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Energizing the Fresh-First Mindset: Busting Convenience Store Myths

Convenience channel competition is peaking in a post-pandemic market, and time is running out to lock in on-the-go shoppers. We are convinced that convenience stores are able to retain their customers and even continue to attract them to large retailers and restaurants.

Don’t believe us?

Fair enough. We will prove it.

Myth: Convenience stores cannot serve restaurant-quality food

Reality: Convenience stores can compete with restaurants—& to win

Shoppers in a hurry might see your convenience store on the side of the road and then, across the street, a fast food joint. Maybe it’s a matter of time or preference: or maybe it’s a matter of wow, remember how phenomenal WaWa’s hot chocolate is? I could really go get a hot mug!

Be that instant decision in a buyer’s mind.

15-20% of restaurants closing during the pandemic presented an opportunity for on-the-go retailers. “It was our time to shine when people came for something they couldn’t find in a restaurant,” says Heather Davis of Parker’s Kitchen on the influx of pandemic shoppers. “Now I 100% believe that we will retain these customers.”

The top and bottom numbers speak for themselves: 23% of convenience store sales and 36% of convenience store profits are attributed to foodservice. People are on the move and don’t want to stop for long, but will be stop for quality. An always fresh food service will retain loyal breakfast and snack customers and attract new customers who are just stopping in for a road trip or refueling. Enrich your menu, innovate your offerings and delight customers by leveling it all up with fresh take-out produce shoppers know they can. only go to your stores.

Myth: Shoppers choose convenience stores primarily for speed and convenience

Reality: Customers expect fresh, high-quality produce wherever they shop

Speed ​​is inherent in the convenience store model, but what if fresh food service was also best in class?

Pennsylvania-based Rutters has skyrocketed its competitive edge during the pandemic by adding comfort foods to its menus and introducing provocative drinks like Spiked Slushies and Xtreme Shakes. Innovation and familiarity combine to fantastic effect in Rutters Fresh Foodservice, enticing both long-time shoppers and new customers with the promise of something exciting right alongside something made. home.

Rutters is a prime example of differentiation that makes or breaks margins: Fresh-first is an operational must for convenience store competition. If a customer asks “Why should I go?” and can’t find a quick answer, they go elsewhere. You have half a second to be fresh in their minds: is your food service fresh enough? Can it turn customers into frequent flyers, then lifers? Does your pizza become a local favorite and then a national favorite spanning the South and Midwest?

Casey’s rewards program just surpassed 5 million members, just two years after its launch. Loyalty programs are essential for fresh first operations: leveraging consumer data to learn preferences and display personalized ads and coupons for fresh meals and snacks that make their day easier and keep them coming back. Reward your customers for their loyalty, and loyalty is rewarded.

Myth: Freshness takes a lot of work

Reality: Fresh-first retains employees

New practices can be daunting when you consider the time, energy, food safety concerns, and costs associated with investing in technology, training employees, and implementing new systems. Change requires expert software, high adoption rates, and full store synchronization.

But the benefits? Invaluable.

A unique system, or a system that integrates seamlessly with others, should prioritize ease of use for employees. New intuitive, AI-powered ordering takes the guesswork out of the equation: eliminates manual inventory tracking and ordering processes that rely on mental calculations and guesswork.

Making your employee’s job not only faster but always easier frees up more time and energy to improve the consumer experience and encourages them to stick around. In 2020, the average turnover rate for part-time convenience store associates was 153.9%.

Challenge the statistics: turn your labor problem into a competitive advantage. Being known for its exciting fresh produce selection, i.e. Wawa’s Hot Chocolate, Casey’s Pizza, fosters a positive retail culture that employees can be proud of; by encouraging them to represent your brand rather than competitors. Empower your employees to be the first to be fresh, and the whole convenience store wins. What was now potentially a labor challenge can be a competitive advantage.

The future is cooler

Freshness isn’t just today, it’s tomorrow and every day. What does it look like?

A streamlined kitchen management system with fully automated control. Automated ordering solutions that sync with task management and historical analytics to provide the most accurate ordering strategy are unmatched in today’s insecure supply chain market. Precise ordering is paramount for your entire operation: be sure to prioritize automated systems that simplify the process with AI-powered forecasting, smart task management, and easy integrations into pre-existing systems.

With Synchronized KMS and Automated Ordering, the future of your food service is already fresher and it doesn’t take long before customers think freshness when they think of you.