Bobby & Steve's Gives Made-to-Order a Boost

Joins the nearly 40% of convenience retailers planning to expand foodservice

Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Fuels, CSP

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Bobby & Steve's Auto World will bring greater foodservice consistency to its seven convenience stores in 2013.

Five of Bobby & Steve's Auto World sites have full, made-to-order kitchens, churning out a proprietary program. The retailer plans to bring consistency to all seven sites, either refining the offer or running a franchise out of the kitchens. It is also looking at the potential of installing a commissary for breakfast and deli sandwiches at one of its sites to add a greater degree of consistency and labor efficiency.

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based chain talked about its foodservice goals as part of CSP's 2012 Outlook Survey, in which nearly 40% of respondents said they plan to expand foodservice in 2013, with the coffee bar, fountain and proprietary foodservice programs likely to see the most activity.

A greater percentage of survey participants said they sell fresh and healthful items compared to those who took the 2011 survey--or more than 73%. Sandwiches and wraps, fresh fruit, and cereal and granola bars are the most popular items, with 83% saying demand is growing for such items.

"I see the c-store 10 years from now looking drastically different than it does today when it comes to offerings we have from a health-food standpoint," Jared Scheeler, director of retail operations for Bobby & Steve's Auto World, told CSP Daily News.

His chain has created a big presence for fresh deli sandwiches, salads and wraps, and increased its offer of fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, veggie bowls and pasta salads. On the retail side, it has integrated natural food products onto the shelves and highlighted gluten-free, natural and healthful items with color-coded signage.

"What's been a challenge with the average consumer is that there's not convenient access to a lot of those healthy options, and the fact that the convenience industry really hasn't jumped in with both feet is a contributor of that," Scheeler said. "We felt if we went in with both feet, committed to being who we wanted to be, that consumers would eventually catch on. That's what we're finding is happening."

To read the full report from CSP's 2012 Outlook Survey, see Related Content below.