How to Add Prepared Foods to Your Convenience Store
In 2011 convenience stores saw a 13 percent increase in the sale of prepared foods. After cigarettes, foodservice accounts for the largest percent of in-store sales and surpasses cigarettes in overall gross margin dollars. C-Store giant 7-Eleven, recognizing that convenience stores are becoming a growing mealtime destination, is expanding its food program to include more hot-food options to further capitalize on this developing trend.
What Does It Mean For Your Convenience Store?
It means it’s time to focus on food. With shrinking fuel margins and the continuing decline of tobacco, focusing on an effective food program is an excellent strategy to recapture profits.
So let’s get your convenience store on the path to profitability. The key to a successful convenience store food program is speed. That means having food that is ready to serve and relatively easy to prepare and keep warm. To execute this effectively, you need compact, easy to use equipment and pre-made food. Offering freshly made options is an excellent way to drive profits as well, but this option is only realistic for c-stores with space for a small kitchen or access to a commissary.
If foodservice is a new addition to your c-store, pizza and hot dogs are the way to go. These are high margin items that require only a few pieces of equipment to cook and warm.
Hot Diggity Dog
This American favorite can be cooked a number of ways and the level of customization that can be achieved with the addition of a few condiment dispensers goes a long way in providing customer satisfaction. 7-Eleven has been using roller grills for years and they are still the best way to cook, warm and serve hot dogs.
FSW Recommends: Globe’s 30 Hot Dog Roller Grill
Easy to use and reliable, this 30 Hot Dog Roller Grill from Globe can be found in convenient stores all across the country. The rollers can accommodate a variety of food options including hot dogs, bratwursts, taquitos and sausages. The front and back rollers can be controlled independently, allowing you to create two different heat zones for varying product needs.
Pizza is a perennial favorite of, well, everyone, so don’t hesitate to add this item to your convenience store food program. Frozen pizzas may not sound amazing at first, but when offered as a cheap and quick meal while on the go there are few foods that do as well pizza. Providing pizza at your c-store requires the addition of at least two pieces of equipment, a countertop pizza oven and a pizza warmer.
FSW Recommends: Equipex’s 22" Snack Pizza Oven
This countertop oven is ideal for c-stores because it takes up very little space and can cook pizzas up to 12 inches wide in 3 to 6 minutes. It preheats in 10 to 12 minutes and features a very easy to use thermostat and 15 minute timer.
Once you have a piping hot pizza cooked and ready to serve you’re going to need a place to put it. Pizza warmers hold pizza at the ideal serving temperature while providing an attractive merchandiser that will grab the attention of customers.
FSW Recommends: Fusion Commercial’s 19" Pizza Merchandiser
Keeping pizza warm is only half the battle. This merchandiser also provides colorful signage that is sure to turn heads and help drive impulse sales. The 17 inch wide shelves can hold up to 16 inch pizzas, are heated and can be easily accessed through front and back polycarbonate doors.
Pizza cutter wheel
Pizza and hot dogs may not be the most groundbreaking ways to add a foodservice program to your convenience store, but they are an easy way to get up and running so that you can meet consumer demands with the minimal amount of training and equipment purchases. The FSW Convenient Store specialty store provides plenty of other options for food programs and can help get you thinking about the best way to capitalize on this growing consumer need.
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