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4 Ways to Enhance C-store Foodservice Experiences

Industry, Safety, Serving Solutions

Convenience Stores have become an important destination beyond simply pumping gas and charging vehicles. Modern-day C-store locations are popping up all over without traditional fuel service—think neighborhood strip malls, airports, sports arenas, hospitals, and college campuses. 62% of consumers visit a c-store once a week1, with a steadily growing number of consumers visiting them to shop for prepared meals on the go and even for casual onsite dining occasions and quick snacking breaks. With more than 148,000 independent and chain C-stores in rural, urban, and suburban areas of the U.S.2,C-stores now compete with QSRs and retailers for share of traffic, giving consumers a plethora of options to choose from when grabbing food on the go or eating out.

Foodservice now accounts for 35.5% of in-store gross profits.3 If you’re a convenience store operator, elevating the foodservice experience for your customers can not only help boost repeat traffic to your store but increase incremental profits as well. Here are 4 ways to enhance consumer experiences of your foodservice program:

  1. Offer it fast. The primary reason people visit C-stores is speed. Shoppers come to get in, get out, and get on their way and in fact, 45% of shoppers spend less than three minutes on a visit.4 Utilizing convenient, easy-to-operate equipment can increase speed of service and keep traffic flowing through your store swiftly. Server Essentials® complete selection of pumps and dispensers bring ease, convenience, and speed for patrons on the go. From thin condiments and syrups like vinaigrettes and hazelnut to thicker sauces such as ketchup and dressings to condiments and toppings like relish and hot fudge, patrons can easily and quickly dispense and top their burgers, beverages, and ice cream treats.
  2. Keep it fresh. Food quality is important, even in C-store settings. What will set your store apart from the competitor down the street? A steady supply of consistently fresh, hot foods and prepared meals will keep patrons coming back. SmartWares® Technology helps you monitor, manage, and maintain food temperatures of all your connected smart equipment, alerting staff if temperatures start to drop or food levels are low and need refilling. This transformative technology can also be equipped with cloud connectivity and loT-enablement for collecting real-time data, storing it, and reporting out historical performance of connected equipment for ongoing evaluation and learning.
  3. Serve it safer. Cleanliness, sanitation, and safe food prep are top reasons patrons choose one C-store over the next. Rethermalizing foodservice warmers are ideal solutions for locations that need to safely heat refrigerated product and keep food at peak flavor and steady, safe temperatures throughout the day. Unlike rheostat temperature controls, rethermalizers feature adjustable, precise thermostat controls which provide even heating to eliminate wasted servings and prevent product scorching. ConserveWell® heated utensil holders safely hold knives, scoops, spoons, tongs and other short-handled serving utensils above 140°F, keeping them safe against bacteria growth. Plus, they save on water, energy, and money over continuous-flow dipper wells. Available options include drop-in units and wall-mounted holders – both with and without timers.
  4. Make it versatile. According to a recent Bluedot report, nearly 30% of respondents purchase prepared food from C-stores, while 25% buy hot food and 21% buy made-to-order meals.5 Unlike fast-food venues which can focus on one primary staple – burgers, chicken, or tacos – convenience stores have the advantage of being able to offer a variety of foods to meet consumer demand. 39% of consumers make impulse purchases, and moreover, 71% of shoppers tout convenience store shopping as a place to discover new products.6 Food warmers provide a versatile way to serve all your patrons’ favorites. IntelliServ® countertop warmers keep various prepared meat sauces and toppings for chili or tacos at consistent temperatures all day. Soup Warmers give you the option of offering multiple flavors at one time with hinged lids that stay upright during ladling and individual thermostatic controls to achieve accurate heating for each soup variety. Stations are perfect of both FOH and BOH needs, keeping condiments, syrups, and toppings organized and integrated into your service line or grab-and-go area. Available options include cold serving stations, tiered WireWise® organizers, squeeze bottle holder units and fountain jar stations for easy access and efficiency across all dayparts.

Simple, yet effective upgrades to your foodservice program can elevate customer experiences and make your destination become the destination consumers choose. For more operator solutions, trends, and insights, enjoy these related blogs: Safe, Successful C-Store Foodservice is within Reach and Kick-Off Summer with Crave-Worthy LTOs.


1NCSolutions. NCS Convenient Insights: The C-store Shopper, 2022.
2NACS. U.S. Convenience Store Count. (2023, January 19). NACS.
3April 2022 NACS article titled Sales at U.S. C-Stores Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels.
4Time to Shop. NACS. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
5Are C-stores the next QSR? One survey says it’s ‘entirely possible.’ June 28, 2022. Restaurant Dive.
6Supermarket News, November 3, 2022.