3 Types of Fried Foods That Are Perfect for C-Stores

There’s a big misconception when it comes to convenience stores, particularly those that include gasoline and fueling services. The misconception is that most c-store profits come from the pump, but the reality is that’s far from the truth. Most c-store profits come from the foods and beverages located inside the store.

Consider these data points from a recent study. Today, 80 percent of all gas stations have food and beverage options on site through a c-store operation. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, 44 percent of customers will actually go inside the c-store contributing to 70 percent of the operation’s profits.

This is a significant number, and it will likely only become bigger in the years to come. The reality is the future of gas stations is changing. As more and more people drive electric cars, roadside c-stores won’t be places to fuel up. They’ll be used for recharging, and recharging takes time. We’re already seeing more and more c-store operations developing restaurant-style foodservice, and as consumers are forced to spend more time on site as their cars recharge, more and more c-stores will start to look like restaurants.

So what should those restaurants serve? Well, we clearly love fried foods, so that would be our preference. Here are the top three fried food options to serve in c-stores.


It’s the most popular protein in the United States. Consumers consider chicken a great value of cost and flavor, and that it is eaten with two hands and a napkin makes it convenient. The worldwide combined annual growth rate (CAGR) for fried chicken is forecast to grow at 5.47% and hit 8.25 Billion USD by 2025. The North American region makes up the majority of this market. Market growth is evident in the chicken wars between US fast-food restaurants based on profitability and consumer desirability.

The growth seen in fried chicken offerings isn’t limited to restaurants and grocery stores but also among c-stores nationwide. Millennial purchases at c-stores have been consistently rising, with a quarter of those aged 30-44 purchasing food five or more times per month at c-stores, and chicken more than other foods. Twenty percent of consumers 18-29 are spending $10 to $15 per week on C-store foodservice, also desiring fried chicken as an essential offering.

Successful and highly profitable c-stores can offer fried chicken to further enhance profitability. It isn’t just optional but highly recommended when attracting high-value, young customers accustomed to spending for convenience.


Is there anyone that doesn’t love fries? Easy to offer and one of the highest margin products a c-store can offer, fries are another must. Easy to eat and tasty mean fries also delight the highest spending customer segments. They are often easily consumed while traveling meaning fries will be the most purchased side with that fried chicken.

An established market, fries are still growing at a CAGR of 3.7%, with the market expected to reach 20.45 Billion USD by 2028. Another benefit of selling fries is that shelf space is minimal, meaning higher convenience store profits per square foot.


Poppers also require a small space and offer up significant profits. As a higher-end offering, overall gross volume is higher, as are profit percentages. Young consumers love the flavor profile of poppers, and they are easily produced in-house. They will be a prevalent side, purchased in conjunction with fries.

Fried foods only continue to grow c-store sales, and the general fried foods market only has growth ahead. The fried foods market goes beyond a basic hot dog offering and has expanded into take-out and delivery for many c-stores. If a store isn’t offering fried foods, it is time to consider them seriously.

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Topics: Chicken, Fried Food, C-stores, jalapeno popper