ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Foodservice sales at convenience stores grew 24.1% in 2021 and were 10.6% higher than 2019 levels, according to NACS State of the Industry data. Americans turn to c-stores to not only fulfill their snack and drink needs but also at mealtimes. Eat This, Not That lists eight convenience stores with top-quality food options.
Wawa customers see the retailer as “their Wawa.” The company, with locations in the Mid-Atlantic and South, has amassed an army of devoted fans, and its foodservice offerings keep customers coming back.
One Redditor noted that of the convenience store chains, Wawa is one of the better ones when it comes to food. Another Redditor pointed out that Wawa's hoagies, as well as its macaroni and cheese, were standouts.
(Here’s what sets Wawa apart and how it’s doing on its aggressive growth plan.)
Buc-ee’s, with locations in the South, is known for its larger-than-life convenience stores and forecourts and has developed quite the fan following. One TripAdvisor reviewer even called Buc-ee's "the Disney World of stops," thanks to the chain's mascot, the plethora of merchandise and food offerings.
The chain offers barbecue, which is popular among fans, but its candied cashews, beef jerky, chicken salad and french fries are also notable options, according to Reddit.
Stewart’s Shops, located in upstate New York, sells “excellent” ice cream, according to one Reddit user. One location was even recognized by the World Dairy Expo for its Peanut Butter Pandemonium, winning the title of best peanut butter ice cream in North America.
Mid-Atlantic-based Sheetz is a fan-favorite for its made-to-order sub sandwiches and other fast-food options, with CNN reporting that Sheetz considers McDonald's to be its largest competitor. Notable food options, according to Reddit users, include "the best mozzarella sticks," as well as breakfast combos, cheese curds, hot dogs and wraps.
Cumberland Farms, with locations in New England and Florida, has stepped up its food game recently, and people are taking notice. Some consumers have said that for the price, it's a solid option. One Redditor pointed out that the chain's pizza is a standout.
Utah-based Maverik has a foodservice concept called BonFire Grill that offers everything from breakfast burritos, pastries and coffee in the morning to pizza and salads in the afternoon and evening. One Redditor is convinced the chain is poised to "take over the world." Others rave about Maverik's cinnamon rolls.
QuickChek, based in New Jersey, competes with Wawa, and many consumers compare the two, finding QuickChek can stand on its own. One Redditor assures everyone that the two brands are essentially the same in terms of quality, but another comment claims that QuickChek is "objectively superior." A third Redditor argues that QuickChek has better coffee selections, which include lattes and macchiatos.
7-Eleven, best known for its Slurpees, also has many fan-favorite hot food items including pizzas, taquitos and a top-ranked Buffalo Chicken Roller. Americans chose 7-Eleven as America’s favorite grocery chain over popular grocers including Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Kroger, according to a YouGov survey. The c-store chain even has its own private-label wine, so there’s something for everyone.
Looking to improve your foodservice game or just getting started? Check out the NACS Certified Convenience Foodservice Management Online Training Series powered by NACS eTraining partner Ready Training Online. Retail operators can now earn a Certified Convenience Foodservice Management (CCFM) designation by completing a 10-course online training series which tackles the key aspects of developing and growing a successful foodservice offer.