How Couche-Tard is Refocusing its Foodservice
LAVAL, Quebec -- You can expect Couche-Tard to expand its fresh-prepared-food program through what it's calling “foodvenience,” a platform that will stretch across North America.
Outlining a 24-month development plan, Alimentation Couche-Tard—parent to c-store brands such as Circle K, Statoil, Kangaroo Express and Mac’s—lauded existing food and beverage lineups during its fourth-quarter earnings call, including its Polar Pop, Real Hot Dog and Simply Great Coffee concepts, and pointed to the contribution of these three formats to food and beverage sales growth in both Europe and North America.
Beyond these well-established categories, Couche-Tard is looking to broaden the appeal of a fresh-foods offering, with an eye on customization and speed of service. During the call, president and CEO Brian Hannasch underscored the company’s “commitment to expanding our fresh-food assortment, which is attracting more customers to our sites.”
But what is "foodvenience"? At the heart of Couche-Tard’s strategy is food prepared on site, with a much bigger focus on made-to-order preparations and grab-and-go service formats. While some Circle K convenience stores currently offer made-to-order sandwiches, subs, burritos, wraps and salads, an updated foodservice program would bolster this lineup and enlarge its scope.
The revamped fresh-food program has been rolled out at 200 stores thus far; long term, the company plans to expand “foodvenience” into 1,200 more stores within the next two years. According to Hannasch, Couche-Tard believes the new purpose-build "foodvenience" sites are what is truly “driving great organic growth in North America.”
The concept has been introduced in five new locations in the past fiscal year, while another 21 brand-new sites are in the works for this fiscal year. Specifically, Couche-Tard stated that it is scheduled to debut “foodvenience” formats at new convenience stores in three distinct U.S. markets, including Houston, Phoenix, and Charlotte, N.C.
All of this foodservice-expansion activity goes hand in hand with an overarching initiative to rebrand Couche-Tard’s convenience stores under one banner—a newly overhauled Circle K convenience brand.