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Get Your Piece of the Food Service Pie

Posted By: Erin White
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In a recent CSD/Balvor Food Service Survey, they researched the food service trend in convenience stores.  The want and need for healthier, prepared foods (think, fruit, vegetables and food prepared on site) is growing at a rapid pace.  Just last year, total food service sales averaged $24,765 a month per store.  However, this number strongly favors c-store chains operating 250-501 stores.  Chains with 5 stores or less scraped up the crumbs only generating $5,872 per month for their stores.

The survey revealed that food service sales favor the larger chains for a variety of reasons.  One, the larger chains are able to utilize social media and mass advertising campaigns.  They also have more stores to sell from.  However, smaller chains need not get discouraged.  Foodservice sales will still be a focal point over time and forecasts show us that this trend will be around for the long haul.  Experts are forecasting a 5.8% increase in 2013.

So, what about the smaller chains?  How can you get your piece of the “food service pie”?  Being a smaller chain, you will have many structural challenges to overcome in order to compete with the big chains.  For starters, if you do not offer food service products now (food prepared on-site), you need to look into it…ASAP.  If you currently offer food service selection, take a step back and re-evaluate how you do things.  Look at your commercial refrigeration cases.  Do they need to be serviced, cleaned or even replaced?  Look at the way you merchandise.  Does your current gondola shelving work with what you are selling or does it need to be re-vamped?  Are your glass cooler doors well lit?  Do you have old T8 lighting or have your upgraded already to LED lighting?

There are so many ways smaller c-store owners can tweak their stores to help increase food service sales.  Yes, it can get expensive quickly, especially if you are starting from the beginning.  But, based on the research and the forecasts, you can not afford to NOT put money into your locations when it comes to food service

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