Foodservice has changed forever. Covid-19 has changed the landscape of how c-store foodservice owners operate: contactless food options, curbside pickup and face masks are now the norm. Consumers’ perspectives of what’s clean and what’s dirty has been altered forever.
By doing a simple Google search, you’ll find several studies on trends or adjustments the foodservice industry has had to make because of COVID-19 and how it must change moving forward.
Perhaps one of the biggest opportunities for foodservice operators – particularly in the c-store industry – is with grab and go food options. Consumers are looking to move through c-stores quickly, touch as few surfaces as possible, and leave the store still feeling clean.
According to a recent Convenience Store News study, 30% of consumers purchased grab & go prepared food from c-stores in the last month. That’s nearly 1 in every 3 people walking through a convenience store’s doors!
Now, we realize that most convenience stores have a variety of options of prepared grab and go foods, including pizza slices, sandwiches and burritos. But what if consumers are looking for more?
A PROBLEM SCENARIO
Let’s say you get 300 people walking through your door each day. 30% of those consumers – or 90 people – are looking to purchase food to go. Assuming each of these 90 people purchase one grab & go item at an average of $3.00 each, you’re generating $270 of sales per day, or $1,890 for the full week in grab & go. That’s $98,280 in grab & go prepackaged food sales per year ($41,890 x 52 weeks = $98,280). Almost $100k! Wow!
Now, what if those 90 customers walk in and you don’t have enough variety of prepackaged items to choose from, so really only 30 people choose an item? Or, perhaps you’re out of stock, haven’t prepared enough, or your options have been sitting out too long and are cold? Customers will either buy something else – likely with lower margins than foodservice items – or just leave without buying any food. Either way, that’s money walking out the door.
GRAB & GO FOODSERVICE: THE SOLUTION
Hot, fresh foodservice grab & go options – such as chicken tenders, potato wedges, breakfast sandwiches or chicken sandwiches – are a new alternative to the bland pizza and burrito options most c-stores offer. Plus, these types of products come with much higher margins that other items in your store, especially cigarettes.
Foodservice trails only the cigarettes category when it comes to bringing in the most in-store sales for convenience stores. Cigarettes, however, averaged a margin percentage of 14.12% in 2019, according to the Convenience Store News Industry Report 2020 Deep Dive, Tobacco. This is the third consecutive year that margins have fallen for cigarettes. Meanwhile, foodservice margins have stayed at a steady 43% since 2015, with the average 2019 margin for foodservice being 43.68%. That’s nearly 30 percentage points difference in margin between cigarettes and foodservice.
What if you could achieve these superior margins with just a simple grab & go program? Well, it’s possible!
Making prepared hot food in a grab & go setting is actually pretty simple. Grab & go programs usually require minimal staff and are simple to execute, making it easier on you for training, saving up time, energy and resources constantly navigating a complex foodservice program. With grab & go options, you can choose your own menu and pick the items that you know your customers will love (and are easy to prepare).
If you’re ready to serve hot, delicious food to your customers even when you don’t have anyone behind the counter, discover what grab & go can do for you!