It is a transitional moment for convenience stores and today’s decisions will shape the industry for the decades to come. Owing to three pivotal trends c-stores must embrace or reject (fresh food, frictionless checkout, and cannabis sales), a new crop of omnichannel grocery competitors, and continued concerns regarding safety, c-store operators have a lot to think about moving into the new decade.
Alcohol is big business—sure, cannabis is starting to encroach on the after work ‘take the edge off’ market, but alcohol remains as American as apple pie (which is also a type of moonshine). Among changing demographics, social attitudes, and relationships to substances, we thought it was a good time to put our finger on the pulse of the drinking nation.
The cannabis industry, though becoming more accepted and mainstream every day, remains shrouded in uncertainty and even taboo. This obscures the many ways the industry will, and indeed already is, shaping retail, manufacturing, grocery, c-store, and food service.
Grocery shopping ain’t what it used to be. With omnichannel and digital-only challengers threatening legacy grocery’s status quo, operators are racing to build out their omnichannel operations, ranging from in-store pickup of digitally ordered items (click and collect) to rapid grocery delivery (Amazon’s got it down to 2 hours or less).
Casual dining chains have taken a beating lately and are doing what they can to stay on their feet. From recent attention grabs—IHOP put its thing down, flipped it, and reversed it; Applebee's went to $1 happy hour drinks—to revitalized menus a-la Macaroni Grill, casual dining chains are pulling out all the stops.