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—Written By Chef Gregg, Corporate Executive Chef at Henny Penny

The pandemic changed a lot about the way people work and live. It’s had a huge impact on the entire foodservice industry. Third-party delivery services took off as did the demand for grab-and-go meals. Nearly 60% of c-stores like Family Express in Indiana increased foodservice sales in 2020, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Retail Member Plus Survey. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. The challenge is presented by what consumers are demanding. One recent study showed that 77% of consumers want to do more to stay healthy when it comes to food choices and they are also open to experimenting with new options. The demand for higher-quality products with diverse offerings and healthier alternatives is here to stay. Fresh food prep matters and it makes no difference whether it’s a meal a consumer is preparing at home or grabbing on the way home during their commute. The orange-vesters — construction, contractors, landscapers, and manual labor — don’t have time to do a sit-down meal, but still want a quality meal and they want it fast. Convenience stores that fail to upgrade their food selection with fresh ingredients and higher-quality food will likely miss out on this emerging consumer trend. So, how do you take advantage of this opportunity? The combi oven. Combi Ovens provide high-quality meals that consumers are demanding. What Is a Combi Oven? Combi ovens can cook high volumes of a wide range of menu items and do it quickly using convection heat, steam, or a combination of the two. This allows foods to be prepared using dry heat or moist heat to produce hot, high-quality meals rapidly — perfect for consumers that want a great tasting meal but don’t want to wait. Rather than microwaving or reheating already cooked items, combi ovens create high-quality meals using fresh ingredients without taking up the space of a commercial oven. 3 Advantages of Adding a Combi to Your C-Store Combi ovens let you tap into what consumers want and expand your product offerings with a minimal investment. We find that most operations see a surprisingly fast return on investment. As a proven profit center, Henny Penny combi ovens can provide an ROI in as little as two months. With a combi oven, you get improved profitability, greater flexibility in menu offerings, and higher throughput. Profitability For c-stores, much of the prepared foods have been traditionally low margin items. A combi oven allows you to sell higher-margin food items and increase profitability. You can sell restaurant-quality food items with intuitive interfaces. One versatile piece of equipment does it all and you do not require expert culinary staff or additional labor to support c-store operations. Because meals are created from fresh ingredients, there is significantly less waste and spoilage. Since waste and spoilage can range from 8-25% even a small decrease can make a big difference. Henny Penny combi ovens can generate significant profits. Download our free guide to learn how combi ovens are proven profit centers. Flexibility One combi oven can provide endless menu possibilities. Dinner-time offerings might include:

  • Roasted/Rotisserie style chicken meals

  • Simple sides – mac and cheese, roasted veggies, starches

For on-the-go lunch daypart customers, you might offer:

  • Pulled chicken burritos

  • Pulled chicken salad options

  • Chicken Pita’s

  • BBQ Chicken Sliders

  • Mac and cheese bowls

  • Stuffed potato bowls

Combi ovens also give you a way to reduce waste further by being able to utilize leftover chicken by repackaging it into lunchtime offerings. Throughput Combi ovens can easily support curbside delivery, pump-side delivery, and even C-Store drive-throughs. You can even establish a virtual brand and operate as a ghost kitchen. A combi oven allows c-stores to offer enhanced menu options and utilize current staff to execute high-volume sales. Partnering with a third-party delivery platform can also provide an additional revenue stream. Customers for delivery services such as GrubHub or UberEats aren’t typically looking for specific restaurants but for fast, affordable, and quality meals. This allows you to deliver hot foods as well as drinks, groceries, or other convenience items. Learn How Combi Ovens Generate Profits The food service industry is constantly advancing. At Henny Penny, we strive to continually develop innovative solutions that solve problems for our customers. To learn more about combi ovens and how they can help generate profits for your c-store, download our whitepaper: Expanding and growing your food service program. This free guide will show you how you can potentially deliver more than $1.4 million of incremental gross profit over the life of the equipment and detail the five things you’ll need to consider:

  • Space constraints

  • Connectivity

  • Operation simplicity and food consistency

  • Production capabilities

  • Cleaning and maintenance

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