This article is brought to you by Core-Mark.
WESTLAKE, Texas–Pizza is America’s go-to food. Whether enjoying a snack, serving a meal or hosting a casual get-together, Americans depend on pizza.
Technomic, the food research organization, reports that 83% of consumers eat pizza at least once a month and 43% enjoy pizza weekly. That enthusiasm for pizza has built the U.S. pizza industry into a $45.73 billion business, reports CHD Expert, a foodservice data provider.
According to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2018 Data, foodservice represents 21.5% of total gross margin for the average convenience outlet, and prepared food was the largest sales and gross profit driver within foodservice. Offering ready-to-eat pizza could help boost sales in stores with limited food offerings.
“C-store retailers are missing out if they don’t have an in-house pizza program,” said Chris Scott, corporate director of foodservice, Core-Mark. “And the easiest way to execute a pizza program is to partner with an experienced provider that can ensure a quality offering that differentiates you from your competitors.”
According to the 2018 Pizza Consumer Trend Report from Technomic, today’s pizza consumers are more knowledgeable about the components of pizza. They shun soggy crusts, rubbery cheese and scanty toppings. Forty-four percent want pizzas with high-quality and/or fresh toppings and ingredients, a figure up four percentage points from the 2016 report.
Most convenience stores don’t have a full kitchen suitable for producing made-from-scratch pizza. But turnkey pizza programs, such as Basilio’s, available from Texas-based Core-Mark, can drive traffic into the store, ensure hot food around the clock and encourage repeat business.
Basilio’s is an Italian-style pizza with a made-from-scratch crust, kneaded by hand for at least eight minutes and then double proofed. The pizza sauce is made with California vine-ripened tomatoes and blended with herbs and spices. The color and flavor are natural because artificial colors or preservatives are never added. The cheese is 100% real mozzarella pre-mixed with a flavorful blend of Italian spices, allowing for a longer hold time in the warmer.
All prep work is done ahead of time, and c-store employees only need to cook the pizzas for a few minutes, depending on the type of oven used, until they are ready to serve.
Pizza options include a 14-inch large pizza or a 7-inch personal-sized pie in several flavor combinations. Pizza by the slice offerings also are available, which can attract new customers and help generate profits during dayparts when business might otherwise be slow.
When choosing a pizza partner, look for one that provides account support, quality point-of-sale materials and easy to execute promotions, Scott advised, and ask plenty of questions when interviewing a potential supplier.
“Will you get banners, outside signage, pump toppers and videos, if you can run video advertising at your fuel pumps? Are quality ovens and hot boxes available to purchase or lease?” he said. “Most importantly, make sure the provider will scale the program to your needs and the ability of your operation. That is important to ensuring your pizza program is a big success.”
This is the first installment of a two-part series on c-store pizza programs. Look for more on this pizza program in the August 27 edition of NACS Daily.