QSR January 2023

| C A N C - S T O R E S T H R E A T E N F A S T F O O D ? | fresh ideas The Convenience Battleground Can C-stores compete

with quick-service restaurants? They sure think so. B Y I S A B E L L A S H E R K

There’s plenty of daypart share up for grabs, especially at breakfast.

W hen most think of C-stores, they imagine small shops where you can grab a drink or snack while filling up the gas tank. That image isn’t always associated with traditional quick-service dining. Some brands, however, are work ing to change the conversation, expanding their food offerings and giving customers a reason to stop beyond the pump. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores ( NACS ), C-stores sell 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the entire country, and about 44 percent of those customers go inside. Among those who venture in, about one in three end up mak ing a purchase. This large cohort is there for the taking, and is as good of a reason as any to attempt to convert fuel customers into food ones as well. Kwik Trip is a Midwest-based chain working to draw in those

customers. Its priority is keeping prices low, and making the food high quality and readily available to try. Notably, through sampling. ”Our goal is to get the food in our customers’ mouths,” Paul Ser vais, retail food service director for the brand, says. “We sample all the time. The expectation is that we’re going to be sampling a minimum of eight hours a week per store.” Servais says this prac tice, along with implementing specials like Dollar Wednesdays, have inspired trial. Though fuel certainly drives customers into Kwik Trip, the brand also has a significant grocery arm. Kwik Trip has its own dairy and is able to produce proprietary milk and ice cream, as well as two bakery plants that produce breads and sweet goods. Having these resources shortens the supply chain and allows the brand to innovate food items in-house at an accelerated rate, Servais says.


www.qsrmagazine.com | QSR | JANUARY 2023


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