By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Rutter’s debuted a new hot grab-n-go pouch to put highly-craveable side items from its popular kiosk service at the fingertips of grab-and-go customers. The new offering will be available at 53 of Rutter’s 66 c-store locations.
Ryan Krebs, director of food service for Rutter’s told CSD that the growing customer demand for snacking items and the huge success of Rutter’s kiosk side items were factors in the decision to introduce an expanded grab-and-go selection.
The York, Pa.-based c-store chain partnered with packaging company Robbie Flexibles, headquarters in Lenexa, Kan., to create the new Rutter’s-branded, hot-hold bag, which is breathable, microwaveable, has a handle and holds heat extremely well.
“We’ll be offering over a dozen options, including chicken wings and tenders, short ribs, fries, mozzarella sticks, hashbrowns—the list goes on. In addition, we’ll provide a variety of grab-n-go dipping cups to choose from at no additional cost. Not only will this result in tremendous increased sales, it will provide the snacking options our customers seek without the kiosk wait,” said Krebs.
What’s more, the state-of-the-art design of the hot pouch holds the integrity and quality of products, which Krebs noted is something that many packaging options do not provide for hot-hold service.
Expanding Consumer Options
The idea to include kiosk items in the grab-and-go section came about when Kreb’s considered that Rutter’s grab-n-go customers are typically different from its kiosk/made-to-order customers. “My desire was to provide many of the same popular and high quality items for the grab-n-go customer,” Krebs said.
The main goal was to add more variety to the grab-n-go program without sacrificing the quality Rutter’s stands behind. “The ancillary benefits will undoubtedly include decreased wait times, particularly over peak periods while also providing ‘up sell’ side offerings to the previous stand-alone sandwiches and subs,” Krebs said.
The challenge, however was finding the appropriate packaging that would allow items beyond sandwiches, subs and pizza to display and hold while maintaining the integrity of the product.
Enter Robbie Flexibles.
Robbie Flexibles designed the new Rutter’s-branded hot pouch to be thin but also durable and strong, which Krebs noted allows significant heat from the warmer to permeate all sides of the pouch providing optimal temperatures. It also includes ventilation holes, allowing steam to escape, which ensures the products stay crispier and keeps the container from sweating, as is often an issue with hot containers.
“Due to its well-developed design, potato products (French fries and hash browns) can also be sold on the hot hold unit, something previously rarely done due to the integrity loss of the products,” said Krebs. “This packaging provides all the components necessary for success: quality, integrity, longevity and impulse.”
Rutter’s plans to also continue to use its present sandwich and sub wraps, which hold heat extremely well. “What this pouch does is allow for us to provide side and snacking items to our customer in a form that is easily transportable, while still maintaining heat and quality of product,” Krebs said.
Food at Their Fingertips
Krebs feels the offering will resonate with customers because it brings the diverse menu offering from the kiosk right out in front of them.
“The visual appeal and easy access of high-volume items that typically take time to make will be an instant purchase and consumable—chicken wings and tenders, mozzarella sticks, French fries, hash browns, BBQ beef short ribs, the list goes on,” he said.
The new offering is a win for all customers. New customers can experience the quality offerings up close before reaching the kiosk. Faithful customers in a rush can grab their favorite offering without a wait, and present grab-and-go customers will gain more options.
“I believe this will directly address the ongoing efforts in what I call ‘attacking snacking’—when customers are simply looking for a quick bite during non-peak periods they can now grab an appetizer to snack on. They can be in and out of the store in literally two minutes or less, but still satisfy the snacking impulse with high-quality, freshly-made, hot products that aren’t typically found in grab-n-go formats,” Krebs said.
Stay tuned to our February foodservice issue for more on Rutter’s new grab-and-go initiative.