BOSTON — Consumers opted for convenience stores more than quick-service restaurants (QSR) and coffee shops over this past Memorial Day weekend. C-stores garnered more than two-thirds (69%) of the traffic they saw during the previous weekend, while QSRs and coffee shops experienced only a 27% and 20% lift during the same time frame, respectively.
Boston-based GasBuddy examined foot traffic at more than 67,000 U.S. gas stations during Memorial Day weekend (May 24-27) and the previous weekend (May 17-19) for this study, as well as foot traffic at major QSRs and coffee retailers. GasBuddy also analyzed gas-station visits of travelers who drove more than 400 miles over the holiday weekend during the lunch hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. compared to the previous weekend.
- Click here to read GasBuddy’s rankings of the top c-stores during first-quarter 2019.
“We are a society growing more obsessed with convenience, apparent even in how we travel,” said Frank Beard, convenience-store and retail trends analyst for GasBuddy. “According to our data, road trippers are looking for an all-in-one stop to get their gas, coffee, snacks and meals. Beyond convenience, quality matters, and fuel retailers continue to build offers that compete directly with major fast-food brands.”
Here are three insights from GasBuddy’s Memorial Day weekend study …
Lunchtime visits between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. made up 36% of all c-store visits during Memorial Day weekend, and c-stores saw a 105% uplift in foot traffic during lunch hours compared to the previous weekend, said GasBuddy. Overall, lunchtime visits on weekends have been the busiest hours at c-stores so far this year, according to GasBuddy’s first-quarter foot traffic report.
More visits, better food
Not only are consumers visiting c-stores more often in general, but they’re going specifically for foodservice. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe c-store foodservice has improved in the past five years, and foodservice dollars comprise nearly 23% of total convenience-store sales today, according to GasBuddy’s c-store foodservice survey.