venience stores, in turn, are launching
menu items to cater to their cravings.
Rutter’s is “using fusions of flavors and
cultures of spicier palettes” to attract Millennial customers, Gaskins said, citing
the stores’ stir fry bowls, tacos and quesa-dillas. The demographic “is open to new,
fresh things, and the foodservice area is a
good place to experiment,” he said.
Millennials are also accustomed to
customization. Some stores such as
Wawa and Sheetz have responded with
made-to-order foodservice programs
serving up everything from built-to-or-der sandwiches to barista-made specialty coffee drinks.
But operators don’t necessarily have
to reinvent the wheel to accommodate
Gen Y’s desire for customization. Harker said Maverik’s foodservice offerings
aren’t made to order, but the stores feature large condiment bars with different
types of salsas and toppings that customers can add as they choose. “It gives them
a hands-on experience, so they get everything the way they like it,” Harker said.
When it comes to customization, con-
venience stores also have an edge over
their QSR counterparts, thanks to the
diversity of products stores typically of-
fer. “We don’t have to be just like McDon-
ald’s and sell you orange juice with your
breakfast sandwich,” Harker said. “We’re
going to give you what you want, which
is a large citrus Monster [energy drink].”
But convenience stores are at a disad-
vantage when it comes to pricing. Mil-
lennials are challenging the assumption
that customers will pay a premium for
convenience. This generation entered
the workforce just as the U.S. economy
was sinking into the Great Recession
and experts have warned that could con-
tinue to have a detrimental effect on their
earnings. It’s no surprise, then, that Mil-
lennials are more price-sensitive than
their Baby Boomer parents, according to
the Jefferies/AlixPartners study.
“Millennials don’t want to overpay for
anything, and that’s where convenience
There are about 79 million
Millennials in the United States,
versus 48 million Generation X-ers
(born between 1965 and 1980).
Millennials will make up 50% of
the U. S. workforce by 2030.
80% of Millennials sleep with their
smartphones next to their beds.
Millennials send about
20 texts per day.
56% of Millennials think
technology helps people use
their time more efficiently.
14% of Millennials use Twitter.
(Sources: Pew Social Trends; ComScore;
The Millennial Generation Research Review;
Bureau of Labor Statistics)
TWEETS FOLLOWERS FOLLOWING
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THE C-STORE BIZ
Millennials take their
cues not from mar-
keters but from each
other; they’re more
likely to be swayed by
their Facebook friends
or Twitter followers
than by a corporate