MACON, Ga.—With more customers craving a hot meal along with filling up their vehicle, more convenience stores are rising to the challenge with fresh foodservice programs that outshine restaurant fare, the Macon Telegraph reports. Here’s what three Georgia convenience stores are doing to keep customers coming back for more.
Inside a Shell gas station, the Cluckin’ Great Deli and More serves fried chicken along with traditional Southern favorites like collards, fried fish, meatloaf, cornbread dressing, fried okra, hush puppies and creamed corn made daily by chef and owner Michael Dean. The menu changes daily except for fried chicken and tenders and includes four to six meats plus six to eight sides.
“To me, it’s much bigger than a restaurant,” Dean told the Macon Telegraph. “It’s an opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives through food and service.” Dean, along with his business partners, plans to expand the concept to other gas stations in the future.
People line up to grab some barbecue at Levi’s Grill at the Stop N Shop convenience store and Shell gas station, with the grill open until the food sells out. “One day I just bought a grill and a few months later I was opening up a store,” said owner Barone Sibley.
The menu includes barbecue ribs, wings and pulled chicken, along with sides of mac-and-cheese and smoked squash and zucchini. On the weekends, brisket, fried fish, shrimp and grits, and peach mango salmon might show up on the menu.
In 2018, owner Shyam Patel took advantage of a car crashing through a wall of the family-owned convenience store and Shell gas station to remodel the interior to include a kitchen. “Customers don’t want chips and soda anymore,” Patel said. “They want hot food.”
Patel brought in Krispy Krunchy Chicken with its Louisiana-style fried chicken, along with other menu items, such as breakfast biscuits and bagels.
Don’t forget to register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on foodservice, including the sessions: