Over the past year, Giant GetGo convenience stores have seen both made-to-order and grab-and-go sandwich sales climb. That has included hot and cold subs, breakfast sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads.
Jannah Jablonowski, a spokesperson for Giant GetGo, which operates 200 locations throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana, said a trend that’s growing is the increasing number of customers who are buying breakfast sandwiches for lunch and dinner. She credits non-traditional ingredients and flavor profiles.
“GetGo customers have embraced unique and unexpected flavor combinations, which has inspired the creation of items like bacon aioli, chipotle mayo, ranch-infused bread and Thanksgiving-stuffing bread,” Jablonowski said. “We are continually exploring ways to meet the evolving interests of our on-the-go customers, and look for opportunities to incorporate their feedback into the menu options.”
Jablonowski also reported an “overwhelming positive customer response” to GetGo’s limited time only (LTO) subs and recently added former LTOs to the stores’ everyday menu.
She said the company is actively exploring the addition of ethnic flavors as it continues to develop specialty subs.
What is going on at GetGo, is going around much of the convenience store channel. C-stores are changing, expanding, honing and excelling their foodservice programs to keep up with competition from quick-service and fast-casual restaurants. According to the latest annual analysis from the National Association of Convenience Stores, prepared food in 2014, generated dollar sales per store /per month of $23,011, with a gross margin of 57.60%.
Not surprisingly, sandwich offerings feature the flexibility for convenience retailers to offer patrons more, either through a proprietary foodservice program where sandwiches, wraps and other fresh food items are prepared at a commissary, or are made-to-order.
Recent market research confirms that GetGo is right on trend ramping up its sandwich ingredients and flavors. In a recent report, Datassential research pointed out some of the major trends in the sandwich segment (above).
Jablonowski said that GetGo management has also noticed increased customer demand for better-for-you options. In response, the company has launched a number of under-400-calorie flatbreads. The company is exploring more better-for-you bundling options such as water and a piece of fruit.
But, Mintel cautioned, operators should not forget about the quarter of Americans who purchase food out to treat themselves. These consumers are often looking for sandwiches that are deliciously indulgent.
Stay tuned to Convenience Store Decisions‘ March issue, where we delve into 38 in-store categories to identify emerging trends and garner retailer analysis to forecast what operators can expect for 2016 and beyond.