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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Customizable Offerings to Keep Customers Energized

Customers consistently rank hot brewed coffee at C-Stores above other foodservice segments. With the influx of Millennials and Generation Z who are seeking alternative milks, new flavors, and candy toppings,1 C-Stores have an opportunity to draw an even larger crowd with customizable beverage solutions. Visitors value the expediency that C-Stores offer with regard to hot brewed coffee selection,1 and appreciate innovation around coffee flavors, creamers, and creamer formats.2

Coffee & Creamers

Brewed hot coffee continues to be a popular beverage choice across the board, with nearly 50% of people having at least one cup of coffee per day. Tap water is the only drink that is more popular.3

C-Store visitors want the ability to customize a beverage, and they typically choose to customize with dairy and sweeteners. Whereas 72% of foodservice customers in the U.S. cream their coffee on most of their visits, 86% of 7-Eleven’s frequent customers cream their coffee on most occasions.4 Although traditional creamer flavors still reign, C-Stores customers look for out-of-the-box options as well,2 which operators can provide as limited time offers (LTOs). Seasonal flavors garner high interest from consumers, with 35% saying they are interested in seasonal offerings.5

Flavored creamers appeal to guests

  • Half & Half
  • Hazelnut
  • Original
  • French vanilla
  • Pumpkin spice
  • Peppermint mocha
  • Irish crème
  • Salted Chocolate Caramel

C-Store customers prefer certain beverage condiment packages over others; although, currently less favorable creamer formats are growing in popularity. Over 40% of C-Store customers who use beverage condiments want individual serving packets, and 22% like to use automatic dispenser machines. Two formats that are growing are original full-sized containers and carafes, especially as the number of beverage condiment selections increase. Brand names on the original packaging can assist customers in identifying their favorite products.1 Full-sized containers and carafes could minimize labor costs as well as help prevent waste and theft.

Ask an expert: Renee Fahoome
Nestlé Professional, national account manager

“Convenience Stores can set up separate creaming stations for more of a coffee house appeal – something Millennials seek. With multiple creaming solutions and better flow through the store, a creamer station reduces line size and increases efficiency for all involved.”

Cold brew

Cold brew is a smooth, less bitter, and less acidic beverage option gaining traction across foodservice segments.

Around 65% of consumers indicate their last cold brew coffee beverage was flavored, and 80% of other consumers would be interested in trying flavored cold brew coffee.2 By offering flavored creamers as part of a creamer station, C-Store operators can attract an even wider coffee audience.


Another beverage with the potential to energize operators’ menus are smoothies. Since smoothies have a high interest with consumers but are not on many C-Store menus,1 operators can draw in crowds by showcasing this healthful beverage option front and center.

Many consumers are willing to pay more for items with better-for-you descriptors,6 so point out when smoothies are made using fruits and vegetables

Food combos "Refuel"

Both smoothies and coffee pair well with C-Store menu items. Customers want foods and beverages that can be purchased as part of a combo meal, and they are more likely to order a healthier combo if it is in a lower price range.6

Ask an expert: Renee Fahoome
Nestlé Professional, national account manager

"Customers have to get gas, so that helps C-Stores pull people into the store. If I go in and grab my coffee or breakfast foods at a QSR or coffee shop, I’m waiting in line. But if I have somewhere I can customize my food and beverage by going in the store while I’m pumping my gas, that creates a draw. It’s a one-stop shop."

Operators can maintain flavor and still offer better-for-you combos. Breakfast especially is growing in popularity at a rapid pace.1 Hot-brewed coffee pairs well with breakfast sandwiches. Since protein-packed egg whites have grown 30% on QSR menus,7 C-Stores can tap into those customers by providing egg white breakfast sandwiches as part of an energizing combo meal with a coffee or smoothie.

Operators can also pair smoothies with protein-rich, energy-boosting snacks such as packages of sunflower seeds for on-the-go consumers looking for healthier options8 or hummus, which gets its protein power from chickpeas.9



1. Datassential, Convenience Store Keynote, June 2016
2. Datassential, BUZZ – Topical Study, March 2017
3. Datassential, Next Generation Coffee Rituals, August 2016
4. Datassential, Great Coffee Custom Study – Nestlé Professional, May 2016
5. Datassential, FoodBytes – Non-Alcoholic Beverages, June 2015
6. Datassential, The New Healthy Keynote, April 2016
7. Datassential, On the Menu, February 2016
8. Datassential, On the Menu, April 2015
9. Datassential, Modern American Food Trends, December 2015