Convenience stores

Convenience stores boost prepared foods

As food prices continue to rise and consumers continue to seek cost-effective meal solutions that don’t require the time it takes to cook from scratch, convenience retailers are increasing their prepared food offerings . They promise ready meals at relatively low prices compared to most restaurants.

7-Eleven, for its part, the largest chain of convenience stores in the world, revealed in a presentation shared with analysts discussing the company’s 2022 fiscal year results, that in the United States fast food sales accounted for 13% of total sales, and in the company’s home country of Japan , 29%. In other areas, the category accounted for up to 44% of total sales.

The retailer has expanded its fast food offering in the United States, perhaps in a bid to make the business as big a revenue driver as in other markets. For example, last month the company announced two new pizza options, including a breakfast pizza intended to boost morning food sales.

“We are constantly innovating to provide our customers with exciting new ways to enjoy their favorite dishes,” said Vareesha Shariff, 7-Eleven’s Senior Manager, Hot Food. statement. “This time we’re tapping into more creative, non-traditional pizza trends, including savory sauces and plant-based offerings.”

Additionally, the company has sought to drive adoption of its fast food offerings with its 7NOW Gold Pass subscription, which operates like restaurant aggregator subscription programs, offering free delivery of many of the retailer’s products with a focus on particular on its hot dishes, for a fixed monthly fee.

Meanwhile, multinational convenience store giant Couche-Tard, which has more than 14,000 stores in 24 countries and territories, has also invested in growing its ready meals offering. In a call with analysts Wednesday, Aug. 31, to discuss the company’s financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, Brian Hannasch, the company’s CEO and president, noted that its hot food program ” Fresh Food, Fast” had expanded to 4,000 stores and the retailer’s food business saw double-digit growth over the previous year.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made in our food journey and are excited about the additional opportunities and new items in our pipeline,” Hannasch said.

With these investments in growing their hot food offering, convenience stores are quickly becoming a significant source of competition for quick service restaurants (QSRs). In addition, convenience stores have the advantage over their restaurant competitors in being able to offer cross-category benefits. For example, rewards points earned on meal purchases can be redeemed for discounts on fuel or general merchandise, and vice versa, a particularly attractive perk as gas prices soar.

“It’s really interesting in the convenience space, because…we have this really interesting and diverse business that our rewards program unites,” Art Sebastian, vice president of digital experiences at Casey’s, the third-largest retailer of convenience stores and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States, PYMNTS said in an interview in June. Noting that consumers can buy fuel, groceries and prepared foods from Casey’s, he said, “So for us the trend has really been this cross-business unit behavior. … He is a very valuable guest for us.

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