- The amount of money customers spent on foodservice items at convenience stores rose 8% in the three months ending in November compared to the same period a year ago, according to a Tuesday report by The NPD Group.
- The number of trips to c-stores for food and drinks also rose, increasing 2% year over year during the three month period.
- This growth coincides with a number of c-store operators focusing in on their foodservice options, with chains like Kum & Go beefing up fresh and healthy options.
The recent uptick in foodservice traffic and sales is a good sign for c-stores heading into 2023, and indicates that their efforts to promote and level-up their meal offerings are paying off.
The gains in visits reported by NPD were spread across different foodservice dayparts. Lunch and dinner both saw a 2% increase in visits, while breakfast — which accounts for about a quarter of c-store foodservice trips — saw a 3% bump in traffic and evening snack visits were up 4%.
The only daypart NPD measured that didn’t see an increase during the three-month period in question was afternoon snacking.
Burgers and breakfast sandwiches helped boost the numbers. Burger servings were up 12% during the three-month span, making their presence felt in lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks. Meanwhile, servings of breakfast sandwiches increased 8%.
“Convenience store foodservice is benefiting by more people commuting to and from school and work and generally out and about more,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America, in the press release. “The growth in convenience store foodservice visits is a positive sign for the U.S. foodservice industry overall.”
Foodservice is an increasingly important part of c-store offerings as they go head to head with QSRs. Some chains build around a particular food item, like Casey’s pizza or Royal Farms’ chicken. Others are building up their fresh food menu, like Kum & Go, or are adding proprietary restaurants, like Cumberland Farms and its recently launched Ria’s Pizzeria.
These gains in foodservice extend a strong showing from 2021, when prepared foods made up almost 14% of in-store convenience store sales in 2021, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ State of the Industry report.