Why drive through twice when one stop will do?
Convenience stores across the U.S. are stealing food business from quick-service restaurants. No, we’re not eating greater amounts of packaged junk foods—we’re eating restaurant-quality meals prepared at gas stations.
In a study by Technomic, 26 percent of C-store customers would have purchased their meal from a quick-service restaurant had they not purchased it in a convenience store. And C-store visitors come back more often than fast-food fans do. (Regular fill-ups!) The NPD Group reported that 56 percent of C-store visitors would return for another meal that same month, compared to 37 percent of quick-service restaurant diners.
Clean your own windshield; we’ll make dinner.
It’s not just the convenience of eating at the pump, either. Throughout the U.S., C-store visitors can get freshly prepared foods and grab-and-go options ranging from bakery items and sandwiches to even made-to-order pizza. Cases of dough shipped to these new eateries rose 27 percent last year to meet the rising demand as more visitors order pizza when they fuel up. Casey’s General Store even offers pizza delivery from 400 locations, so you can skip the stop altogether. These new food marketers are keeping up with social shifts to offer the latest hot items. Locals and vacationers in Princeville, Hawaii, for example, can order a grass-fed beef burger at the North Shore General Store.
And, some gas stations are even foregoing the fuel. QuikTrip stores in metro Atlanta expanded some locations to include full-service kitchens (QT Kitchens) with complete menu offerings for made-to-order food and beverage purchases … and eliminated fuel pumps.
C-store meals may or may not be everyone’s first choice when it comes to eating on the go, but they’re definitely a choice now for better quality food—fast and easy.