C-Store Grab & Go Success: It’s All in the Label

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By Jill Carte - 07/03/2019

More than one-fourth of c-store shoppers say they value convenience, of course. But they also want more nutrition information and greater emphasis on healthy ingredients.

To compete for customer loyalty in today’s marketplace, more c-store owners are turning to the grab & go segment. A vital component in the race for loyalty and repeat business in grab & go is a well-displayed, accurate and detailed label. We know this from multiple surveys of c-store and supermarket customers.

Freshly prepared meals-to-go and fresh-and-ready snacks allow convenience stores to both please customers and increase store volume. Offering these while guarding profitability means a plan must be in place. Smart tools, such as automated labeling software, menu and ingredient management, and quick, easy, flexible label printing are key components here.

Let the label tell your fresh story

While it’s true that consumers want fresh, local, clean and convenient food, providing this type of food is only part of a solid plan. It needs to be made clear to shoppers what’s inside the package. Female and millennial customers, especially, want to see clear labeling with detailed nutrition facts, date, and a list of every single ingredient. With the multiple food allergies we’re facing today, this becomes a vital health issue – not just personal preference.

For c-stores that offer fresh prepared food and clear labeling of ingredients with nutrition facts, strong indicators point to huge potential to gain customer loyalty and fresh food market share like never before.

Transparency is a hot topic throughout our culture and the c-store landscape is no different. Shoppers nationwide say they want more transparency, especially when it comes to the ingredients of fresh prepared foods. They want calorie counts, sodium content, accurate product dating, and detailed ingredient information. They want fresh, and they want evidence. Indicators show that c-stores that provide the clearest, most informed labels will win more business.

Got convenient and healthy products? Tell them

Fast food kitchens, juice bars, bakeries and in-store automation systems are all becoming part of the c-store landscape. As with all aspects of store operations, the entire picture must be considered.

Labels play an important sales role. How quickly can customers see what you’re offering? Remember, if convenience is king, fresh is queen. Quickly identified contents, ingredients and nutrition facts clearly listed on the label provide that convenience by delivering the information shoppers want. Easy in, easy decision, easy out with fresh foods they can be proud to eat and serve their families.

Automated fresh food labeling, a positive trend

We’ve already established that having the right label on your fresh prepared convenience food products is imperative. The next question for c-store operators is, how to provide this kind of accurate, detailed labeling without adding unnecessary overhead, like labor and equipment repairs.

One c-store and supermarket supplier that is making great strides in the area of fresh food labeling automation is DayMark Safety Systems. The company’s popular MenuPilot® kitchen automation platform is turning heads among c-store operators everywhere. Delis, bakeries, kitchens, juice bars and multiple other fresh food operations, including many within convenience stores, are using systems like this to manage recipes, train staff and produce labels while reducing costs and presenting more appealing product that is clearly labeled, the way consumers want it.

“We find that customers especially value the ability to securely and efficiently pull in updates via the cloud at the store level,” says Jill Carte, Director of Product Development at DayMark. “This includes real-time changes that can be communicated to staff at all locations via a sync operation in the app.”

DayMark’s leading edge platform utilizes a comprehensive database of ingredients, making it easy to build and manage recipes and menu data. A dashboard at the corporate level seamlessly integrates with an app in the kitchen, providing expanded menu management capabilities.

A robust printer with a variety of label options

Of course, the best labeling automation system is useless without a solid, reliable printer. Traditionally, label printers have been cumbersome, expensive and difficult to maintain—however, newer models are breaking this mold.

DayMark’s Matt85™ label printer, available as part of the MenuPilot platform, allows users to print labels wirelessly using the app on an Android tablet via a Bluetooth connection. For this robust, compact printer, DayMark Safety Systems offers dissolvable labels, unique die-cut shapes, wet compatibility and removable versions in widths up to four inches.  

“It’s a premium direct thermal printer at a cost just over $400 and it needs no repairs, so it pays for itself quickly while providing anytime, anywhere printing.” Carte says.

C-stores look to kitchen automation for help competing with big supermarkets

Smart c-store operators are utilizing advanced automation as a way to reduce costs while improving product identification, safety, rotation, and overall sales volume.  It can provide a simple-to-set-up, affordable competitive edge that allows c-stores to go head-to-head with supermarkets in the fresh food, grab & go and snacks categories.

C-stores today are looking for fast, accurate labeling capabilities that can tie to other in-store technologies and meet shopper demands for fresh, clean, convenient foods. And companies like DayMark are developing the kinds of solutions they’re looking for.

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