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Data: Where Is Foodservice Traffic Growing the Fastest?

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New Technomic data compares where consumers are eating and what is driving their choices.

As c-stores look to exploit the high-margin opportunities of foodservice, Sara Monnette, senior director of  consumer insights for Technomic Inc., Chicago, offered several trends and emerging preferences that will influence c-store foodservice programs:

  • With the recession ebbing, employment stabilizing and fuel prices dropping, retailers can expect higher traffic and more interest in on-the-go meals.
  • People want to customize their own meal solutions.
  • Technology is important and expected, applying to ordering, payment, rewards and social media.
  • People are moving away from three meals a day to a continuous “grazing.”

Foodservice is appearing across multiple channels. Monnette suggested focusing on differentiation.

In terms of defining the c-store shopper, Technomic research showed that high-frequency customers tend to be male, younger and employed. Moderate-to-light customers tend to be female, baby boomers and upper-income.

Light visitors tend to be female and unemployed. Traffic drivers are gas (70%) but also beverages (66%), suggesting that foodservice can be an opportunity if paired with a beverage offer.

Beyond the food—or maybe aligned with trust in the food—c-stores must be clean. “For someone to want to order a salad, you need to have a clean floor,” Monnette said.

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