The layout of convenience stores plays a significant role in consumers' purchasing decisions. 

CHICAGO – An eye for design can help drive consumer purchases of convenience store foodservice items, Technomic said in its report “Food-Forward C-store Design.” Technomic is a leading consumer and market research firm, which collaborated on the survey with Chute Gerdeman, a retail innovation, insights, and design firm.

Lynn Rosenbaum, vice-president of brand environments at Chute Gerdeman 

“As convenience stores see increased cross-category competition with both retail and foodservice providers, it’s important to understand what is driving consumers into the store and keep them coming back,” said Lynn Rosenbaum, vice president, brand environments at Chute Gerdeman. “The environment and experience are key to building brand loyalty and we sought to understand how changing values and behaviors influence how consumers want to engage and interact with the convenience store and dining moving forward.”

The survey used heat maps to allow survey respondents to indicate particularly appealing elements of different design concepts. The survey revealed that:

  • An updated, elevated store ambience sends a message about the operator’s commitment to foodservice and conveys cleanliness and quality.
  • Ease of navigation is prioritized, and clearly delineated foodservice preparation, display and dining areas heighten the appeal of menu offerings.
  • Consumers value foodservice quality and freshness cues in convenience stores. Consumers want to see the prepared foods offered, and they appreciate other visual elements that support the quality and freshness of the offerings.

The report insights, gleaned from an interactive online survey of 1,000 consumers, found that convenience store operators can meet evolving consumer demands and preferences for prepared foods and beverages through store layout, décor and design.

Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic 

“Foodservice is now a strategic priority for the majority of convenience retailers, and the competitive landscape requires them to raise the bar on store design to increase consumer appeal,” said Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic. “Understanding which layouts meet consumer needs and message quality is crucial.”