Convenience Store Adoption of Technology for Operations Doubled in Response to Pandemic

New research reveals first-ever industry benchmarks for key activities that drive convenience store operational challenges and success

San Francisco, California, UNITED STATES


SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Zenput, the global leader in operations execution solutions, today shared results of a survey of convenience store operators conducted in collaboration with Technomic. The research revealed new insights into the top operational challenges facing the c-store industry, as well as where operators are prioritizing initiatives to serve customers in new ways to drive growth in 2021. Key findings from the survey include:

  • C-store operators have three top priorities over the next 12 months: implementing new technology (51%), improving compliance with ops procedures (42%), and employee training/recruitment (39%).
  • 57% of operators now use technology to a great extent to automate aspects of their operation, up from 27% last year. The top areas for technology investments in the next 12 months include sanitizing/cleaning technology (43%), food safety tracking (42%), and customer feedback (42%).
  • When food safety issues arise, only a third of convenience store operators report being able to correct the issue within 24 hours.
  • New benchmarks for completing operations tasks and audits: the average c-store spends 117 minutes on sanitization per day, and is audited 5.1 times per year.

“With our 2nd annual report for convenience store operators, we had a unique opportunity to explore how strategies have shifted in this tumultuous time and look more closely at the quality and time constraints that make it difficult to run a multi-unit operation,” said Vladik Rikhter, Zenput’s CEO. “While the study shows that a majority of convenience stores are now using tech to power operations, it also highlights many opportunities for them to optimize their use of it to better serve their employees and ultimately their customers.”

The research study was based on a survey of 67 convenience store operators conducted by Technomic in February 2021. The pool of survey respondents included operations leaders and managers, field leaders, store managers, IT administrators, c-suite executives, and owners.

Operational Changes Brought on by the Pandemic are Here to Stay

Convenience store operators made a variety of business and process changes in response to the pandemic, with safety being a top priority: 64% of operators rolled out new sanitization procedures, 49% started employee temperature checks, and 43% reduced or canceled in-person meetings.

Looking beyond the pandemic, 81% of the operations leaders that rolled out enhanced safety procedures expect those changes to become permanent, 75% will continue to use their newly implemented digital checklists, 71% plan to keep working with third-party delivery services, and 67% will offer ongoing curbside pickup.

C-Store Operators are Exposed to Food Safety Risks

The majority (62%) of operators agree that a food safety issue would put their business at risk, yet only half (51%) feel very confident in their ability to identify potential food safety concerns before they become an issue.

Further, when food safety issues do come up, only 34% of operators are able to correct the issue within one day. This highlights a considerable disconnect between operators recognizing risks around food safety and their inability to identify and address them quickly.

Technology is Becoming Critical to Operational Success, But Paper Lives On

The use of technology to automate various aspects of c-store operations more than doubled since last year, with 57% of operators now using it to a great extent vs. 27% last year.

When asked how specific operations are tracked, a majority of operators cited the use of software and mobile apps for tasks such as inventory (72%), opening/midday checklists (58%), and makeline and temperature checks (57%). However, approximately 40% of c-store operators still use paper checklists to track these same tasks, suggesting that many operators are still earlier on the technology adoption curve.

For greater detail and insight into this research, download the full report. A deeper dive into the findings will also be shared in the keynote session of tomorrow’s Convenience Store Agility Summit -- click here for more information and to register for free.

About Zenput

Zenput is how top operators elevate team execution in every store. Restaurant, retail, and other multi-unit operators such as Chipotle, P.F. Chang’s, Domino's, Smart & Final and 7-Eleven use the platform to automate how operating procedures, public health and food safety protocols, and other key initiatives are rolled out and enforced. Supporting 50,000 locations in over 40 countries, Zenput turns strategy into action faster and equips teams to deliver on it. For more information, visit zenput.com.

For more information contact David Karel at (800) 537-0227, or email hello@zenput.com.