C-stores weathered the pandemic by occasionally serving unexpectedly creative and indulgent menu items to their customers. Yet with labor and supply chain issues in 2021, where do you turn for real menu winners for the rest of this year and 2022?
Let’s take a look at some winners based on important consumer trends that will continue to grow next year. At the top of the list is spicy goodness. At a recent gathering of top menu developers, the continued growth of spicy foods was a consistent theme.
Two easy examples were Wawa’s Spicy Cheesesteak—featuring a spicy pepper relish—and Getgo’s indulgent Smokestack Sub with Jalapeno Poppers. Both menu items went over the top in flavor for busy motorists with a hearty meal hunger craving.
Other winners leveraged their investment in deep fryers and the consumer’s love of an ultimate comfort food—fried chicken.
Pilot Travel Centers’ Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich is a great example. Topped with dill pickles inside a brioche bun, Pilot checked the boxes on flavor and cravability while offering a variety of condiments to round out that enticing offer. Meanwhile Royal Farms, long known for their fried chicken, served up a Chicken Tenders Sub that was packed with lettuce, tomato and condiments at $6.99.
Pilot wins again with a Smoked Turkey and Bacon Wrap that is a popular option for a variety of guests with different cravings. Who can resist bacon? Combined with sliced turkey and spinach in a soft garlic tortilla, this wrap is a healthy halo for any customer.
Considered the #1 comfort food, Quicktrip enhanced their Classic Mac & Cheese by adding pulled pork and a four-cheese topping priced at $2.99.
As we look toward a busy 2022 in menu innovation, be sure to stick with spicy flavors that will continue to be a strong growth opportunity according to Datassential. Use spiciness on some trending carriers, such as loaded tots, Mexican handhelds, and mini pizzas for the road.
When it comes to spicy goodness, look to Texas Pete® and its new line-up of four flavors of 1 oz. dipping cups. These are ideal for customization of any meal for the road. These important new additions include a BBQ Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, Wing Sauce, and Texas Pete® Original Hot Sauce.
Remember that LTOs have never been as important than today for successful c-store food promotions. Smart starts in ramping up your LTO portfolio for now and 2022 are grounded on spicy flavor. Texas Pete® offers recipe ideas to get you started. Explore the possibilities and download a rebate form to save money on your next purchase.