CHICAGO -- Consumers order prepared food and beverages from convenience stores for takeout on a regular basis. But just who is doing the buying, and where is the opportunity?
Technomic’s new 2016 Takeout & Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report reveals that younger consumers are the ones driving takeout business at c-stores. More than three-fifths (61%) of 18- to 34-year-olds order prepared food or beverages to go from c-stores at least once a month, compared to 42% of consumers overall.
Here are five other findings from the report that c-store operators should know about consumer foodservice to-go preferences …
1. Greater availability
Of the consumers who say they are ordering food to go more often now than three years ago, 22% of them say they are purchasing this food or beverage from a c-store. Consumers say they are increasing their takeout frequency because more places offer food to go near them, and there are now more options available for takeout.
2. Finding funds
Of all the consumers who say they are ordering food to go less often than they were three years ago, 31% say they are purchasing foodservice to go less often specifically from c-stores. Consumers primarily say they are purchasing food for takeout less often because they have less money to spend in general and because they are cooking at home more often.
3. Preordering is important
Many consumers who order takeout from c-stores are concerned about speed and convenience and, therefore, want the ability to order ahead of time. Nearly half of all consumers (47%) say they would use call-ahead ordering for to-go orders at retail foodservice establishments if the service was offered. Similarly, 41% of consumers say they would be very likely to use online ordering via a computer for takeout orders at retail sites if it was offered.
4. Ability to prepay
Nearly two-fifths of consumers (38%) say they would be likely to prepay for takeout orders at retail establishments if the service was offered. Methods of prepayment could include call-in orders or those via a computer or mobile device. The demand for preordering is higher than prepayment, though the two services often go hand in hand.
5. The drive-thru advantage
Nearly half of consumers (46%) say that, if available, they would use a drive-thru or a pickup window to take out prepared food or beverages at a retailer. Similar to preordering, drive-thrus and dedicated pickup windows can help improve speed and convenience for takeout orders.