More in Store

Campus c-store revenue grew 10% last year, according to FSD research.

Campus-based convenience stores averaged nearly $618,000 in revenue last year, up from $563,000 the year before. More than half (58%) of campuses operate two or more c-stores, while one-third operate three or more.
It’s no surprise, then, that market participants continue to use the c-store format in innovative ways to capture more sales and adapt to students’ lifestyles. For example, California State University-San Bernardino plans to move grab-and-go items out of its foodservice operations and into a campus convenience store that is opening this fall.

FoodService Director - C-storesOn the rise: This follows the success of two c-stores that opened this past school year. “Sales are continuing to rise,” says Kim Ball, director of the new stores. “We’re capturing sales we weren’t before.”
The new store will reside in the Student Union building, which is being renovated and doubled in size. The third location will be the biggest, at 1,200 square feet, and will have two cash registers, two employees and one person to stock the shelves.

The first store, Coyote Express at Jack Brown, replaced vending machines and a food cart. The 253-square-foot unit offers salads, microwaveable foods such as burritos, soups and frozen yogurt, and non-food items like books and pens. It generated sales of $106,285 in the first nine months, with a check average of $1.98.

In November the university opened Coyote Express in the form of a 705-square-foot portable trailer outside an academic building. Sales were $101,243 for the first seven months and the check average runs $2.40. “This location has the opportunity to pull from other buildings,” says Ball. Customer counts range from 500 to 600 per day. Products include frozen foods.

See you at C3: Last spring, Aramark’s C3 Express, a “mini-convenience store” format, opened at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. It replaced a food cart and averaged $1,000 in daily sales, from about 500 transactions, near the end of last semester. That’s an increase in sales of 60% over the cart’s volume.

“We had outgrown the cart,” says Paul Kramer, Aramark’s district manager. “As our product mix grew it wa not as aesthetically pleasing as we would have liked.

The new operation stocks top-sellers such as bottled beverages, packaged snacks and gum, sundries and grab-and-go items delivered from a central kitchen. It also has a self-serve coffee counter featuring Java City coffee. Fastest-moving items are bottled drinks and C3 Express grab-and-go items: salads, sandwiches and fruit.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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