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.
On 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.