CHICAGO -- Convenience stores may not always be as top of mind as their quick-service competitors when it comes to kid-friendly dining occasions, but at least five c-stores chains are scoring better for kid-friendliness than the brand with the golden arches, PlayPlaces and Happy Meals, according to new Technomic research.
The following five c-stores—out of 27 participating c-store brands tracked in total—scored well for being kid-friendly in Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program. Consumer Brand Metrics surveys about 700 recent customers per chain. The following scores are based on the percentage of recent customers who rated the brands as very kid-friendly.
For reference, 38.4% of recent customers say McDonald’s is very kid-friendly. Here are five c-store chains that scored better …
Consumers Reporting Chain as Very Kid-Friendly: 50.2%
Most recent customers think Ricker’s is a kid-friendly convenience store. Nearly half of all recent customers (48.2%) also say that Ricker’s has a very good quality kids menu, which is well above the average 35.1% c-store score for kids-menu quality. Many Ricker’s locations feature the chain’s proprietary burrito concept and Subway restaurants, the latter of which offers a kids menu.
Customers at Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker’s also skew toward Busy Balancers (34.3% vs. 18.5% of c-store users overall), which means they are heavily reliant on foodservice—often for themselves, their partners and their kids.
2. Family Express
Consumers Reporting Chain as Very Kid-Friendly: 49.1%
Nearly half of Family Express’s recent clientele says the c-store chain is very kid-friendly. This Valpraiso, Ind.-based chain’s guests also heavily lean toward Busy Balancers (41.5% vs. 18.5% of c-store users overall) and parents shopping with a child younger than 12 years old (25.4% vs. 9.8% of c-store customers overall).
Last summer, Family Express introduced free fruit for kids aged 12 and younger. Other portable snacks available include Greek and regular yogurts, fruit cups and veggie trays.
3. Fas Mart
Consumers Reporting Chain as Very Kid-Friendly: 46.4%
More than two-fifths of recent customers at Fas Mart—a GPM Investments brand—say the chain is very kid-friendly, and nearly half (49.8%) say it serves a high-quality kids menu. Nearly twice as many customers visit Fas Mart with their children than at c-stores overall.
GPM Investments is based in Richmond, Va., and operates more than 1,000 c-stores in 11 states.
4. Rutter’s Farm Stores
Consumers Reporting Chain as Very Kid-Friendly: 43.7%
Over two-fifths of recent customers say Rutter’s Farm Stores is very kid-friendly, and more than half of Rutter’s customers (52.3%) say it offers a very high-quality kids menu. Back in 2009, York, Pa.-based Rutter’s began offering a kids menu, with items such as chicken and meatball sliders bundled with a side, a drink and an activity bag with crayons.
Consumers Reporting Chain as Very Kid-Friendly: 41.5%
About two-fifths of recent Cenex/Ampride customers say the chain is very kid-friendly. Twice as many customers visit Cenex/Ampride c-stores with their children than at c-stores overall.
Ampride, Hastings, Neb., recently released some new kid-friendly grab-and-go snacks in its deli section, such as sliced apples with caramel dip or yogurt fruit dip.