C-store retailers were testing both new and traditional operating models to chase growth in the months before the pandemic hit, according to a survey conducted in first-quarter 2020 by CSP with its sister research firm, Technomic. They were betting on classic food items to boost their foodservice programs, but also using fad-diet callouts and plant-based items to increase traction.

C-store operators overall said they were feeling good about the longevity of their foodservice programs—61% expected foodservice sales to improve in the next year. But optimism was slipping even before the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. According to the 2019 survey, 69% expected sales to greatly or somewhat improve in the next year, which itself marked a decrease from the 2018 survey. Nonetheless, operators in the 2020 survey were encouraged by certain business-building offerings and programs.

I expect foodservice sales to greatly or somewhat improve in the next year


Source: Winsight 2020 State of C-Store Foodservice survey