Michael Lawson, general manager of The Thumb c-store in Scottsdale, Ariz., was eager to lighten up the vibe in his store in 2021. Best known for The Brisket Stack, a sandwich once featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” series, The Thumb opted to embrace lighter fare.

“Speed is more a priority to customers than ever.”

First, Lawson scaled back the robust menu at The Thumb in favor of a number of core sandwiches and entrees. Then, he tweaked the store’s reputation as a carnivore-fueled BBQ destination by rolling out healthier salads—all to cater to more health-conscious consumers.

“We went back to the basics. Historically, we’ve offered a super-diverse menu but found that it had become too broad. We opted to take out items that took longer to prepare since everything we do is MTO (made to order). Scaling it back allowed us to get food out faster,” says Lawson. “Speed is more a priority to customers than ever, so it became imperative to get food out a hair quicker.”