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Foodservice Sales Continue To Climb


Majority of retailers expect the category's sales and profits to grow again in 2012

Nearly two-thirds of convenience store operators expect to see their foodservice sales increase this year compared to 2011, according to the results of Convenience Store News' exclusive 2012 Foodservice Study.

Conversely, only about 5 percent expect their foodservice sales to decline in 2012, and about 32 percent forecast that their foodservice sales will at least remain the same.

In terms of profitability, a similar percentage (62 percent) expect to pocket increased profits from their foodservice operations this year and another 30 percent expect to match their 2011 profits in the foodservice category.

CSNews' annual Foodservice Study was conducted in May and builds on data collected for the 2012 CSNews Industry Report by collecting more in-depth foodservice category information and asking retailers to review how their current year's sales are tracking, as well as their 2011 performance.

As reported in CSNews' June 2012 Industry Report issue, food-service category sales grew 7.5 percent in 2011 (6.2 percent on a per-store basis) to $25.6 billion. Once again, growth in foodservice sales (including prepared food and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages) outpaced sales increases in all other in-store merchandise categories. Total merchandise sales (excluding foodservice) were up only 2.2 percent.

In 2011, prepared food, which posted a 10.6-percent increase in sales per store, and cold dispensed beverages, which saw sales rise 8.3 percent per store, were the stand-out subcategories. The hot and frozen dispensed beverage segments did not fare as well — both posting declines in per-store sales from the previous year. The average store saw its hot beverage sales drop by 2.6 percent and its frozen beverage sales decline by 2.9 percent. Both of these segments had experienced sales gains in 2010.

Results from this year's Foodservice Study show that well over 90 percent of respondents offer some kind of foodservice program. More than 97 percent sell hot dispensed beverages, 95 percent sell prepared food and nearly 92 percent sell cold or frozen dispensed beverages.

When it comes to generating sales, retailers report that more than half of their foodservice category sales comes from prepared food, while hot beverages (27.5 percent of sales) and cold/frozen beverages (21.8 percent of sales) split the remaining foodservice sales dollars.


One of the big findings of this year's Foodservice Study is the subtle shift in daypart sales. Lunch (at 37.9 percent of foodservice sales) and breakfast (at 20.8 percent) continue to generate the lion's share of category sales. About 15 percent of food-service sales are generated during the dinner daypart (4 p.m. to 6:59 p.m.). The three snack dayparts — morning, afternoon and evening — each generate between 7 percent and 8 percent of foodservice sales.

Sales increased the most this year in the lunch daypart (up 5.8 points in share of foodservice sales), evening snack (up 2.1 points) and late night (up 0.6 points). However, breakfast (down 3.2 points), morning snack (down 3 points), afternoon snack (down 1.9 points) and dinner (down 0.4 points) all slipped in foodservice sales share.

Many retailers interviewed by CSNews this year have said they are focused on improving breakfast results, including coffee program upgrades and new baked good programs. Several of the more advanced foodservice-oriented c-store retailers remain focused on growing the under-developed dinner daypart. Industry experts also point out that the snack periods remain under-developed as well and ripe for future c-store sales growth.

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