Pizza remains a go-to meal and snack for consumers throughout the day and a thriving profit center for convenience stores.
Nouria’s New England stores have been seeing “a steady increase” in sales especially at lunch and dinner. Roland von Gunten, the company’s director of culinary fresh foods, said he expects that trend to continue.
“People in New England have a relationship with pizza,” von Gunten explained. “It’s an easy grab-and-go, order ahead for store pickup or home delivery meal.”
Nouria partners with Grubhub and DoorDash for delivery. The company is currently working on developing an omnichannel experience, partnering with the three largest delivery services to make everything in the stores available for home delivery, he announced.
Thirty-five of Nouria’s 160 locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island offer pizza under either the Nouria Kitchen or franchised Amato’s name. The number of stores offering pizza is set to be expanded this year, he said.
Bi-monthly promotions, such as bundling pizza with a sandwich for a value price and two pizzas for $20 during the Super Bowl, help to keep customer interest high.
In addition to regular pies, Nouria has created two signature products from its pizza ingredients. Cheese Pazzo Bread is fresh-baked dough seasoned with garlic, herbs and cheeses and served with a dipping sauce; and Pizza Stuffers are made of fresh pizza dough stuffed with meat, veggies or cheese, also served with a dipping sauce.
“These two products have been great successes,” he reported.
Pizza Sales Rise
At Cubby’s convenience stores, with locations in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, pizza sales dollars are up 14% over the last 12 months. Company President De Lone Wilson attributed some of that growth to a “big emphasis on training resulting in a better product, the availability of online ordering and value pricing.”
Cubby’s features Godfather’s Pizza in 23 of its stores and Godfather’s Express in three others. Four additional stores offer Cubby’s own branded pies, which Wilson plans to transition to Godfather’s. Breakfast and lunch are the busiest pizza dayparts.
Quarterly limited-time offers (LTOs) are usually met with great success, and Wilson plans to do more of them. He also expects sales to rise as more customers place their pizza orders online. All the stores also have a separate Godfather’s phone number to make advanced ordering quicker and easier.
“As someone who has been in the c-store space and pizza business for quite a while, I think that the category will continue to become a bigger part of our business in the coming years,” he predicted.