Ventless Revolution

Slice of Convenience: Cstore Pizza Programs on the Rise



It’s hard to deny the power that foodservice has in transforming a convenience store business. Technomic calculates that foodservice items have profit margins of 57%, while non-foodservice items generate only 27%. Let me say that again, food brings in more than double the amount of profit as non-food items for the convenience store segment. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why so many cstore operators are looking at foodservice options to generate more revenue. Leading the foodservice pack is everyone’s favorite food: pizza! Today we’ll look at how convenience store pizza programs are evolving into true profit generators.

286050-P6AZJ2-835Let’s start by taking a look at foodservice leader, Rutter’s Farm Stores. This 69-store PA-based chain has done exceptionally well, in the way of foodservice innovation, with their family-style pizza program. Unlike most c-stores, Rutter’s does not sell single slices of pizza. Rather, their program consists of eight and 16-inch size pizzas that customers can customize and purchase to take home for dinner. Rutter’s found that by doing their family style fresh pizza program, rather than single slice, their sales volume increased dramatically.

On the flip side of that, let’s also look at Atlanta based chain, RaceTrac. RaceTrac has more than 240 stores offering, grab and go, pre-made single slice pizza. RaceTrac first started testing pizza back in 2015 and quickly found it to be a huge source of revenue. They’re looking to source both personal size and single slice pizza programs for all their stores going forward.

Two successful chains, two very different strategies, one common denominator: PIZZA. So how do you determine what type of program will work best for your cstore?

  • Size of your Convenience Store – The amount of room you have available to devote to your pizza program makes a huge difference in whether you’ll be able to accommodate a fresh pizza program vs a premade program. Pizza Program experts estimate a minimum of 100 square feet is needed to accommodate the necessary equipment for a fresh-pizza program. A premade pizza program however, can be executed with far less space, typically just enough space to house the pizzas and the oven!

  • Pizza with boxes copyLabor Costs – A premade pizza program is easy to implement with some simple cross training of your current staff. While a fresh pizza program may require some additional staffing and a large scale training program to ensure optimum preparation and service. In either event, your staff will certainly benefit from additional training to adhere to food safety best practices.

  • Equipment – Of course you also need to consider the costs involved in purchasing equipment for your new pizza program. From ovens to refrigeration, equipment will play a huge factor in your decision for a full scale or smaller pizza program. Ovens in particular come in a wide variety of shapes, cooking type and speed, so you’ll want to be sure you choose the best fit for your specific pizza goals.

For retailers with less resources, we recommend going with a ready-made program. It’s not only easier to execute but it offers the quickest return on investment. With just a few updates, your business can be ready to serve hot pizza to hungry customers. Our MultiChef XL is the perfect oven companion for businesses looking to get the most bang for their buck. Not only can our oven be used to heat your pizza program, but it also offers a wide array of versatile menu options so you can include additional foodservice items in the future!

One last tip for convenient pizza entrepreneurs? Made to order is a magical phrase for both Millennials and Generation Z shoppers. Offering customizable toppings on your pizza is an easy way to expand your lineup and appeal to your younger shoppers. PLUS it can add appeal to guests looking for healthier options, cue the veggie pizza reel! From pepperoni to limited time toppings like fried bologna, you can really ramp up a program when giving customers the opportunity to customize their order!

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