Gas stations of the past had a bit of a stigma. They were a pit stop—a place to fuel up, buy a lottery ticket, and use the restroom (if you dared). If you were hungry, options were pretty limited to prepackaged items like beef jerky or a bag of chips—so if you wanted something more substantial, it usually required another stop at the closest fast food joint.
But times have changed.
Today’s convenience stores (c-stores) are becoming food + beverage destinations—and it’s paying off. Customers are gobbling up their gourmet pizzas, signature sandwiches, fresh salads, and made-to-order lattes. In fact, almost half of c-store customers are making a food or beverage purchase during their visits (and that doesn’t include those prepackaged items we previously mentioned).
With 4 c-store brands on the 2018 Nation’s Restaurant News list of the top 100 restaurants, it’s clear there’s been a shift. C-stores have upped their food + beverage game, and other industries—particularly quick service restaurants (QSRs)—are beginning to feel the heat.
To better understand this major disruption and what it means for the future of c-stores and the food + beverage industry, we turned to our market intelligence tool BrandGeek®—the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to customer feedback in real time. With more than 120,000 responses from c-store and QSR customers, we discovered a lot. Here are some highlights:
And this is just a little taste of what we uncovered. In order to really get into the meat of things, we’ll be posting a series of blogs on this subject over the next few months. We’ll get into the evolution of the c-store customer, how c-stores are gaining visit share from QSRs with food + beverage customers, and what the future holds.
In the meantime, check out our report—3 questions answered: How c-stores are disrupting the food + beverage industry.