How to Stop Foodservice Leakage to QSRs

Prepared food offers are the biggest differentiator for the convenience channel—and customers need to know that.

May 12, 2021

Woman with a shopping basket in c-store

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—What’s the biggest differentiator c-stores have? Prepared food offers, ranging from hot coffee to cold fountain drinks and from salads to sandwiches. Unfortunately, many c-stores experience foodservice leakage to fast-food restaurants.

According to a NACS Convenience Voices study, “30% of shoppers told us that when they’re in a convenience store, in the next 30 minutes, they’re going to stop at a quick-service restaurant,” said Lori Stillman, NACS vice president of research, on this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Outlook Ahead: Convenience Priorities.” “Now if we just win back 10% of that [leakage], that’s $10 billion plus.”

Stillman recommends that retailers become “cognizant of the increasing sophistication of the consumer when it comes to foodservice offers. Our industry is not necessarily a consistent in terms of healthy, fresh, quality offerings. … Consumers more and more are picking destinations based on the … opportunity to make a healthy choice,” she said.

She also pointed out that alerting customers to foodservice offers while the customer is on site can be crucial to capturing those dining out dollars. “How do we capture them at that moment to say, ‘Hey, have you tried our great new salad or bacon cheeseburger?’” Stillman said. “I think that’s an opportunity that too often is untapped in the rush to get the customer checked out and onto [serving] the next [one in line].”

In addition, retailers should take a page from the QSR playbook when it comes to dayparts. “They live and breathe dayparts—that’s how their menus are arranged, how they serve up offers, and how they do their advertising,” Stillman said. “We can learn from how that channel interacts with shoppers to make sure we too are being relevant in the daypart that the shopper is in the store, as well as suggesting to them things that might be relevant to the next daypart.”

Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 280 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at Episodes have been downloaded more than a quarter million times by listeners around the world.