New Study Analyzes What Well-Loved C-stores Do Well

EUGENE, Ore. — Friendly service, good food and fair prices all play a role in making a convenience store a favorite among U.S. consumers, according to a new study conducted by retail design firm King Retail Solutions (KRS).

When shoppers were asked what they appreciate most in their favorite c-store, 43 percent replied friendly staff, 35 percent said fresh prepared food, and 33 percent said low prices. Cleanliness (23 percent) and beverage options (21 percent) rounded out the top five.

Finishing out the top 10 were food/snack options (19 percent), that it's fast (9 percent), shelves were well stocked (8 percent), offers a rewards card (7 percent), and open 24 hours (7 percent).

Looking at gender and region, males gave high marks to the top three factors in almost equal numbers. Women gave higher marks to friendly staff (50 percent), and viewed fresh food and low prices on an almost equal level.

The KRS survey also found that consumers in the West and South gave the highest praise to friendly service, while consumers in the Midwest and Northeast cited fresh food as the No. 1 factor.

Looking at specific c-store chains:

  • 7-Eleven, Chevron, Circle K, Kwik Trip, MAPCO and Sunoco received high marks for friendly service;
  • ampm, Cumberland Farms, Flash Foods, GetGo by Giant Eagle and Speedway received high marks for low prices;
  • Casey's General Stores, RaceTrac, Sheetz, Turkey Hill, United Dairy Farmers, Wawa and Valero received high marks for fresh food; 
  • Shell received high marks for cleanliness; and
  • Tedeschi Food Shops received high marks for being open 24 hours.

For the study, KRS identified and surveyed 40 top-rated convenience stores/chains in 22 cities from the West, Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the United States. In addition, the 550 most recent Yelp! reviews — approximately 140 from each region — were analyzed. Any pros and cons mentioned in the reviews were identified and cataloged.

To view the full KRS report online or download a PDF copy, click here.

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