Consumers like winners and industry leaders do as well. Nation’s Restaurant News is the go-to industry trade paper for multi-unit restaurant operators and industry insiders. This year when Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) publisher Randall Friedman announced the NRN 2012 Golden Chain Award winners no one was surprised to find Sheetz Inc. included.
Once known as a regional convenience store operator, today Sheetz is perceived as a restaurant that sells gasoline. Sheetz has help recast the image of convenience stores food from legacy CPG reseller to fresh prepared made-to-order ready-2-eat food. In fact for several years they have been calling themselves a restaurant that sells gasoline. Why not, Starbucks sells coffee machines, music and food, Cracker Barrel sells birdhouses, pancake mix, books and candy clearly Sheetz fits right in with award winning restaurants.
What Sheetz does exceptionally well is that they focus on made-to-order fresh prepared food. Which is one of the reasons that they are able to open invest roughly 5 million for each new store and open 30 new stores a year. Currently Sheetz operates 425 units in 6 states including their home state of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.
The primary driver of the grocerant niche is quality food bundled as components allowing and promoting consumer choice. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family. When a family can mix and match components everyone wins. Sheetz understands that individualization leads to differentiation and their Made-to-order food is a success clue for industry insiders. Congratulations on your Golden Chain Award.
Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant