Convenience stores have been relatively sheltered from the disruption of e-commerce since a significant percentage of sales are from impulse purchases.
As cstore retailers focus on driving traffic to their stores, more and more retailers are entering the fresh and prepared food categories. In Canada, 7-Eleven has led the industry in fresh and prepared categories for decades. Western Canadians acceptance of these categories at convenience stores has been around for decades. Eastern Canadians are slowly (I mean slowly) adopting the notion that great tasting fresh and prepared foods can be purchased at their local cstores.
As convenience stores shift to offer healthier products in response to consumer awareness of eating well, one of the best opportunities maybe breakfast sandwiches. Delivered frozen, they are easy to prepare and offer on the front counter. They make a perfect sale with a coffee and can help drive traffic to your stores in the morning rush hour.
Almost all the major QSR’s (McDonalds, A&W, Burger King, etc.,) are offering breakfast sandwiches and fresh coffee. They have no intention of losing ground to any competitors, especially convenience stores that south of the border, have been eating their breakfast and lunch (so to speak).
Wawa, a leading edge cstore retailer in the US, commented that their breakfast daypart represented 35% of their total business and is growing at a faster rate than any other daypart. Kwik Trip, with some 600 locations in the US indicated that breakfast accounts for 40% of their chain’s hot food sales yielding 40% gross margins. They offer breakfast sandwiches in their grab-and-go cases 24 hours a day (McDonald’s offers breakfast 24 hours a day).
Foods have to be safely handled, not refrozen, and kept at the optimal temperature to ensure quality and freshness. Well new equipment mights be expensive, there is a massive used market created by the large number of restaurants that go out of business each year. Entry into offering breakfast sandwiches might not be expensive or risky as you may have thought.