From rows of ready-to-eat snack items to expanded menus with made-to-order meals, the foodservice offerings in c-stores continue to develop.
“Food-Forward C-store Design,” a study from Technomic and Chute Gerdeman, surveyed 1,000 consumers on the role of store layout and design elements in the success of convenience foodservice programs.
The study uncovered several key takeaways, including the following which were noted in a press release on the study:
- An updated, elevated store ambience is vital to foodservice sales as it sends a message about the commitment to foodservice and conveys cleanliness and quality.
- Ease of navigation is prioritized, and clearly delineated foodservice preparation, display and dining areas heighten the appeal of the offering.
- Consumers value foodservice quality and freshness cues in convenience stores. Whether at made-to-order stations, in grab-and-go cases or on hot/cold food bars, consumers want to see the prepared foods offered and appreciate other visual elements that supporting the quality and freshness of the offerings.
With kitchens garnering greater consideration as a part of the convenience store’s design and its contribution to the store’s overall quality, the equipment used in these operations becomes even more important.
Ted Asprooth, new business development manager for Antunes’ convenience store segment and a 30-year veteran of the industry, had the following insights on c-store kitchen design and chains’ emphasis on foodservice.
“For the most part, convenience store kitchens have just started changing in the last five to seven years. More c-stores are realizing that you have to be in the fresh business if you want to compete — especially if they’re looking to take business from QSRs.”
The right equipment enables c-store foodservice facilities to demonstrate cooking to order capabilities, emphasize fresh food and beverage offerings and efficiently meet the needs of customers.
With countertop equipment that allows operations to cook to order, such as Antunes’ Egg Stations or on-demand toasters and steamers, chains can provide freshly cooked, quality menu items to customers without sacrificing time.
“When you look to the chains that truly have food service passion from the top down, those kitchens have evolved, and I would put any one of them up against the best quick service restaurants,” Asprooth continued.
“Clearly when you look at the NACS State of the Industry numbers year after year, the upper quartile is usually 4 to 1 in foodservice sales when compared to the lowest quartile. Upper management has to drive foodservice to stay in business as we go forward.”
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