C-Stores Gain Traction on Quick-Service Restaurants

43% of millennials purchase more food from c-stores now than three years ago.

May 20, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Convenience stores are giving quick-service restaurants a run for their money, especially among younger shoppers. Foodservice sales account for 23% of sales at convenience stores in the U.S., according to NACS State of the Industry Data. That’s a 3% growth in the past five years.

One in four Americans spent $6-$10 at least once a week on convenience store foodservice items, according to a new GasBuddy report. Among consumers ages 18 to 29, 20% visit a convenience store for food three to four times a month and spend $10-$15 at least once a week.

It’s coming down to speed and convenience. Restaurant Dive reports that Americans aren’t looking to wait in drive-thru lines anymore, or pair getting gas with grabbing a bite. Fifty-six percent of Americans have purchased a meal at least once per month in a c-store, and 25% of Americans age 30 to 44 have purchased food at a c-store five or more times a month.

Restaurant Dive noted the recent efforts made by Wawa, 7-Eleven, Casey’s and QuikTrip to expand their retail footprints and meal offerings. Wawa is bringing digital integration to its stores, while 7-Eleven is testing a new wave of food and beverages in Los Angeles. Casey’s now has a pizza parlor and bakery with donuts made from scratch, and QuikTrip has added made-to-order sub sandwiches in Tulsa and Wichita. 

The article pointed out that c-stores have a big opportunity here to expand their horizons and move away from the stereotypical food that QSRs and c-stores are often perceived to offer.