KANSAS CITY — Americans accustomed to swinging by a convenience store on their way to work or school for a freshly baked muffin, donut or Danish have seen their routine disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As more communities implement social distancing strategies, the foot traffic inside of c-stores has slowed. But just as important, c-stores have taken steps to limit potential exposure risks.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven has implemented several precautionary measures for all fresh food offerings. All of the c-store’s open-air fresh food items will be clerk-served, including taquitos, hot dogs, hot chicken wings and tenders and pizza. Meanwhile, the chain’s daily delivered fresh baked foods as well as any items baked in-store will now be sold pre-packaged.
7‑Eleven’s delivery service also has added a contactless delivery option where customers can indicate if they prefer the products are left at the door by the driver. Items available include beverages, fresh and hot foods, household items, groceries and more.
“7‑Eleven stands committed to providing our customers with what they want, when and where they want it even during this health crisis,” said Joseph M. DePinto, president and chief executive officer of 7‑Eleven. “We’ve been a leader in the convenience industry for over 93 years, and we’ll keep working hard every day to earn your trust and your business.”
Mr. DePinto said 7-Eleven is monitoring the situation closely and prioritizing the health of customers, employees and franchisees across more than 9,000 US stores.
“We know our stores serve an important role in the communities in which we operate, and we are dedicated to providing the products and services our customers need,” he said.
Sheetz, Inc., Altoona, Pa., operates more than 600 c-stores in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The company’s locations remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but company officials recently made the decision to suspend production of all baked foods.
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp., which operates more than 800 stores in 11 Midwest states, is handling its baked foods sales on a case-by-case basis. Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for QuikTrip, said the c-store has temporary shut down fresh bakery item sales in three markets: St. Louis, Kansas City and Wichita, Kan.
At Casey’s General Stores, Inc., Ankeny, Iowa, prepared foods have been moved to full service in all of the c-stores. As a result, Casey’s team members are directly serving guests pizza, baked foods and other prepared foods. Pizza, a key component of Casey’s food business, remains available for carryout and delivery. Casey’s said it is encouraging all delivery and carryout pizza guests to complete payment online to reduce contact at checkout. Casey’s operates more than 2,000 locations across 16 US Midwestern states.
Wawa, Inc., Wawa, Pa., is a chain of more than 850 c-stores located in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, DC. The c-store chain offers a large fresh food service selection, including Wawa brands such as built-to-order hoagies, hot breakfast sandwiches and baked foods.
As of March 20, Wawa began individually bagging all baked foods for customers. The c-store also has temporarily suspended all self-service fountain beverages, Icee drinks, cappuccino and iced coffee.