Expanding Foodservice to the Forecourt

With gas margins in flux, the upcoming EMV investment cycle, and pressure from adjacent industries such as QSRs and drug stores, retailers are increasingly looking for ways to better serve their customers and improve margins. Here are two effective ways to change the way you interact with your customers:

  1. Drive more in-store traffic. With 2/3 of fueling customers never entering the store, driving consumers inside through media, couponing, or advertising is one way to capture more consumer spend.
  2. Use technology to accelerate your foodservice program. Fast casual foodservice is growing at 11% (NACS) and offers healthy margins; trends that mix nicely with the need to differentiate a site in an increasingly competitive market. Using foodservice solutions inside the store can help increase sales by 30%, but going beyond in-store kiosks by bringing ordering to the forecourt is a new technology that could further drive foodservice growth.

We recently partnered with Square One Markets out of Pennsylvania to test a new technology that allows you to order items at the dispenser. Here is the basics of how it works:

  • A retailer chooses their menu options – in this case Square One chose to focus on their high volume tobacco products along with some pre-packaged food and beverage items.
  • The 10.4” color screens present the menu immediately once the fueling transaction begins.
  • The customer chooses an option and a receipt is printed with the order details. Simultaneously, the order information is sent inside to the kitchen monitor for store staff to prepare.
  • After fueling is complete, the customer simply presents their ticket at the drive thru window or inside to pay and pick up their items.
Ordering Food at the Pump - Square One MarketsWhile it is only in a proof of concept phase, there is promising value in this technology. First, there is a high likelihood a customer will see the menu options, which means that they are now aware of a foodservice or other in store offering. They may not participate the first time, but during return visits, the likelihood of engaging with the in-store offering at the pump increases due to the increased awareness. Second, if a customer goes inside the store to purchase their merchandise, there is also an increased chance they will add related items, such as drinks or additional snacks to their basket. Third, a new and innovative solution can often be the deciding factor between two adjacent retailers. The more customized and relevant services a site provides, the more they can differentiate themselves from the competition.

Though we are testing this new technology, make sure to stay tuned for ongoing updates on ordering at the pump.


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