Lunch Daypart Is Busy for C-Stores

GasBuddy’s third-quarter foot traffic report sees steady pace of business.

October 22, 2019

BOSTON—Highlighting the growing trend of convenience stores owning the lunch daypart, the afternoon and early evening dayparts were the busiest hours for c-store traffic during the third quarter, according to GasBuddy’s latest foot traffic report for the fuel and convenience retailing industry. 

Fridays are the busiest day for fill-ups at gas stations, with 15.61% of weekly visits. The spread between the busiest and slowest days was only 2.66 percentage points—a sign that today’s retailers are meeting customer needs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Gas Buddy reported.

GasBuddy examined more than 24 million consumer visits between July 1 and September 30. The report separates fuel and convenience brands into four segments based on their number of locations. The footfall ratio equals average footfall per location/average footfall for the industry. A brand on part with the industry average would have a ratio of 1.0.

Washington-based Costco (250–999 locations) captured the most foot traffic per station of any brand in any segment—nearly four times the industry average with a score of 3.98. Kentucky-based Thorntons (50–249 locations) followed with a score of 3.90. Other segment winners include Ohio-based Speedway (1,000+ locations) and Indiana-based Ricker’s, (30–49 locations) which overtook longtime segment winner, Texas-based Buc-ee’s. 

“Visits to gas station convenience stores remained consistent quarter-over-quarter, with consumers stopping for much more than a tank of gas on their end-of-summer drives,” said Frank Beard, convenience store trends analyst at GasBuddy and a NACS Daily contributor. “And with the most visits occurring during lunchtime, midday and early afternoon continue to be a big opportunity for brands to capture the hungry on-the-go crowd with relevant, fresh in-store offerings and excellent customer service.”

For more on capturing the lunchtime crowd, see “Let’s Do Lunch” in the October issue of NACS Magazine.