How to Reinvigorate the Dinner Daypart

From gourmet foods and a diverse menu to meal bundles and competitive pricing, convenience stores are driving foodservice sales at a record rate. At the National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference in Ponte Vedra, Fla., hear from three convenience store chains that have taken their food business to a new level.

When it comes to foodservice, convenience store operators must develop the expertise to make smart choices and deliver winning mealtime solutions.

Research shows that consumers are increasingly turning to convenience stores for their meals. In its  “North American Convenience Store Consumer Study,” consulting firm AlixPartners reported that the frequency of consumers purchasing a meal at a c-store has increased by 13.2% since 2012. Consumers who participated in the study also indicated that foodservice is now the primary driver for their in-store purchases in the past 12 months.

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At the 2018 National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from three of the convenience store industry’s leading foodservice operators: Cumberland Farms, High’s of Baltimore and Yesway. The session is titled: “Reigniting the Dinner Daypart. Daypart sales are growing, but this has been a tough mealtime to crack for convenience stores. This session will deal with getting a better understanding of what customers want at this important daypart, where they are shopping and what it will take to get them in your stores. This panel will also discuss the need to focus on foodservice safety.”

Speakers for this world-class foodservice session include:
* Carlos Acevedo, Culinary Innovation and Research Chef, Yesway
* Keith Boston, Vice President of Foodservice, Cumberland Farms
* Brad Chivington, Senior Vice President, High’s of Baltimore

The session will be moderated by Jerry Weiner, president of Weiner Consulting Co., who has 46 years of experience in the foodservice industry with convenience store chains including Rutter’s, Mapco and 7-Eleven, and hotel chain Marriott.

But to hear these experts, you must attend the NAG Conference. Visit the NAG Conference Agenda to see the full NAG Conference lineup. To register today, visit http://www.cvent.com/d/rgq7rk. The supersaver discount rate expires July 20.

What Customers Want
The top factors consumers consider in selecting a c-store to purchase a meal are price, quality, speed and variety. Older consumers are heavily focused on location and convenience, while Millennials and Gen X both identify price and food quality as their top considerations.

At the same time, however, there is also a large percentage of the population who still view c-stores as simply snack stops. According to AlixPartners, by beefing up their menus and using every opportunity to promote their mealtime food offerings, retailers around the country are demonstrating that it is possible to break through that mindset. “In some markets, certain convenience stores have raised the bar for foodservice by showing consumers what good really looks like,” the report said. “To compete, others need to catch up.”

Click to Register NOW for the 2018 NAG Conference.

Additionally, as the quality perception of c-store foods increases, the industry will become a more viable choice for consumers at dinner. Since their positioning is centered on convenience and because other retailers are actively pushing them, c-stores are ideally positioned for foodservice growth.

But convenience stores must send a clear message to customers that they are a dinner destination by providing great food, competitive prices and offering dinner “bundles” or meal deals. Too often, c-stores aren’t top of mind during the dinner daypart. Consider changing that by advertising a dinner bundle, such as two sub sandwiches, a two-liter bottle of soda and a full-size bag of chips, or a full pizza and bottle of wine. The options are endless, but the competition also is endless: Nine out of 10 c-store locations offer foodservice, defined as food and beverage items fully prepared or assembled on-site or obtained from a commissary, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). For those who do it right, the payoff is significant.

Recognizing the value of foodservice for increasing traffic, sales and profits, many operators are working to enhance their offerings, service levels, merchandising and marketing. The overall effect of this trend is positive and has the c-store industry well-positioned to capture more on-the-go consumer dining occasions. It remains vital for operators and suppliers to stay on top of dinner and late-night trends, such as combo meals, smaller portions or shareable items, in order to more effectively identify opportunities of growth.

See you in Florida!