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ALTOONA, Pa. -- With the competition heating up between quick-service restaurants (QSR), one c-store industry player is highlighting that battle in a new marketing campaign.
Sheetz Inc.'s new advertising campaign features the tagline: "Just because we don't look like a restaurant doesn't mean we're not one." The new television spots show actors seating themselves at high-top tables in a dining area, according to QSR magazine.
"Internally, these ads have had a positive effect," said Louie Sheetz, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the convenience retailer. "We are a great gas station, but we are also trying to make our image as a place with restaurant-quality food and beverages."
Consumers still hold an outdated view of gas stations and convenience stores, and c-stores are not an immediate thought when it comes to buying food, he added. But the chain -- which has doing made-to-order sandwiches for 20 years -- is hoping consumers will see convenience stores a place for gas and also freshly made food, the magazine reported.
Sheetz's new marketing campaign targets the male consumer between 16 and 24 years old. The ads, which are airing in the North Carolina market, highlight the brand's dedication to foodservice. For example, all of the retailer's new locations going forward will have special dining areas.
"The lines were already blurred," Sheetz said about the distinction between a QSR and convenience store foodservice. "We are all competing for that share of the stomach."
According to Technomic, limited-service restaurants did $200 billion in sales in 2011, while convenience stores did $10.5 billion. It research showed that 7 percent of consumers headed to a convenience store for a meal, while 67 percent headed to a QSR, according to the news outlet.