With consumers’ increased demands for expediency, the lines that originally distinguished c-stores from other types of retail have blurred. Grocery stores, restaurants, drug stores, department stores, and specialty shops are all delivering on the customer’s desire for convenience—with delivery.
Selling pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, and beverages has long been a c-store staple, but with the surge in digital ordering and third-party delivery services, consumers can now turn to other food outlets, including their favorite restaurants, to get the same convenience.
C-stores get in on the act
Delivery has redefined what c-store operators can do to appeal to consumers who place a strong value on both convenience and access to healthier food choices. Customers may not automatically think of their favorite c-store as a food destination, but finding fresh prepared ready-to-eat food options checks a lot of boxes for those looking to save time when it comes to picking up lunch or dinner. This is especially true in areas without adequate access to grocery stores or finer dining. In many rural communities, c-stores often serve as a main source of food for some customers.
With an investment in how food items are prepared and packaged to meet consumer demand, and by looking and acting more like restaurants, delivery is now a viable option for c-stores. In addition, using a delivery service can enhance a store’s opportunity to deliver a satisfying customer experience.
In addition to convenience as a leading customer expectation, consumers expect that their order will be delivered safely and packaged correctly. Based on previous studies by US Foods, a major health concern with food deliveries is tampering. Since that study in 2017, many restaurants have started using stickers or labels over their food containers, bags, and boxes to make it evident if someone has tried to open them.
For example, DayMark Safety Systems offers TamperSeal™ labels as a way to secure delivered food and provide customers with peace of mind. TamperSeal labels feature security slits that cause the label to lose its integrity if someone attempts to open the container. If the seal is broken upon delivery, it is a clear indication that the food may have been tampered with.
Using a strong adhesive to keep the label attached to the package, TamperSeal labels are printed using DayMark’s MenuPilot® platform and can include information such as a store logo, a web address, safe handling instructions, date and time the food was prepared, marketing material, and nutritional and other customized information that is important to consumers.
As consumer expectations continue to increase, reliance on delivery services for everyday needs will also increase. Providing customers with convenient, safe food delivery builds a competitive advantage that will help weather whatever the next trend brings.
Article originally appeared on the Convenience Store News website.