Convenience stores are known partially for their assortment of food, amongst other things. Most different types of industries have their characteristics in general; outlets have clothes/shoes, stores like Best Buy are known for their electronics, and fast food places are associated with a drive-thru. However, will the latter apply to gas stations as well? That surely isn’t something that is conceivable, right? One person is pushing the envelope on this concept, trying to be the leader of innovation in this industry.
In a recently published Convenience Store News article, Zarco USA President Scott Zaremba is highlighted for putting the aforementioned practice in place. He took steps to get to this point, in which the first action taken was putting tablets at pumps at one of his convenience stores, “which allows consumers to order the retailer’s… foodservice items at the fuel pump” (Berk, 2014). The items would be available for pickup in the store shortly thereafter, allowing the customers to get their vehicles gassed up and anything else that needs to be taken care of.
Now, this has gone a step further. A drive-thru window was installed based on the feedback received from his customers; “’There is nothing else like it in our marketplace,’” Zaremba says in the article (Berk, 2014). This concept takes the meaning of convenience in c-stores to an entirely different level. This level has drawn high praises from consumers, in which Zaremba said that he will look to add to the item list that can be utilized for pickup at the drive-thru (Berk, 2014). It takes about five minutes for an order to be prepared after its placement, and adding more items to this service allows for more time saved by clients. He makes a good point with the explanation of his vision and why he is moving his organization in the direction that it’s currently traveling: “’People have limited time today… Parents of young children and the elderly don’t want to get out of their cars. They want to fuel up, pick up something to eat and go’” (Berk, 2014). This places the spotlight on a common theme reiterated many times: time-starved consumers looking for the most convenient option possible. When the most efficient option presents itself, consumers are likely to utilize this method.
Zaremba is using a third party to sell his tablet (which he calls Siris) to other clients. He hopes that this spreads to other convenience stores, allowing his idea to grow in the industry. This is definitely something to keep an eye on, as it could change the c-store landscape forever, as well as drive further growth in certain areas. A drive-thru at a gas station adds another dimension to these stores, allowing them to expand to an even broader market and attract more consumers.
Berk, Brian. “Fuel Up, Drive Up & Eat Up.” Convenience Store News. 2014.