Opportunities for Convenience Store Growth in the Wake of Today’s Challenges

Foodservice upgrades offer consumers a one-stop option for all dayparts.

It’s no secret that today’s convenience stores are facing growing challenges.  Inflation, which hit its highest peak in 40 years, has caused a sharp rising cost of goods, and c-stores as a result must raise their prices to protect margins. Not only has there been a rise in the cost of goods, but also a rise in fuel costs—which have not rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels.

In addition, labor and waste concerns are still very prevalent, as store profitability takes another hit from wage and benefit increases.  According to the 2021 NACS State of the Industry report, labor wages and benefits are up 10.7% compared to 2020.

Yet another way c-stores are being challenged is with the mounting competition of QSR and coffee shops for coffee sales. How can c-stores be top of mind to their customers when it comes to coffee? Offering more than just standard drip coffee is paramount to appealing to consumers.  

With these mounting challenges, operators need to find ways to grow cup sales and become the preferred destination for their customers’ coffee needs. These opportunities are found in a few notable ways that can elevate any coffee program as well as increase in-store sales and profitability.

First, the growing trend of iced coffee has proven to be a powerful shift in overall coffee trends. Some retailers report cold coffee drinks account for as much as 70-80% of their coffee sales due to this powerful shift in consumer demand. While hot dispensed beverages dominate the morning daypart, iced coffee, especially in the afternoon, is viewed as a desired treat. This resonates most in the younger demographic of millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Another growth opportunity within the c-store market is in foodservice.  In fact, stores that take advantage of a bolstered foodservice program report seven times more gross profits than stores that do not.  The 2021 NACS State of the Industry report indicates that foodservice sales account for 35.5% of in-store gross dollars (up from 29.2% in 2011). Variety in menu offerings can increase sales to capture the consumer looking for a one-stop shop for their food and beverage needs.

Taking advantage of these opportunities requires having the right partner that understands what coffee consumers want and can pull from their experience executing large scale coffee program rollouts in c-stores. By listening to those consumers and applying expertise in innovation, quality and customer support, SEB Professional delivers leading bean-to-cup programs with the Schaerer Coffee Art C. Not only are c-store customers getting the highest quality, freshest cup of coffee on demand, but retailers are also able to offer iced coffee options with this machine as well. “For operators looking to grow their cup sales and the customer that’s looking for that needed cup of coffee-whether hot or iced, it’s a win-win,” states Megan Vargin, VP of Sales at SEB.

Find out more about the Coffee Art C here.

This post is sponsored by SEB Professional North America


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