Google defines destination as “being a place that people will make a special trip to visit.” It is true that destination is not a word commonly used to describe convenience stores; however, finding a way to turn your store into a destination is the best way to attract new customers and keep them coming back.
Perception vs Reality
As you are well aware, convenience stores are no longer just gas stations that also sell a few food and beverage items. Today, foodservice has become the number one profit category for convenience stores. However, as political consultant Lee Atwater famously said “perception is reality” and many consumers still have an outdated perception of c-stores. Are you a destination or simply a stop along the way to work for fuel? If the answer is “a stop along the way,” it’s time to make a change.
Clear Identity = Success
Convenience is what brings customers in. Experience is a big part of what keeps them coming back. The key is to offer a unique product that gives them a reason to return. In other words, find your identity and find success.
Here are two examples of stores that have established their niche with a unique product or service offering.
Family Express has entered the upscale coffee business with self-serve espresso and latte machines. In a nwi.com article, the new machines are referred to as “the Lamborghini of espresso dispensers.” The company is also planning to expand its bakery to keep up with the popularity of their square doughnuts, muffins and other sweets.
In a recent, Market Force survey QuikTrip was named North America’s favorite convenience store chain thanks in large part to their focus on offering fresh food and specialty drinks. QuickTrip has full-service counters that dish out made-to-order food daily; including frozen treats such as milkshakes and ice cream cones. Real fruit smoothies, frozen lemonades, and Frappe are just a few of their specialty drinks.
What Are You Known For?
Will your customers drive out of their way for a fresh cup of specialty coffee, movie style popcorn or one-of-a-kind sandwiches? Finding the right products can mean the difference between customers choosing your store— or the one down the road. It’s also important not to forget that foodservice is about more than food. It’s also about people. It’s about hospitality and friendly, professional service.
Is it time for you specialize? Trying to be all things to all people is not a winning strategy. Find your niche, create loyal customers and watch the profits roll in.
Quantum Services knows exactly how establishing your niche leads to success. We are the largest auditing firm to focus exclusively on c-stores. Because of this focus, we know exactly what to look for, where to look for it, and what to do about it. Reach out to Quantum Services to learn how our exclusive approach can help you.