Sales figures still show national pizza chains leading in all sales categories, but c-stores are taking a bigger piece of the pie every year. CHD Expert reports that Casey’s General Stores, Ankeny, Iowa, is one of the fastest-growing pizza restaurants in the country. Other regional chains are close behind like Wawa and Sheetz based out of Wawa, Pa., and Altoona, Pa., respectively, and Kwik Trip in La Crosse, Wis. Buc-ee’s, Lake Jackson, Texas, and Maverick, Salt Lake City, are others quickly developing a pizza fan following.

Over the past decade, c-store chains have increased sales inside their stores by about 30%, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Since 2000, the number of c-stores in the United States has grown by 28%. 7-Eleven remains the largest US chain with more than 9,000 locations.

What makes them attractive to consumers is their proximity to their everyday routines. NACS reports that 93% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a c-store. And sales of prepared food at c-stores has shown strong growth in recent years, said Matt Godinsky, research associate at Euromonitor International.  However, tracking pizza sales at these locations can be difficult because they often offer several prepared foods and lump those sales together.

“In the consumer foodservice system, we track convenience store sales of prepared food items including coffee, sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, etc.,” he said. “Because pizza is a substantial component of prepared food offerings at convenience stores, it is reasonable to assume that pizza sales through these outlets have grown in tandem with category sales as a whole.”

This article is an excerpt from the March 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. Click here to read the entire feature or listen to it below.