Convenience Store Foodservice, Labor and the Role of Equipment One of the largest expenses for a convenience store operator is labor ― and that cost continues to rise. According to CSP’s State of the Industry data, direct-store operating expenses rose again in 2015, with labor-related expenses, such as health insurance, wages and other benefits, driving the increase. Between operators trying to maximize their “investment” in employees and the increasing role of foodservice for convenience stores, the right foodservice equipment can support both endeavors. Equipment that is well-suited to address the needs of c-store operations, while alleviating labor concerns, will offer several benefits: Speed of operation Customers have the expectation that their food will be served quickly, especially in a c-store setting. Equipment that shortens cooking times, while still providing a quality product, can help enhance a customer’s experience with the operation. Toasters from Antunes can properly toast their respective menu items without sacrificing wait times. Quality food Foodservice trends show that fresh, quality food is becoming more important to consumers, and part of the assumption of “fresh” is that it was prepared recently ― if not made to order. For c-stores looking to align their menus with this trend — something the category leaders are already doing — equipment can support their efforts. Antunes Egg Stations with Dual Zone offer a convenient way to serve freshly cooked eggs for breakfast sandwiches throughout the day, avoiding the food degradation that can occur when an item is pre-cooked and held too long. Simplicity for the operator Equipment shouldn’t require a lengthy training process or complicated instructions. And because foodservice may only be a portion of their job responsibilities — especially for operations that do not currently have full kitchens — owners and operators want to ensure that any employee can come in and very quickly be up to speed. In fact, in Winsight’s 2015 Foodservice Handbook, 42 percent of retail operators said they need products and/or equipment that requires less labor. The fewer buttons, steps or settings and less time spent actively engaging with a piece of equipment, the better. For example, with the Antunes Deluxe Food Warmer, a push of a button dispenses the same amount of steam each time – a simple, consistent way to steam lunchmeat for hot sandwiches or melt cheese on nachos. As operators are scrutinizing their labor costs and looking to drive business through their foodservice programs, equipment can play a key role. Learn more about the overall role of foodservice in the convenience store market in this article.