Convenience Foods Are Hot


A tight economy has everyone looking for a bargain and professional drivers and the traveling public is no different. Low price points and convenience are driving sales of hot foods within the convenience and trucker stores at several truckstops and travel plazas.

Allen Burns, general manager, West Winds Truck Stop in Green River, Utah, said Chester’s Fried Chicken is flying off the shelves at his c-store. Each day, cooks at the location’s sit-down restaurant prepare the chicken and send it over to a warmer in the c-store.

“People are grabbing that instead of going to the restaurant and having a sit-down meal,” Burns said.

John Langley, travel center director, Golden Acorn Casino, Campo, Calif., said sales of fried chicken, corndogs and burritos at the hot food deli within the truckstop are booming as more and more customers grab something quick instead of hitting the restaurant. “It is fast and convenient. Plus my store smells like fried chicken all the time and that makes people want it,” he said.

Langley tries to keep prices within the deli low to attract customers. Nearly everything on the menu is less than $4. Variety is important, so Golden Acorn features an item of the month. “This month we’re doing teriyaki and sweet and sour chicken rice bowls. They are doing great,” Langley said. If an item does well, Langley adds it to the menu and drops slower moving items.

All that food makes customers thirsty and many are picking up a bottle of water to have with the meal. “I never thought water would outsell soda pop, but it has surpassed it,” Burns said.

West Winds recently began carrying Glaceau Smart Water, and Burns has been surprised at how well it is selling. “We put it in and it went crazy, but water in general is a big seller. There are so many different sizes, flavored waters and VitaminWater. It is all doing well,” he said.

Burns told NATSO that West Winds’ customers who need more pep than enhanced water can offer are loyal to 5-Hour Energy drinks. “We’ve seen competitors that offer a six-hour or even a twelve-hour energy drink, but people aren’t touching those,” he explained.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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