convenience stores are filling the void of healthy grab-n-go breakfast delights. From fresh fruit to hard boiled eggs, veggie omelets, oatmeal bowls, smoothies, and low sugar and whole grain options, breakfast at the nearest c-store isn’t what it used to be.

Convenience store operators looking to capitalize on this healthy-eating trend need to think through their foodservice equipment needs carefully. Self-service equipment like toaster conveyors, buffet warmers and cold shelves help “always-on” convenience stores keep healthy, fresh breakfast foods at the right temperature and quality. But, it’s not only about the equipment. Stores also need their staff to keep self-service areas stocked and clean.

Versatile
While breakfast isn’t going anywhere, there are a lot of food trends that come and go. And, although c-stores shouldn’t chase every menu trend, they do need to meet consumer demands. By offering a variety of trendy foods along with the c-store staples, operators can remain relevant and reduce the risk in testing new revenue strategies, such as a push for breakfast.

However, to succeed at this approach, convenience stores also need to embrace a smart foodservice equipment strategy. By investing in versatile, dual-purpose equipment, operators can use one piece of equipment to accommodate a variety of menu items. Plus, they’ll save precious square footage, leaving more room for merchandising and product!

Convenience that’s second to none
When it comes to breakfast, convenience is the name of the game. By supporting operations with the right equipment, c-store operators can do more with less and improve their top and bottom line.

In the market for a new oven? Ovention can help! Check out the Shuttle® 2000. This versatile c-store favorite combines the throughput benefits of a conveyor oven, with the high-quality output of a closed cavity oven. With over 1,000 unique cook settings and ventless operation, this beauty can accommodate a variety of menu options without taking up unnecessary space. Talk about convenience!