Leveraging C-Store Inventory Management to Sell Hot Food

Operators in the convenience store industry are constantly seeking ways to expand services and integrate new inventory to capture market share in an increasingly competitive landscape. As groceries and restaurants emulate the convenience of the diverse grab-and-go inventories seen in many convenience stores, so to must the convenience store segment begin to disrupt the competition. One opportunity many retailers have turned to is a hot food program. Below, we’ll outline how to leverage your c-store inventory management software in order to first dominate the breakfast daypart, and then use your success in the morning to draw customers back in for lunch.

Get Your Feet Wet Before Diving into the Hot Food Market

While hot food programs built around the lunch daypart might seem the best route, it’s actually the breakfast daypart that provides retailers with the most bang for their buck and the most exposure to the launch of new items. This makes sense when you consider that of all day parts, convenience stores’ most loyal and consistent customer base visits in the mornings. The first five hours of operation are your highest traffic period, and giving your customers the ability to grab breakfast while they grab their coffee or energy drinks or tobacco for the day is a win for both parties.

Breakfast items also provide a lower cost per item and nominal ROI. The key to keeping waste low in the initial stages is to introduce two to three types of breakfast items and then leverage the retail inventory analytics generated by your inventory management software to determine top performers. Eliminate items customers aren’t buying, double down on those they are, and slowly roll in options to expand the menu, constantly evaluating the performance of each item through the analytic tools on-hand. Keep it simple with the minimal-touch approach of grab-and-go. This will also give your organization time to learn and embrace a foodservice culture for future expansion into other dayparts.

Emulate the competition’s offerings when possible, and give your customers a reason to streamline their morning by making your establishment the only stop they make, rather than having to make two or three stops to get everything they need for their daily or weekly routines.

Building Blocks for Future Program Expansion

Only once your operation has perfected hot food service in the breakfast daypart do you want to consider expanding into lunch and hot snacks throughout the day. The analytics that went into perfecting your breakfast service will be doubly important to ensure you are offering customers the lunch items they will crave. Local research into lunch habits will go a long way in helping you and your hot food provider determine what items should be featured in your establishment, and over time, the data generated by your inventory management system will help streamline and finetune the menu for sales growth.

Moving forward from the lunch daypart will require additional training and labor to support more complex preparation requirements. This will, in turn, requires access to a more advanced approach to scheduling and staff development and should be supported by your convenience store management software suite.

Our Products Serve Up Profitability

When it comes to providing a robust inventory management system, there are few service providers in the industry that can compete with Success Systems. Whether you’re a gas station looking to optimize your fuel management systems, a convenience store looking to launch a hot food program, or you just want a better, more efficient suite of products to manage your operation, Success Systems has the automation tools you need to outperform the competition. Contact us today to schedule a free demo.