The National Advisory Group (NAG) and Young Executives Organization (YEO) Spring Leadership Series continued with its second virtual session on May 26, welcoming three guests who discussed the growing importance of food delivery, addressing the day’s topic: “The Impact of Delivery and Online Sales: How do we reach new food customers?”
Moderator Frank Beard, CStore Decisions’ director of special projects and the director of Safe Shop, introduced the trio comprised of market analyst Mike Kostyo, senior managing editor and trendologist with Datassential, and a pair of convenience industry executives, Dyson Williams, director of merchandising and food service for Dandy Mini Marts, and Kalen Frese, food service director with Warrenton Oil‘s Fastlane Convenience Stores.
Kostyo brought plenty of market insights and even more data to back them up. His slide presentation sliced and diced the foodservice preferences of the post-pandemic customer from a variety of perspectives.
Kostyo broke down the data. He said that it’s only natural that people should quickly gravitate back to fast food. And it makes even more sense that consumers more highly value delivery.
“They’re at home with their families, they’re watching Netflix. They don’t want to get dressed and go get food,” he said. The prevailing attitude seems to be that it’s okay to “give yourself a break, relax at home and choose delivery as an option.”
Later, Dandy’s Williams spoke about the c-store chain’s experience with delivery and advised retailers to keep things simple.
“We’re going to try to limit the menu to items that can be made in five minutes or under,” he said.
Warrenton Oil’s Frese brought another perspective to the delivery debate.
“The delivery thing really didn’t work for us,” he said. “We’re primarily in a rural market, and it didn’t take off.”
Instead, Fastlane opted to emphasize its drive-through and curbside offerings.
“We kind of shifted gears and focused on our drive-throughs,” Frese explained. “We retrofit locations by making everything in the store available at the window.”
The company put five cooler doors and fountain dispensers located adjacent to the window. It added an espresso machine. Heavy moving cigarettes were stocked nearer the window, too. And employees all wore headsets so they could hear the drive-through orders throughout the store so they could grab an item that’s far from the window and bring it over to help fill orders.
“Make sure your staff is committed to the drive-through concept,” Frese advised.
Fastlane also installed digital menu boards as well self-checkout units at three locations with plans to roll out at several more. As it is now, those units are limited to credit card payment for merchandise. Soon, Fastlane hopes to add cash and fuel options.
Beard then led a Q&A segment that yielded some excellent insights into navigating the delivery trend by not only reacting to what’s happening, but also anticipating the consumer preferences as the market and technology continues to evolve.
Session No. 3 of the six-part NAG/YEO Spring Leadership Series will address “The Future of Tobacco: Reshaping the backbar amidst legislative threats and PMTA.” Featured guests for the June 2, 2 p.m., event will be Cole Fountain, director of merchandise with Gate Petroleum; Ryan Faville, director of purchasing with Stewart’s Shops; and Grier Bailey, executive director of the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association (CWPMA).