Foodservice is, increasingly, a strategic growth opportunity for convenience retailers. Given that, and the well-entrenched status of its supermarket competitors, the time is right for this store category to focus its sights on the role store design can play in attracting sales.
So confirms a new study, “Food-Forward C-store Design,” by foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic and retail branding and design agency Chute Gerdeman. Here, researchers set out to understand how layouts, design and decor support and respond to evolving consumer needs, demands and preferences for prepared foods and beverages.
The study, a clever, interactive one, invited some 1,000 consumers to use heat maps to reveal which elements of a store’s design most enthralled them.
The results were copious and revealing. Some highlights:
• An updated, elevated store ambience is vital to foodservice sales for the message it sends about the retailer’s commitment to foodservice, cleanliness and quality.
• Clearly delineated foodservice preparation, display and dining areas both ease navigation around them and heighten the appeal of their offerings.
• Consumers’ interest in foodservice quality and freshness must be catered to with commitment in convenience stores’ made-to-order stations, grab-and-go cases and hot/cold food bars.
“As convenience stores see increased cross-category competition with both retail and foodservice providers, it’s important to understand what is driving consumers into the store and keep them coming back,” Lynn Rosenbaum, vice president, brand environments, at Chute Gerdeman, said in conjunction with the release of the report.
“The environment and experience are key to building brand loyalty and we sought to understand how changing values and behaviours influence how consumers want to engage and interact with the convenience store and dining moving forward.”