As ethnic populations continue to grow, demand for cultural foods within the Unite States will continue to increase. Shoppers’ ethnicities often dictate not only what they buy but also how they shop. Appealing to customers’ buying behavior will lead to greater success, but it is crucial for operators to understand who is truly stopping at their stores. Observing who is stopping, how often and what they are buying can create new opportunities for truckstop and travel plazas operators.
“Take time to observe who your customer really is,” said Darren Schulte, vice president of membership for NATSO. “I always say it, but it is true.”
Knowing who is stopping can help operators determine which products to offer, both on their shelves and in their food-service areas.
For European customers for example, fresh foods and familiar candies, such as Kinder chocolate and other brands they are accustomed to are important. Robin Puthusseril, co-owner of Greater Chicago I-55, has had success with foods targeted at European customers stopping at the location. Whole rye bread, marble cake, canned luncheon meat and herring fillets, as well as jarred raspberries and beets line the shelves in her ethnic foods section.
What’s more, European customers tend to buy less per trip but shop more often, so stocking fresh products can keep them coming in frequently…
Photo credit: Jeff Schrum/NATSO