In the last 15 years, foodservice has steadily grown from being something cstores should do, to something they MUST do if they want to remain competitive in the market. Cstores across the nation, both big and small, are revamping their layouts, adding equipment, and remarketing themselves as food destinations. But why now? What’s the big change? Well, I hate to give millennials ALL the credit, but we certainly deserve a huge portion of it. We’re in a rush, ready for convenience, and as long as the food is fresh and coming from a clean source, we’re OK with eating it! And with close to 44 million millennials in the US and a combined spending power of about 1.1 TRILLION dollars, millennials are making their mark on foodservice. So today, we put the spotlight on convenience store foodservice and talk about three of the biggest trends making waves in the foodservice scene.
Fresh is the Best
If you can’t offer fresh food, you might as well not offer it at all. That may sound like a harsh statement, but cstores are trying to get away from the stale, day old roller dog images that have plagued them for years! Fresh and ready or made to order items offer your customers the quality they expect from their food. Millennials, or any generation for that matter, don’t want stale food. But fresh food, kept in a clean environment, now that is appealing. Couple that with the convenience and speed that they’ve come to know and love about your cstore and now you have a frequent buyer on your hand.
To take fresh a step further, consider working with local suppliers, when possible. Locally raised, fresh from Joe’s farm stand, sustainable sourced --- these are all BIG buzz words that will entice younger generations who are looking for environmentally friendly meal solutions. In addition to gaining some customers for locally sourcing your foods, you’ll also be integrating within your community, which builds MAJOR loyalty going forward.
Flavors of the World
Unique flavor offerings have always been trendy. Folks like to try new things, taste new flavors, and experience different parts of the world through food. There’s no reason cstores can’t tap into that trend. Consider offering new sauces on your sandwiches, seasonal flavors for your coffees and baked goods, or even a new menu item all together.
Offering unique flavors not only give you a chance to impress your audience, but also an opportunity to try out something for a limited time and not commit to it until you know it will be successful. Limited time offers are the perfect way to try out new flavorings and see how your audience reacts. Plus the sheer fact that it’s only being offered for a limited time drives the perceived value of the item higher, as it will not always be available.
Strive for Improvement
The number one thing that a cstore should always be doing for their convenience store foodservice program is striving for improvement. A perfect foodservice platform isn’t going to happen in one day. It’s something you’ll need to work at, learn from mistakes and grow to be even bigger and better tomorrow, and next week, month and year.
Think back to even ten years ago: roller dogs and microwaved burritos were the norm. Today you can get pizza, chicken sandwiches and heck, even fresh sushi if you go to the right cstore! That’s all because of continuous improvement and if we’ve come this far in such a short time, imagine where we’ll be in another decade!
Taking the Next Steps
So now that we’re all fired up about foodservice, where do you start? If you’re really at the beginning of your game, we recommend downloading ourFREE white paper on adding food to your cstore. This guide walks you through all of the things you'll need to consider prior to adding the new food menu as well as strategies for keeping it running smoothly. We cover menu making all the way to marketing, so it truly is a helpful started guide.
If you've got some experience in food service you may be ready to start looking at equipment for an easy transition. Our line of ventless fryers and ovens make the perfect addition to any convenience store. Because they are ventless, there’s no need for costly hood installations or fancy kitchen spaces. Plus, our ventless deep fryer, AutoFry, is also fully automated, so operation is a breeze and training couldn't be easier. Both AutoFry and MultiChef, our high speed oven, work great to expand menu offerings on their own, or in conjunction with additional equipment! The key here is that you really only need one machine to start expanding your menu!
Want to learn more?
Download our free cstore foodservice one sheet. It has everything you need to know about AutoFry in relation to your industry!
This guide includes powerful testimonials from current customers, a sample menu for easy implementation and highlights from our equipment. Feel free to download it for yourself or share it with a colleague who may benefit from adding foodservice to their cinema!