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The prevalence of convenience stores across the United States is immense – and they now often are a go-to option for hungry Americans.
U.S. convenience stores, which total more than 150,000 locations, saw overall sales surpass $650 billion in 2018, according to CSP. Far from being just a pit stop for gasoline and gum, many convenience store brands are working to provide a broad experience that delivers on customer satisfaction.
One great way to achieve that is through food offerings – and these brands are coming through with what today’s on-the-go consumers are craving.
According to a CNN Business report: “Convenience stores have reinvented their businesses to adjust to the changing ways American eat. Snacking is becoming consumers’ preferred meal of choice, and Americans are cooking fewer of their dinners at home as they eat out or order in from their couch.”
The article states that 7-Eleven, Casey’s, Sheetz, Wawa, and more are growing and developing loyalty from their customers. Each one continues to evolve and innovate, announcing new offerings for its customers seemingly all the time.
“This should come as no surprise to anyone. The lines of consumers’ digital consumption and physical consumption are merging,” said Pamela Erlichman, Chief Marketing Officer for Jebbit. “They want it fast, they want a great experience, and they want quality and value for their willingness to engage.”
7-Eleven has a growler bar, an ice cream bar, a patio and inside dining areas at its 7-Eleven lab store in Dallas. The largest U.S. convenience store chain, with more than 9,000 locations, 7-Eleven also introduced breakfast pizza at all its stores earlier this month.
“7‑Eleven stores’ busiest time of day is right in the heart of traditional breakfast hours, and people are hungry,” Robin Murphy, 7‑Eleven fresh foods product director, said in a company release. “We took our busiest time of day and (one of) our customers’ favorite hot foods – pizza – to create what we think will become a breakfast favorite that is delicious and easy to eat on the go.”
In December, Sheetz, which has approximately 600 stores, introduced plant-based burgers, becoming the first convenience store chain in the continental U.S. to serve 100 percent plant-based burger patties.
“Sheetz is constantly innovating and adding new menu items to give our customers what they want, when they want it, 24/7,” Dan Coffin, Lead Chef and AVP of Culinary Development at Sheetz, said in a release. “As demand for healthier, diverse protein options increases, we are excited to add the Beyond Burger to our menu in our continual mission to be the ultimate one-stop-shop.”
Wawa (800+ locations) opened a store in early 2020 with a new format that features a pickup window and a new line of “Good to Go,” an expanded set of hot and cold items aimed at people on the go.
“At Wawa, we strive to accommodate our customers in multiple ways and this new store design is geared towards meeting the needs of our local community members who require quick food options without sacrificing fresh and quality ingredients to fuel their daily routine,” David Simonetti, Sr. Director of Store Operations for Wawa, said in a release.
Meanwhile, Casey’s, which operates more than 2,100 stores and has become the country’s fifth-largest pizza chain, offers online ordering for carryout or delivery.
"C-Stores provide convenience, a powerful motivator in creating a loyal customer base,” said Jeff Herrera, Chief Marketing Officer for Annex Cloud. “A good checkout experience, coupled with convenience and customer routine, are essential ingredients to creating an emotional brand connection. These customers will be your most loyal and profitable customers.”
We at Loyalty360 are not sure if it’s possible to offer greater options or more customer-focused initiatives. If so, it appears convenience store brands will find them and bring it to consumers fast.
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