Generation Z's Favorite C-Store Chains

By 
Jill Failla, Editor, Technomic

Generation Zers

CHICAGO -- Two-fifths (41%) of Generation Z purchase prepared foods from convenience stores at least once a month, according to Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report. It shows that these youthful consumers value low prices, fast service, and food and beverage customization more than any other generation. So which c-stores are doing the best job of meeting Gen Z’s needs?

Gen Zers—those ages 18 to 24—rated their go-to c-store chains in a recent survey from Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics database. Scores are based on recent customers who say the chain does a “very good” job overall when considering attributes such as prepared food and beverage, service and cleanliness.

Here's a look at Gen Z's favorite c-store chains, ranked from fifth to first …

5. QuikTrip

QuikTrip

Score: 46.9%

Almost half of Gen Zers who recently visited a QuikTrip said the chain was very good at almost all surveyed attributes. QuikTrip opened its first drive-thru location last fall as part of a test, appealing to this generation’s desire for fast service, and the chain’s made-to-order sub program likely appeals to Gen Z’s demand for customizability.

4. Wawa

Wawa hoagie

Score: 51.0%

About half of recent Gen Z customers rank Wawa as a very good c-store chain overall. Wawa’s recently launched mobile ordering program satisfies this generation’s desire to order online using a mobile device. Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report shows that this is the most-preferred to-go amenity among Gen Z. Wawa’s extensive made-to-order program also likely draws in these young consumers.

3. Sheetz

Sheetz foodservice

Score: 54.9%

More than half of recent Sheetz customers ages 18 to 24 gave the c-store chain a top rate overall. The chain offers Gen Z customizability through made-to-order subs, sandwiches, burgers, premium salads, appetizers, breakfast sandwiches and more. Sheetz also strategically builds up foodservice-focused stores near colleges, placing itself in close proximity to Gen Zers.

2. RaceTrac/RaceWay

RaceTrac

Score: 56.9%

Nearly three-fifths of Gen Zers who recently visited RaceTrac or RaceWay gave the brands very good overall scores. Hitting on Gen Z’s need for deals and low prices, RaceTrac launched a rewards app last spring that offers digital coupons and free drinks to customers who download the app.

1. QuickChek

QuickChek

Score: 65.1%

Nearly two-thirds of recent Gen Z customers gave QuickChek an excellent overall rating, putting it in first place. The chain rolled out mobile food ordering last year, allowing guests to place orders for custom-made subs and salads. The app often features half-price and buy-one-get-one deals, such as its half-price appetizer promotion offered in the fall.