Stop and Look Around

Take these social sightings and turn them into c-store sensations.

Kevin Higar, Author, Foodservice Marketing Consultant

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Today, watch any renovation show on TV and one improvement you’re sure to see is folks creating open designs. They claim it just “makes them feel at ease.” Everyday life offers plenty of opportunities for blindsiding and stress. Everyone wants to relax. When our predecessors felt safe from predators or conflict, it triggered a biochemical reaction in the brain that put them at ease. That’s why they tended to live on the edge of the jungle rather than in it. They could carefully venture in for hunting, but then quickly retreat. Today those deep-seated responses still exist. Open puts us at ease.

Capitalizing at the C-Store Level: The year 2014 promises to be no less stressful than the recent past. Customers who feel comfortable and calm inside the four walls of your establishment stand a greater chance of returning. If one of your concept’s primary goals is to increase foodservice sales, seriously consider the sight lines customers will experience as they enter your c-store and move toward their anticipated food and beverage purchases. Will their perceptions equate to a jungle scenario where unexpected opportunities for time delays exist? Much like our forefathers being eaten by a gnarly tiger, that’s bad. Create physical layouts that trigger open prairie biochemical responses instead. I guarantee you guest satisfaction and overall in-store experience scores will increase.

The Final Word

By now you have to be wondering when I’m going to quit typing. Fear not. I will humbly offer two specific suggestions about how to incorporate everything I’ve mentioned here and then call it a day. First, consider “cross-trending.” In other words, employ multiple trends I’ve discussed here simultaneously. I’ve witnessed many concepts use this strategy and enjoy impressive increases in overall traffic, sales and profitability. Second, understand not every trend is right for every concept. One of the core elements all winning foodservice concepts embrace is the ability to recognize that incorporating a trend merely because it’s a trend can be a long-term recipe for disaster. Understand your core concept positioning and then incorporate a trend only if it supports that. 


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