The coming months present exciting opportunities for convenience store retailers nationwide. Increasing vaccine availability bodes well for an uptick in travelers in the coming months—whether they’re taking a summer road trip or just resuming a typical commute to work or school. And this means that, with more consumers on-the-go, c-stores are again tasked with offering quick and easy solutions for an increasingly busy consumer base.
Most commuting consumers switched to a work-from-home model after the onset of the pandemic, according to Technomic’s Q4 2020 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief. As of November 2020, however, 52% of consumers who commuted to work before the pandemic are currently traveling to and from work again—a number that will likely increase even more in the following months.
In addition, fuel customer conversion is currently at its highest since the pandemic’s onset, according to Technomic’s Q1 2021 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief. More than half of consumers are now entering the store while they fuel up on the forecourt, boosting retail and foodservice sales in tandem with fuel purchases. By offering crave-worthy snack options for consumers on the road again, retailers can increase their chances of converting customers in-store—even for shoppers who hadn’t come with the intention of purchasing food in the first place.
With recent developments boosting opportunities to leverage consumers’ favorite on-the-go snacking occasions, retailers can set themselves apart from competitors by delivering on shoppers’ top priorities for c-store snacks. By offering quick, craveable snacks that meet consumers’ needs, retailers can better set themselves up to convert shoppers in the store, regardless of why they entered the c-store in the first place.
Off-premise purchases will likely remain a part of the “new normal,” even as in-store foot traffic picks up, as many consumers have come to prefer delivery, drive-thru and curbside pickup to standard in-person shopping. Even after pandemic-related changes to the market begin to fade out, retailers can lean on easy, low-prep menu items to help them continue serving a number of channels efficiently.
Among consumer snacking trends, unconventional mealtimes are seeing an uptick. According to Technomic’s 2020 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend report, 32% of consumers say they typically replace one meal a day with snacks, and 61% say that their definition of a snack is anything consumed at nontraditional meal hours. As more consumers are seeking snacks in lieu of a meal, it’s crucial for retailers to offer satisfying, high-protein solutions to curb shoppers’ cravings at any time of day.
As retailers elevate their menus to cater to consumer preferences and optimize their operations to keep up with off-premise service, they must keep their margins in mind. Keeping up with consumers’ heightened expectations for food quality and value, quality of service and store cleanliness are crucial to remaining competitive within the c-store landscape—and with timesaving solutions, retailers can deliver on these priorities without taking a toll on the bottom line.
To keep costs low while maximizing appeal to consumers, retailers can implement some best practices for minimizing labor and expenses. C-store employees are as busy as ever offering top-quality service to shoppers despite changes in operational protocols, so labor-saving solutions are more often considered. Using low-prep products to save time in the kitchen, for example, can be a great way to offer fresh, high-quality food without adding labor in the meantime.
Stocking the kitchen with versatile ingredients can also be a great way to cut costs; if an ingredient offers multiple applications throughout the menu, it’s less likely to go to waste. For these reasons and more, leveraging multi-functional, time-saving ingredients is a win-win for retailers and consumers alike. While retailers optimize the back-of-house, they can continue to deliver on the high-quality snacks their shoppers crave.
Retailers can turn to solutions from Tyson Convenience to offer the simple, craveable snacks that shoppers desire and to find the easy-to-prepare products that retailers need to keep operations efficient.
From fully cooked and seasoned chicken wings that are ready to heat on-demand; to hot dogs and sausage links for the roller grill; to customizable components such as diced chicken, mini steak burger patties, thick-cut bacon; and so much more, Tyson Convenience has a solution to bring efficiency and quality to any and every item on the c-store foodservice menu.
With products from Tyson Convenience on hand, retailers can feel confident they’re prepared for success in the busy months ahead. For more product information, resources and market-relevant solutions backed by trusted brands, visit the Tyson Convenience page.
This post is sponsored by Tyson Convenience