ORLANDO, Fla. -- As convenience store powerhouse Wawa breaks into the Florida market, its recipe for foodservice success includes everything from made-fresh-to-go meals to the kitchen as a focal point. Todd Souders, Wawa's Florida operations director, provided CSPTV with an exclusive "fast-casual" tour of the chain's first store in the state, across from Orlando's Sea World.
Click here for video tour.
The layout highlights the store's made-to-order kitchen in the central area of the retail floor, with baked goods and the coffee area immediately to the right. A display of grab-and-go proprietary sandwiches, salads and wraps stands prominently to the left of the kitchen, backed by a more traditional c-store set-up (including beer cave), rounded out by a speedy checkout.
"When we designed this store, we knew we were coming into a new market, we knew we wanted a special design that spoke to the area. ... We do not have this design store anywhere else in the United States," Souders said.
The Wawa, Pa.-based chain, which will continue to use its Northeastern goose as its symbol in the Sunshine State, intends to build 20 to 30 stores in the Florida market this year with a goal of 100 in five years. Officials believe Florida to be a prime market for growth based on demographics, population forecasts and real-estate opportunities.
Wawa held the official grand opening of the much-heralded store last Wednesday, hosting a gaggle of dignitaries ranging from Governor Rick Scott, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs to Wally the Goose.
(See Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)
Wawa is chain of about 600 c-stores (300 offering gasoline), located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and now Florida. The company's stores offer a large fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa brands such as built-to-order hoagies, freshly brewed coffee, hot breakfast sandwiches, built-to-order specialty beverages and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks.