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15 Great C-Store
Beverage Programs

Fizzy, slushy, steamy, iced, sparkling, fermented, hard: Consumers sure have their pick of libations in today’s convenience stores. Beverages made up 56% of c-stores’ proprietary foodservice budget last year, generating $11.9 billion, according to data firm Technomic. Pour packaged drinks and alcohol into the mix, and the industry appears to be swimming in drinks. “It’s called the vault because that’s where all the money is,” said Alan Beach, senior vice president of merchandising for Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc., while presenting at the 2018 NACS State of the Industry Summit. In fact, a beverage-forward business model seems to be such a winning strategy that major restaurant brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts are reformatting as beverage-first operations. “As restaurants increasingly position themselves as ideal and convenient locations for a quick beverage or snack, c-stores must continue to develop and nurture their appeal as a top-of-mind destination for thirsty consumers,” says Robert Byrne, senior manager of consumer insights for Chicago-based Technomic.

What follows are 15 c-store chains—out of 27 participating convenience-retail brands tracked—within Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program that received the highest composite rating for beverage attributes from recent customers. Individual beverage attributes rated by consumers include alcohol beverage variety, quality of coffee, variety of nonalcohol prepared drinks and variety of nonalcohol retail beverages. Consumer Brand Metrics surveys 700 recent customers per chain throughout the year to understand c-store guest experience, brand usage and visit drivers.

Read on to see how these 15 chains are pouring past the competition.

By Alaina Lancaster