Family Express Offers Ordering at the Pump

New technology allows customers to select foodservice items while filling up. 

March 29, 2021

Family Express Convenience Store

VALPARAISO, Ind.—Aside from online and mobile ordering, there are other opportunities unique to the convenience retail business model to turn the last mile into the last minute: ordering at the pump.

“There’s a big opportunity for ordering at the pump for either in-store pickup or staff delivering orders to a customer’s car as they are refueling,” Patrick Loftus, NACS researcher, suggested in the January NACS Magazine feature, “Covering the Last Mile.”

Citing retailer survey results from the NACS Research report, “Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail,” Loftus said that only about 10% of retailers are taking advantage of ordering at the pump, adding that the amount of convenience retailers who anticipate offering ordering at the pump for in-store pickup or even for delivery to their customer’s car is expected to triple in the next year to two years.

Enter Family Express. The Valparaiso, Indiana-based convenience retail chain has invested in new technology at its fueling dispensers that allows customers to select made-to-order foods from its Cravin’s restaurants while filling up, reports the Northwest Indiana Times.

"The technology at the pump is a big deal," Family Express Founder, President and CEO Gus Olympidis told the news source. "We're a small company that's able to facilitate superior technology in our space that would prevent a major data breach,” he added in reference to the installation of Fiserv's TransArmor data protection system to protect consumer data.

“It essentially fragments the credit card information so if hackers access one card all they have is that individual transaction, not the total deck with everyone's credit card information. You can use your credit card with a level of security that is unsurpassed in North America,” said Olympidis.

“Most customers won't even know it's there, but it provides a subliminal benefit that hackers won't be able to access their private information. Protecting consumer information from being penetrated is a huge concern for merchants, and you constantly have to stay a step or two ahead of the bad guys,” he added.

Family Express operates 80 locations throughout Indiana and recently announced two acquisitions that will increase its store count by 10%. The convenience retailer is known for its fresh foodservice menu and has elevated its Cravin's restaurants to serve fresh-made food like pizza, chicken wings and soft pretzels.

Olympidis told the news source that he wants to make it easier for people to buy food while they're on the go. "We're in the final stages of letting customers order food at the pump, to eliminate friction to the customers," he said. "Customers ask why they're asking for my card again when they just paid, and it's a fair question. It's already available at two stores and in the relatively final stages of beta testing. It's been working wonderfully. It's kind of a big deal for a company as small as ours to be able to offer this technology."

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