Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s, which operates more than 2,300 c-stores, recently launched an all-new breakfast lineup, featuring its Signature Handheld, Loaded Breakfast Burrito and Loaded Breakfast Bowl, coupled with a new chainwide bean-to-cup coffee program.
Casey’s Vice President of Prepared Food Michelle Wickham told CStore Decisions that now is “the perfect time” for the retailer to introduce a breakfast menu, as customers create their new back-to-school and work routines and forge new habits following pandemic lockdowns.
Ultimately, it all comes down to fulfilling Casey’s role as a one-stop shop for any time of day, she said. “No longer do (customers) have to compromise: ‘Let me go here and get coffee. Let me go here to get my food.’”
Fortunately, when coming up with the new menu, Casey’s was at an advantage from the start, Wickham said, thanks to its kitchens and its ability to leverage its existing equipment and ingredients.
“A lot of our c-store competitors can’t do what we do as fast as we do it because they’ll have to build it, create it or add it onto their buildings, whereas we (already) have the ingredients in our kitchens; we can look at it differently to create a new product for our guests,” she said. “Having ingredients and making our dough fresh daily really is an advantage for us. And we’re really leaning in to elevate our kitchens to the standards that you would see in a quick-service restaurant (QSR).”
Casey’s Signature Handheld features its made-from-scratch dough — the same dough used for its pizzas — wrapped around eggs, sausage or bacon, as well as two types of cheese, then baked fresh in Casey’s kitchens.
With flavor, familiarity and portability top of mind, Wickham noted, “We looked at our dough and said, ‘What can this thing make?’”
To round out the menu, the Loaded Breakfast Burrito includes eggs, shredded potatoes, bacon and sausage crumbles topped with melted cheese and rolled up in a soft flour tortilla. And the Loaded Breakfast Bowl features egg, bacon, sausage, shredded potatoes and cheese together in a bowl.
Compete or Beat
“I certainly know that we can compete with QSRs with our food quality and our coffee. Compete or beat,” Wickham said, adding that customers should keep an eye out for “relevant line extensions and twists and turns on some of these products down the road.”
“And certainly we’ll always be introducing seasonally relevant coffee,” she said. “We have a flavored coffee to die for with a salted-caramel toffee that we’ll be bringing back soon.”
In addition to its new breakfast menu, Casey’s is rolling out bean-to-cup coffee equipment at all locations, which grinds beans instantly to ensure a fresh-brewed cup of coffee.
Beyond the equipment itself, Wickham said, Casey’s wanted to ensure it had a core coffee offering that appealed to a wide range of customers, no matter the type of coffee they prefer — or when they prefer to drink it.
“So we spent some time really working on our beans to make what I would say is an approachable coffee for all coffee lovers,” she said, “whether they like light, medium or dark (roast). … I think we’ve leveled up our coffee to match that of our QSR competitors at a price that’s a lot more favorable. And it pairs really nicely with all our delicious offerings for breakfast.”