8 Fundamental Stats on C-Store Foodservice

Foundational data on the prepared-foods opportunity

ATLANTA -- The deluge of data on convenience-store foodservice is unceasing, as was evident in the 2016 NACS Show education session “Prospering in Foodservice,” led by Technomic President Darren Tristano and Associate Principal Donna Hood Crecca. But a few core statistics are crucial to understanding the size, scope and opportunity of c-store foodservice—and how your company fits into its growth.

Bookmark this page, and use the following eight crucial c-store foodservice statistics to help benchmark your own business.

139,261 c-stores offer foodservice

Of the 154,016 convenience stores in the United States, 139,261 offer foodservice. That is defined by Technomic as any prepared food and beverage, even if it’s as simple as a pot of coffee or a fountain dispenser.

Ninety percent of those stores offer “basic” foodservice

According to Technomic, 90% of c-store operators offering foodservice have a basic foodservice program. That is defined as traditional hot and cold beverages, limited roller grill or grab-and-go, and minimal signage. Seven percent meanwhile have “premium” programs (a limited array of specialty beverages, broader grab-and-go and roller grill, and maybe some limited on-site or made-to-order prep), and just 3% have a super-premium program (everything that basic and premium programs offer plus customization, extensive made-to-order and on-site prep, and a strong overall focus on foodservice).

Proprietary foodservice programs have seen a CAGR of 2.4%

Proprietary foodservice programs (defined by Technomic as programs developed, branded and executed by the c-store operator, as well as third-party turnkey programs also operated by the retailer), have experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4% from 2010 to 2015. And while beverages have historically driven that growth, prepared foods have since 2010 taken the lead, with a CAGR of 2.6% vs. 2.3% for beverages.

Foodservice margins are 57%

The margin on non-foodservice items in c-stores is 27%, according to NACS, while foodservice generates a 57% margin. This differentiator has been one of the core triggers for the growth in focus of c-store foodservice.

Speaking of which …

Nearly nine in 10 operators say foodservice is a strategic priority

C-store operators tell Technomic that foodservice is a traffic driver (88% of respondents), a sales driver (88%), an area of investment (82%) and a strategic priority for their businesses (87%). “The overwhelming majority of operators are saying, ‘Yes, this is incredibly important, and we’re investing in it.’ But that investment varies from operator to operator,” said Crecca. 

Nearly nine in 10 (85%) of millennial c-store foodservice customers come in once a week or more

Millennials are proving themselves loyal c-store foodservice customers. “We’re all familiar with this, and the savvy retailers are communicating with these consumers. But how can we take it up a notch and expand? How can we get that woman over 50 to come into a c-store for foodservice?” asked Crecca.

Fifty-six percent of consumers say c-stores are just as capable as restaurants at offering fresh food and beverages

More than half of consumers overall say c-stores are on par with fast-feeders, and 67% of millennials say the same. “So you’ve got a vote of confidence there, but it also tells you there’s an expectation. … There’s a bar set,” said Crecca.

Half (53%) of c-store foodservice consumers says a brand-name ingredient could increase purchases

“It gives them that trust factor,” said Crecca, adding that that number jumps to 61% for millennials.  

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