There’s no question that fast food, once a quick and affordable fix for one’s hunger, has now reached prices where consumers are starting to question its worth. A TikTok video from December 2022 has recently recirculated on the platform in which a customer shows the receipt for a McDonald’s meal that cost $16.10, sparking debate about whether these prices are justified. (Some people even point the finger directly at President Biden.)
Yet amidst these fast food price increases, people still need a way to eat quickly and cheaply on the go. And more of them might now eschew the drive-thru in favor of a different type of establishment altogether: convenience stores.
Restaurant Business reports that consumers seeking meals outside the home might start opting for meals from their local convenience store chains—and there’s some polling data to support that.
According to data collected by food service intelligence company Technomic, 54% of convenience store patrons say they’re reducing restaurant visits due to cost, but only 30% say they’re buying food service items from convenience stores less often for the same reason.
Donna Hood Crecca of Technomic tells Restaurant Business:
“One reason the majority are staying engaged with c-store foodservice is they find value in the offering. Our data shows that nearly seven in 10 consumers are satisfied with the value of c-store foodservice, with satisfaction highest for beverages, including self-serve and made-to-order hot and cold offerings, as well as roller grill, made-to-order food items and the cold case.”
Crecca says that if convenience stores are going to grab more food service customers, it’d be likely be taking them from the fast food market. But convenience stores still need a carrot on a stick, such as seasonal flavors and global ones—like the Korean BBQ flavored taquitos that 7-Eleven is currently offering (in addition to the Korean BBQ-flavored boneless chicken wings it offered earlier this year).
I’m biased, since I’m Korean, but I’d skip the McDouble at McDonald’s just to see if a Korean BBQ taquito is any good, especially if I were in some sort of time crunch. And if I were stopping by 7-Eleven for a taquito, then, of course, I’d probably want a drink, and maybe a bag of chips on the side or something. That’s pretty much a full meal, right?
Suddenly, the few bucks I was going to spend at McDonald’s has found itself in totally different hands. And considering how expensive it is to grab fast-casual or fast food nowadays, you just might find me in line at 7-Eleven, Wawa, or Casey’s with a hot dog in one hand and a drink in the other.