Wawa Lands Among Yelp's Fastest-Growing Brands

The retailer's grab-and-go offerings generated a surge of consumer interest over the last year.
Angela Hanson

WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc.'s foodservice program continues to generate buzz both inside and outside the convenience store industry. 

Yelp Inc., which publishes crowd-sourced reviews about businesses, recently named Wawa the No. 5 on its first-ever list of the 50 fastest-growing brands. The list recognizes companies that have successfully executed growth strategies over the last year.

The c-store chain was also classified as a "challenger brand," which Yelp defines as businesses that are not market leaders but aim to compete by disrupting their industry.

[Read more: Wawa Offers Coffee Deal to Celebrate 60 Years]

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The list includes newly public companies, those that are scaling regionally and industry mainstays that are broadening their footprint. Featured brands are expanding at a fast rate nationally by state and geographical region. Businesses were ranked based on Yelp data that includes net-new location openings, consumer interest and searches, which combine to highlight how fast companies are opening new locations and growing existing ones.

According to the top 50 list, Wawa saw its grab-and-go food offerings resonate over the last year, with consumer interest nationally up 88%. The c-store chain saw its fastest growth in Virginia, Florida and New Jersey, where consumer interested surged 137%.

Other convenience channel-adjacent brands to appear on the list include:

  • Bojangles, No. 13: The quick-service Cajun chicken chain was the second-fastest growing brand in the Midwest, with a 26% increase in net new locations. The company announced last fall that it is developing its first set of unconventional restaurants inside 10 TravelCenters of America Inc. franchise locations in western markets.
  • Wetzel's Pretzels, No. 22: The brand saw a 67% increase in consumer interest nationwide. Its growth plans include expanding into new venues and formats such as c-stores.
  • Krispy Krunchy Chicken, No. 41: The chicken chain contributed to an "exploding" category and captured the No. 3 spot on the list of fastest growing brands in the West, with a 31% lift in consumer interest. It seeks to open more than 700 stores this year and exceed 3,500 locations by the end of 2024.

Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates approximately 1,000 c-stores throughout the Northeast and Florida. The retailer currently has plans to open more than 70 new convenience stores this year.

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