While the reported level of overall satisfaction with prepared food from convenience stores was up 7% from January 2022 to May 2023, there was an 11% drop in those extremely satisfied with food quality in that span, a new report from Intouch Insight reveals.
“For many years, convenience stores have made significant investments in their prepared and made-to-order food options, aiming to earn more interaction and loyalty with convenience-minded customers,” said Cameron Watt, president and CEO of Intouch Insight, an Ottawa, Canada-based provider of customer experience management solutions. Watt shared findings from the study during his presentation at the CSP Outlook Leadership Conference in Rancho Palos Verde, California, on Aug. 2.
“This shift to the middle in reported satisfaction from extremely satisfied to satisfied indicates to us that expectations are evolving, competition is increasing, and complacency is not an option,” Watt said.
These stats were in the company’s 2023 c-store trends report titled Food, Fuel and the Future, which delves into the evolving landscape of c-stores and the challenges they face amid increased competition from quick-serve restaurants.
The EV Arena
The report also says that while gasoline remains the primary driver of consumer traffic for c-stores, the rise of electric vehicles presents a new area of competition, particularly with quick-serve restaurants (QSRs), which see an opportunity to add another reason for consumers to visit.
With EVs projected to account for up to 40% of passenger car sales by 2030, Intouch Insight reports that out of almost 800 visits to major c-store brands across the United States 12% currently offer EV charging stations.
“With retailers of all types including quick-serve restaurants like Subway and Taco Bell quickly ramping up their plans in this arena, convenience stores need to treat this like the race that it is to ensure they are protecting their leadership in fuel delivery while also ensuring they give customers a reason to stay and charge their vehicles,” Watt said.
The report also highlights the huge potential for c-store brands to enhance customer experiences by adopting new technologies.
“From mobile loyalty apps to advancements in artificial intelligence, technology may be able to drive more revenue, mitigate labor shortages and ensure consistency in experiences,” Intouch Insight said. “It is likely that how new technology is utilized will make a difference in where battles are fought and won.”
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