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HEAD 1 Head 2 52 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MARCH 2017 A variety of trends continue to point toward a fa- vorable environment for convenience store food today. Younger consumers associate little, if any, stigma with c-store food; equipment advances make for easier-to-execute food programs in small spaces; and consumers overall remain keen on food experimentation. "I think you are seeing a generational shift in attitudes come along. The younger generation, Millennials and Generation Zers, don't have the preconceived notions of c-store food that previous generations had," says David Portalatin, vice president, industry analyst – food consumption, for The NPD Group. "We're also seeing people purchasing more meals for off-site consumption, either eating in the car or taking food home." Also, food trends today gear toward localizing to a particular neighborhood or market, Portalatin points out, and c-stores in particular have a reputation for cultivating community connections. "It's about hitting them at the point of value and experi- ence," he says. "There's even a Michelin-starred street food vendor in Singapore. Consumers are open to great food anywhere today." All those trends bode well for c-stores. Another factor sup- porting the c-store food evolution? Equipment advances. "Equipment developments definitely helped change the landscape for convenience store food," says Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic initiatives for NACS, The Associa- tion for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. "It has By leveraging chef-driven menu items, Anthony Bourdain-endorsed sites and ethnic specialties, modern day c-stores earn a spot in the foodservice space. C-Store Foodservice Bell Curve Ramps Up By Renee Pas Photography by Bonjwing Lee A Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que classic, the pulled pork brisket. The restaurant does a 60/40 mix of dine-in and take- out business.