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Convenience Stores Biting Off More of Sandwich Market

With personalization, fresh ingredients and touchscreen ordering, convenience retailers have made significant inroads into sandwiches.
October 11, 2017

DENVER – Increasingly, supermarkets are finding that convenience stores are their toughest competitors, especially when it comes to fresh sandwiches, Supermarket News reports. In recent years, the convenience store industry has been steadily working to overcome its image as one that serves less-than-tasty food, and has found considerable success with high-quality, made-to-order sandwiches.

Chains like Sheetz and Wawa have become destinations for sandwiches, something that newcomers want to emulate. For example, Choice Market, which calls itself a fast-causal restaurant/urban convenience store, started with a sandwich menu. “Sandwiches are still the leader of the pack,” Mike Fogarty, CEO/founder, said. “We wanted a selection of hot sandwiches made from freshly prepared proteins and cold sandwiches from higher end deli meats, and also a plant-based ingredient program.”

Giant Eagle’s GetGo convenience store chain leaned on Giant’s knowledge to craft its foodservice program. “For the longest time, a convenience store was not the first place to come to mind for people looking for a fresh, high-quality meal solution on the go,” said Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle spokeswoman. “As customer habits and preferences have evolved, we realized an opportunity to meet that need.”

GetGo has a new grab-and-go program called Great to Go by Market District with high-quality salads, sandwiches, soups and wraps. “Understanding that our customers have varying needs and preferences, we strive to make available a variety of on-the-go meal solutions so that they never have to sacrifice taste or quality for time and convenience,” she said.

“Ultimately, convenience stores don’t sell products or services – they sell time, so all of this has to happen within a time frame that is acceptable to time-starved customers,” Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives, said. “Sometimes they can wait and hang out, but other times they want it fast and fresh.”