Convenience store, food service
Consumers want to see the prepared foods offered in convenience stores.

CHICAGO — An eye for design may help drive consumer purchases of convenience store food service items, Technomic said in its report “Food-Forward C-store Design.” Technomic, a leading consumer and market research firm, collaborated on the survey with Chute Gerdeman, a retail innovation, insights and design firm.

lynn Rosenbaum, Chute Gerdeman
 Lynn Rosenbaum, vice-president of brand environments at Chute Gerdeman

“As convenience stores see increased cross-category competition with both retail and food service providers, it’s important to understand what is driving consumers into the store and keep them coming back,” said Lynn Rosenbaum, vice-president of brand environments at Chute Gerdeman. “The environment and experience are key to building brand loyalty, and we sought to understand how changing values and behaviors influence how consumers want to engage and interact with the convenience store and dining moving forward.”

The survey used heat maps to allow respondents to indicate particularly appealing elements of different design concepts. The survey revealed that:

  • An updated, elevated store ambience sends a message about the operator’s commitment to food service and conveys cleanliness and quality.
  • Ease of navigation is prioritized, and clearly delineated food service preparation, display and dining areas heighten the appeal of menu offerings.
  • Consumers value food service quality and freshness cues in convenience stores. Consumers want to see the prepared foods offered, and they appreciate other visual elements that support the quality and freshness of the offerings.
  • The report insights, gleaned from an interactive on-line survey of 1,000 consumers, found that convenience store operators can meet evolving consumer demands and preferences for prepared foods and beverages through store layout, decor and design.
Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic
Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic
“Food service is now a strategic priority for the majority of convenience retailers, and the competitive landscape requires them to raise the bar on store design to increase consumer appeal,” said Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic. “Understanding which layouts meet consumer needs and message quality is crucial.”