NATIONAL REPORT — Foodservice continues to be a hot category for convenience stores. But the path to success doesn’t only run through made-to-order. By boosting their grab-and-go options, c-store retailers can get ahead of the game. This is according to a recent Convenience Store News webinar.

Grab-and-go is a huge segment for c-stores, as well as competing foodservice retailers. While c-store operators have been taking advantage of the segment, they can go even farther.

During the July 16 webinar, entitled “Grab-and-Go: How to Maximize Your Foodservice Options”.  Several statistics driving home the importance of foodservice and grab-and-go, in particular, were shared:

  • There has been a 15 % increase in prepared meal and snack purchases since 2010, making it a growing segment;
  • 45 % of c-store customers are already purchasing food or beverage items. Making it more likely that c-stores can prompt them to expand those purchases into different dayparts; and
  • 25 % of millennials eat in their cars on a daily basis, making them perfect grab-and-go customers for c-stores.

However, c-store competitors have also recognized the opportunity and are taking steps to gain a competitive advantage. This includes Target, which is offering a new self-serve, grab-and-go snack bar concept, and Whole Foods’ Market Daily Shop. A small-format store similar to a c-store that opened in New York City earlier this year.

“If you don’t get in on the ground now, when [grab-and-go] gets bigger, you’ll be at a disadvantage,”.

To find success, she said c-store operators should carefully consider the four Ps of grab-and-go:

  1. Product — When selecting products to offer, retailers should play up variety in order to garner interest and trial, and prevent boredom with the same thing. They should also commit to fresh; partner with other vendors and brands; and, above all, stay consistent. “Consistency is crucial,”.
  2. Pricing — What are competitors charging? Who does your store compete against? A combination of the best product with the best price will pull in the most customers.
  3. Placement — Where in the store should a grab-and-go offering be featured? It is important to realize the need for speed and utilize an inviting, clean space.
  4. Promotion — How can a store convey all this information to its customers? Thumbprint advises using all available space, including advertising at the forecourt and via videos at the pumps as well as social media to let your local community be aware.

In addition to the four Ps, speed is a top consideration in grab-and-go purchases. As 86 % of shoppers will avoid stores with long lines. “A huge majority,”.

Ways to ease the pain of checkout lines and encourage grab-and-go purchases include frictionless payment options, including mobile payments and payment kiosks.