Consumer Trends

Study details c-stores’ success in stealing QSR patrons

Photograph: Shutterstock

Close to half (43%) of consumers aged 19 to 34 are purchasing more meals from gas station convenience stores than they did three years ago, with one-fifth (20%) buying food there at least three times a month, according to a new study of c-stores’ inroads into foodservice.

The report, produced by gas station locator service GasBuddy, found that 56% of all adult consumers hit a stationside Circle K or other retailer for a meal at least once a month. Not coincidentally, it notes, 75% of the public believes c-stores’ ready-to-eat food options have improved during the past five years. 

The study suggests that c-stores are finding traction in their efforts to steal patrons away from quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Ironically, the data suggests the main reasons for defecting from QSRs are negatives once routinely associated with c-stores: few healthful choices, poor food quality, a dirty setting and limited choices. 

The study noted that respondents’ top food choices are virtually the same whether they’re hitting a c-store or a QSR. The most popular options within each channel are sandwichesor wraps, fresh salads, pizza, burgers and fries, and fried chicken.

GasBuddy found that younger consumers are driving the shift in convenience-driven purchases. One in 5 customers aged 19 to 34 spends an average of $10 to $15 per week on ready-to-eat c-store food.


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