Company News

Kum & Go to Introduce ‘Bistro’ C-Store Concept

Retailer planning smaller, urban format; repositioning itself as food destination
Kum & Go godega
Photograph courtesy of Kum & Go

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kum & Go LC is rolling out a “Bistro” convenience-store format for desirable locations that are too small for the retailer’s other store models, CSP Daily News has learned.

“This prototype is under 4,000 square feet and perfect for urban high-density areas,” Kum & Go spokesperson Emily Hecker told CSP. “Its design focuses on food and seating—all for a site that's about three-quarters of an acre. In short, it's a ‘Mini-Me’ version of the Marketplace [format] that lets us snap up great locations where our other store models can't fit.”

The new format "is largely designed for more urban fill-in but also considers a future where the need for fuel pumps may be reduced. We start construction on our first two shortly and expect to open in Walnut, Iowa, before the end of the year,” Chief Marketing Officer Tracy Ging told CSP.

This is not the chain’s first foray into smaller, urban stores. In 2020, Kum & Go opened its first no-fuel, no-parking retail walk-up store—unofficially called a ‘godega’—in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The 3,000-square-foot store (pictured) is housed in the renovated Edna Griffin Building, a landmark site in Iowa’s civil rights history.

The walk-up store has the same finishes, lighting and aisles as traditional Kum & Go locations. It features freshly prepared foods, a large assortment of beverages and snacks, including healthy options, as well as health aids, phone accessories and craft beers and wines.

A new format is not the only change brewing at Kum & Go. The c-store chain is also seeking to reposition itself around food in the eyes of consumers.

“We have been working on long-term strategies and that includes becoming more of a food destination,” said Ging. “We are beginning a multi-year transformation to become a more modern, healthy convenience option with really good food. … We certainly see ourselves offering value over traditional quick-service restaurants. That you can fuel up, get a great cup of coffee, order fresh made-to-order sandwiches and bowls, have a huge selection of beverages and stock up on healthy snacks or grab something for dinner—fast food can’t offer that. We’re not trying to agitate our fast-food friends, we just think convenience has a role to play in providing fresh, flavorful, easy-to-grab-and-go food.”

In late 2021, Kum & Go unveiled a refreshed brand identity and a new campaign in a move to redefine the on-the-go category and connect with a wider audience. Alongside the campaign, the rebrand features a new visual identity, brand strategy, tone of voice and more.

Launching alongside a new menu in specific markets, the brand’s modernizing renovation, led by global branding agency BrandOpus, New York, “aims to match the retailer’s evolved approach to food through a bold and contemporary aesthetic,” the company said. The retailer tasked the BrandOpus team to craft a 360-degree campaign that brought to life the brands’ vision and represented the exciting updates happening at Kum & Go—a fresh look for fresh food.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, which is expanding to Idaho, Utah and Michigan, has a presence across the Midwest and West, with more than 400 c-stores in 11 states.

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