WAWA, Pa. — Over the past few years Wawa Inc. has transitioned from a traditional convenience store operator to a convenient food retailer. Now, the chain is sharpening its focus on foodservice.
As the convenience store chain marked its 52nd anniversary on April 14, President and CEO Chris Gheysens told Philly.com that foodservice and beverage account for more than 50 percent of Wawa's revenue.
According to Gheysens, it is hard to categorize Wawa since it has evolved from a traditional convenience store to more of a hybrid convenience-restaurant to go.
"We still sell a tremendous amount of traditional convenience products, such as cigarettes, cold beverages and snacks," he said. "But a differential for our brand has been fresh food. In the last decade, we've been dedicated to quality and assortment, like you would find in a fast casual, or even a sit-down restaurant."
Taking its dedication to foodservice a step further — if possible — for the first time Wawa is hiring a food and beverage manager, and a food and beverage supervisor for each store this year, according to the report.
That comes on the heels of the retailer's move to hire more than 5,000 new associates this spring. The new hires will be spread across its 700-plus store footprint, as CSNews Online previously reported.
In addition, Wawa plans to open a new location with indoor seating in the Center City area of Philadelphia. The c-store is slated to welcome customers by the end of the year.
"Center City has responded," Gheysens told Philly.com. "As a result, we are opening another location in the city."
Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, the new store's landlord, said the new location "is a great validation for us of the maturity of the Market Street west corridor. What historically has been just office buildings, has become a fully integrated, mixed-use neighborhood."
There are 38 Wawa stores within the city limits, according to the news outlet.
Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce told Philly.com the 1900 Market St. location is looking to hire 60 to 70 associates. The store will have two entrances and 25 bar seats, and be among the largest in the chain at 7,000 square feet
A typical Wawa measures between 4,500-5,000 square feet.
The Wawa-based retailer operates more than 700 stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.