Convenience Stores Eating QSRs' Lunch

Consumers increasingly choosing c-stores over fast feeders, says Technomic

CHICAGO -- Consumers are taking advantage of the expanding convenience store foodservice options, often at the expense of quick-service restaurants, new research by Technomic has found. Of 3,755 consumers polled on their most recent c-store foodservice purchase, 27% indicated that if they had not bought their meal from the c-store in question, they would have purchased it from a fast-food restaurant. But that number is nearly identical to those who said they would have ordered from another c-store.

"Convenience stores are increasingly falling into the same consideration set as fast-food restaurants," said Technomic director Tim Powell. "This really speaks to the enhanced foodservice offerings in convenience stores as well as evolving consumer behaviors. In our recent survey of more than 3,700 consumers who visit convenience stores, 82% said they purchase prepared foods from them at least once a month, while 52% do so at least once per week."

More than one in four consumers (27%) said that they purchased an afternoon snack during their most recent visit, while 19% purchased lunch. A significant number (23%) also indicated that they only bought a beverage.

Impulse buying plays a big role in c-store foodservice purchases; 31% of c-store foodservice consumers said that seeing an item, which triggered a craving, was the primary motivation for purchasing it.

In order to help c-store operators and others aligned with the foodservice industry stay informed about consumer perceptions and behaviors with regard to convenience store foodservice, Chicago-based Technomic has developed the Consumer C-Store Brand Metrics Shopper Insights Report, which delivers competitive intelligence from the perspective of the consumer. The report includes chain rankings and comparisons by attribute, visit satisfaction and customer loyalty metrics, as well as competitive set identification and profiles of 20 c-store chains with demographics and attribute ratings on more than 30 attributes. The attributes relate to service, hospitality, unit appearance and ambiance, food and beverage quality, convenience, takeout and overall value.

Covered brands include 7-Eleven, ampm, Aplus Convenience Stores, Casey's General Stores, Cenex, Chevron, Circle K, Cumberland Farms, Hess Express, Holiday Stationstores, Kangaroo Express, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, Pilot/Flying J, QuikTrip, RaceTrac/RaceWay, Speedway, Stripes, Valero Corner Store and Wawa.