How to Drive More Foodservice Traffic

Three strategies from FARE to get more feet in the door to buy prepared foods

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Kevin Miller Tyson (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice)

Kevin Miller

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- When considering prepared foods, convenience stores have made a lot of progress … and have a long way to go. Luckily, there's a lot of low-hanging fruit for the retailer who's willing to go the extra mile, according to Kevin Miller, senior marketing manager of convenience stores for Tyson Foods Inc.

"The people are there. They're on the property. How can we get them in the door?" he said during a 2014 FARE breakout session entitled "Bring Them In: The Convenience Foodservice Consumer Decision."

Miller revealed the results of a recent survey of convenience store customers--and non-customers--to illustrate the opportunity.

Traffic patterns show a healthy boost on c-store forecourts after 2:00 p.m. Today, however, most retailers are not converting that traffic into in-store foodservice sales.

Prepared-food purchases in c-stores are about equally split between being planned or not planned, meaning there's more opportunity to drive impulse purchasing.

And data shows that as the day goes on, consumers are more likely to make an impulse purchase, meaning c-stores' primary focus on breakfast occasion may be missing the mark as afternoon traffic grows and planned behaviors lessen.

Miller outlined three primary strategies to take advantage of these opportunities.

Play to your strengths, such as location, convenience and speed. "Remind consumers and shoppers that you're going to get them in and out," he said. "Beat that drum! Remind them how easy we are. And make it even better."

Meanwhile, work on those critical attributes that you haven't perfected. Miller's data shows consumers' top six desires for prepared foods are quality, freshness, price/value, store cleanliness, menu choices and previous experience. "Take the convenience strengths that we have and build on them with the top six attributes," he said.

Finally, continually drive awareness. "Many consumers don't know what c-stores offer," Miller said, noting that one bad experience may have turned a consumer away from the channel for prepared foods. Launch a campaign to drive awareness. "Think about Jimmy John's; they've beat that drum that they're fast, freaky fast," he said, "and it's become what they're known for."

For more FARE coverage, watch and #FARE14.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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