BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Local BP station manager Gurmail “Sunny” Singh Gill saw potential in the building’s unused kitchen—and turned it into Super Food House last October, the Indianapolis Star reports. The kitchen now churns out made-to-order Indian entrees like lamb vindaloo, chana masala and butter chicken, as well as pizza, burritos, salads and gyros.
His initiative and belief that gasoline station customers would appreciate fresh foodservice is not at all unusual these days. A spring NACS survey discovered that having “quality food” was the No. 3 reason people visited certain convenience stores, after gas and location.
“You’re seeing stores that are much more focused on healthy items, fresh items, and upscale items in certain markets,” Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives, said. “With food, it’s been one of those overnight successes that’s been 30 years in the making.”
As Lenard put it, “food is probably the convenience store’s future. … You make way more money selling a sandwich or a snack or something else upscale than you can on gas.”
The trend of convenience stores from chains to independents to differentiate with fresh foodservice continues to grow across the country. “You've got TV shows that celebrate finding food off the beaten path,” Lenard said. “You couple that with social media and you start to see how it gets some traction.”