Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of U.S Convenience Store Foodservice market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

With a massive shift of Americans at home and off the roads during the pandemic, and to some degree, after it, convenience stores must make their shopping experiences shorter, safer and more convenient than ever before to grow their foodservice business. This means testing and expanding low- or no-contact in-store shopping, digital ordering, delivery and pickup options – including drive-thru service – and considering more mobile formats, from food trucks to pop-up shops.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on consumer behavior and convenience store foodservice.
  • Recessionary and recessionary recovery impacts on convenience store foodservice.
  • How convenience stores can speed up foodservice recovery and better compete with other foodservice channels.
  • How the notion of convenience is changing for consumers as a result of the pandemic.

Covered in this report

Brands featured in this report: 7-Eleven, Laredo Taco Company, Stripes, Popeyes, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, QuickTrip, Kwik Chek, Casey’s General Stores, Alltown Fresh and many more.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Jill Failla, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Convenience stores’ foodservice sales are suffering during the pandemic due to far fewer drivers on the roads and an increase in online and bulk grocery shopping. Temporary halts of self-service foodservice options also hurt sales in 2020. C-stores must recover foodservice sales by stealing a page from restaurants’ playbooks and investing in digital ordering, takeout, delivery and even drive-thru services.

Jill Failla
Senior Foodservice Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: convenience store foodservice context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of convenience store foodservice sales, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on convenience store foodservice
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on convenience store foodservice, February 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • C-store visitation depressed with fewer drivers on the road
      • Figure 3: Convenience store visitation, January 2020 and December 2020
      • Figure 4: Convenience store visitation frequency, January 2020 and December 2020
    • eCommerce adoption creates long-term c-store foodservice threat
      • Figure 5: COVID-19 behaviors, April 2020-January 2021
    • Target Heavy C-Store Consumers with digital kids and family meal deals
      • Figure 6: Desired improvements at convenience stores, by parents, December 2020
    • Appeal to young consumers with restaurant-quality takeout and delivery services
      • Figure 7: Convenience store attitudes – NET agreement, by generation, December 2020
    • Consider the limited-time c-store to both drive and meet consumer demand
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • With Americans at home and off the road, c-stores suffer
    • C-stores shouldn’t feel too many negative effects of economic downturn
    • Pandemic shifts Americans’ overall retail behaviors for better or worse
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • C-store foodservice sales won’t recover until 2022
      • Figure 8: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of convenience store foodservice sales, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 9: Total US convenience store foodservice sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on convenience store foodservice
      • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on convenience store foodservice, February 2021
    • COVID-19: US context
  5. Segment Performance

    • C-store dispensed beverages are hit hard during pandemic
      • Figure 11: Total US convenience store foodservice sales and forecast, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 12: Total US convenience store foodservice sales and forecast, by segment, at current prices, 2015-2025
  6. Market Factors

    • Most car owners are driving less often as a result of the pandemic
      • Figure 13: Driving frequency during pandemic, October 2020
    • C-stores are somewhat recession-resistant
      • Figure 14: Total US foodservice sales at convenience stores, at current prices, 2009-14
      • Figure 15: US restaurant sales, at current prices, 2008-13
    • Brick-and-mortar shopping habits shift as a result of pandemic
      • Figure 17: Changes in shopping behaviors during COVID-19, August 2020
      • Figure 18: COVID-19 behaviors – shopping online, April 2020-January 2021
    • Amazon Go is beefing up foodservice, licensing cashierless tech
    • Flavored tobacco bans may harm traffic
  7. Market Opportunities

    • Pop-up and mobile c-stores can spur – and meet – demand
    • Drive-thru opportunity grows exponentially
    • Invest in less-traditional c-store dayparts
      • Figure 19: Wawa email, “Let us take care of dinner tonight!” September 14, 2020
  8. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Foodservice falters, but c-stores keep close eye on fried chicken, seasonal LTOs
    • Off-premise takes off as a result of COVID-19 crisis
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • Foodservice investments continue despite pandemic setbacks
    • Leading up to 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Recovery begins
    • Fried chicken wars
    • Seasonality drives demand
      • Figure 20: Sheetz’ Halloween beverage LTOs, October 2020
    • Lower-contact shopping proliferates
    • Delivery service blows up
  10. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Black consumers are key to c-store foodservice success
    • Cater to business-critical dads with digital-focused and off-premise family deals
    • C-stores must reconsider foodservice options and service formats, including clerk-served and takeout-friendly formats, to boost pandemic losses
  11. Convenience Store Visitation

    • Gas station c-stores must work the hardest to recover from the pandemic
      • Figure 21: Convenience store visitation, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Gas station c-stores can recover faster by appealing to core Black customer base
      • Figure 22: Convenience store visitation, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
  12. Convenience Store Visitation Frequency

    • C-stores should leverage strength as a speedy, short shopping trip that is perceived as safer to some for frequent visits
      • Figure 23: Convenience store visitation frequency, by c-store consumer segmentation, December 2020
    • Some Heavy C-Store Consumers became Light ones due to pandemic
      • Figure 24: Convenience store visitation frequency, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Target Heavy C-Store Consumers with more kids menu options
      • Figure 25: Convenience store visitation frequency, by Heavy C-Store Consumers and demographics, December 2020
  13. Convenience Store Food and Beverage Purchases

    • C-stores must reconsider service format, foodservice meal options to combat pandemic consumption losses
      • Figure 26: Convenience store food and beverage purchases, January 2020 and December 2020
    • Boost sales among young consumers with fresh, MTO foodservice options
      • Figure 27: Convenience store food and beverage purchases, by generation, December 2020
    • Black Americans can also help recoup foodservice sales losses
      • Figure 28: Convenience store food and beverage purchases, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
    • Upsell bundled family meals to dads, who are the core c-store foodservice consumer
      • Figure 29: Convenience store food and beverage purchases, by parental status and gender, December 2020
  14. Reasons for Visiting Convenience Stores

    • Traditional offerings like gas and food won’t work as well for c-stores during the pandemic
      • Figure 30: Reasons for visiting convenience stores, January and December 2020
    • C-stores can attract more women by playing up time savings for food and beverage purchases
      • Figure 31: Convenience store visits to purchase food or beverages, by demographics, December 2020
  15. Convenience Store Behaviors

    • Convenience stores must improve upon delivery options
      • Figure 32: Convenience store behaviors, December 2020
    • Self-serve coffee programs need to do a better job of rivaling RTD coffee
      • Figure 33: Convenience store behaviors, by generation, December 2020
    • C-stores must boost loyalty program participation among Hispanics
      • Figure 34: Convenience store behaviors, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
    • Loyalty lags among less-frequent c-store visitors; loyalty programs could help
      • Figure 35: Convenience store behaviors, by parental status and gender, December 2020
  16. Prepared Food and Beverage Trial and Interest

    • C-stores should strongly consider juice and smoothie programs
      • Figure 36: Prepared food and beverage trial and interest, December 2020
      • Figure 37: Prepared food and beverage trial and interest – NET any trial or interest, December 2020
    • Young consumers are most likely to try new and different c-store prepared food and beverage options
      • Figure 38: Prepared food and beverage trial, by generation, December 2020
    • Hispanic and Black c-store customers drive interest in prepared beverage variety
      • Figure 39: Prepared food and beverage trial and interest – NET any trial or interest, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
  17. Desired Improvements at Convenience Stores

    • Demand continues for healthier c-store foods amid pandemic
      • Figure 40: Desired improvements at convenience stores, December 2020
    • Gen Zs want drive-thrus at c-stores
      • Figure 41: Desired improvements at convenience stores, by generation, December 2020
    • Lower-income c-store customers demand lower-contact c-store purchasing options
      • Figure 42: Desired improvements at convenience stores, by household income, December 2020
  18. Convenience Store Attitudes

    • C-stores should require customers to wear masks
      • Figure 43: Convenience store attitudes – NET agreement, December 2020
    • Young consumers drive interest in pop-up c-stores
      • Figure 44: Convenience store attitudes – NET any agree, by generation, December 2020
    • Black c-store customers are target audience for dinner
      • Figure 45: Convenience store attitudes – NET any agree, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2020
  19. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast methodology
    • Consumer survey data
    • Direct marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  20. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 46: Total US convenience store foodservice sales and forecast, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 47: Total US foodservice sales at convenience stores, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-14
  21. Appendix – The Consumer

    • Food/Drink Consumer Segmentation
      • Figure 48: Convenience store food and beverage purchases, by household income, December 2020
      • Figure 49: Prepared food and beverage trial and interest – NET any trial or interest, by generation, December 2020
      • Figure 50: Desired improvements at convenience stores, by parents, December 2020

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