Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 51

forged a partnership with FreshOne LLC, which
provides prepackaged, custom-designed, fresh food
programs nationwide to convenience stores, grocery
stores, and college campuses.
HEATING UP THE SEGMENT

Grab-and-go has the advantage of requiring less
employee labor than made-to-order programs, which
call for experience and training. Still, grab-and-go
isn't as simple as set-it-and-forget-it. While these
items may not be customizable, they still need to be
what customers desire.
"By offering a wide variety of convenient snack and
beverage choices made with unique and high-quality
ingredients that consumers are drawn to and desire,
retailers will be well-positioned to drive repeat visits
and repeat sales," a spokesman for PepsiCo Inc. noted.
The first step, according to Krebs of Rutter's,
is reexamining how and when certain grab-and-go
products are available to customers. Hot grab-andgo, in particular, can be a point of differentiation for
retailers, as these items have a temperature that conveys freshness.
Traditionally, hot grab-and-go items see the best
sales in the morning, when retailers can capitalize on
heavy morning foot traffic and the popularity of items
like breakfast sandwiches. But morning isn't the only
time of opportunity. Many retailers offer fewer hot
hold items as the day goes on - with some even putting the unit away - but this is a potentially costly
mistake, as lunch and dinnertime still offer worthwhile
opportunities for sales.
"I'm convinced the category is growing in other
dayparts," Krebs said. However, he cautions that if

Quality, variety and packaging are the three key aspects of any successful grab-and-go program.

hot items haven't been readily available at lunch and
dinnertime in the past, beginning to stock them won't
make a sudden difference. "You've already trained that
person that hot hold doesn't exist after breakfast."
The second step is to have patience. This is easier
said than done in the margin-driven convenience retail
business, but retailers must be aware that customers
are unlikely to shift their regular purchase habits just
because a new choice is presented. Marketing and promotions can help this along, but as a group, customers
are not going to make a quick change; it's a longerterm initiative.
Patience and timing also come into play when
introducing new flavor profiles, especially for small
operators and regional chains. Product innovation is a
good thing, but certain markets may be less likely to
embrace new things without a larger interest.
Krebs recounted an occasion when Rutter's
launched an upscale fish product, mahi-mahi bites,
with great optimism. It underperformed due to what
the company saw as the Pennsylvania market's hesitation to embrace the unfamiliar fish.
Similarly, overly spicy items used to be a hard sell,
but recently, as the use of sriracha grew trendier and
customers became more accustomed to products like
Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Rutter's saw more success in that
area. "Our customer base became more open and willing to participate in a spicier profile," Krebs explained.

WWW.CSNEWS.COM | JULY 2017 | Convenience Store News 51


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Convenience Store News - July 2017

Contents
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - Intro
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - Cover1
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - Cover2
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 3
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 4
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 5
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - Contents
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 7
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 8
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 9
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Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 15
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 16
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 17
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 18
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - N1
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - N2
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 19
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 20
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 21
Convenience Store News - July 2017 - 22
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Convenience Store News - July 2017 - Cover3
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Convenience Store News - July 2017 - U1
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