Store design plays a crucial role in attracting consumers and driving foodservice sales in c-stores, says the recently-released study Food-Forward C-store Design, a work put together by research and consulting firm Technomic and award-winning retail branding and design agency Chute Gerdeman.

The study — which sought to understand how evolving consumer demands and preferences for prepared foods and beverages can be met through c-store design, décor and layout — notes that more c-store retailers are pursuing foodservice as a growth platform.

The interactive survey of 1,000 consumers revealed insights about the role of store layout and design elements. “Foodservice is now a strategic priority of convenience retailers, and the competitive landscape requires them to raise the bar on store design to increase consumer appeal,” says Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic. “Understanding which layouts meet consumer needs and message quality is crucial.”

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • An updated, elevated store ambience is vital to foodservice sales as it sends a message about the commitment to foodservice and conveys cleanliness and quality.
  • Ease of navigation is prioritized, and clearly delineated foodservice preparation, display and dining areas heighten the appeal of the offering.
  • Consumers value foodservice quality and freshness cues in convenience stores. Whether at made-to-order stations, in grab-and-go cases or on hot/cold food bars, consumers want to see the prepared foods offered and appreciate other visual elements that support the quality and freshness of the offerings.

For more on the study, visit