Wawa first started catering its signature offerings in 2018, but the company is now ramping up its program through a partnership with ezCater to launch Wawa Catering from its 1,000-and-growing c-stores. The company’s signature sandwiches, including its Sizzli, will now be available on the ezCater marketplace across its system in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, DC.
“Thanks to this new partnership with ezCater, we now have the ability to reach more business customers with our fresh offers, perfect for breakfast, meetings, and corporate events,” Steve Hackett, director of Digital Experience, Wawa, said in a statement. “We see this as a great way to provide even more convenience to the business community.”
As part of its catering menu, Wawa will offer a variety of breakfast, coffee, and lunch items, which come individually packaged or in trays. This partnership comes as more c-stores, including Wawa, are sharpening their focus on foodservice programs. For its part, Wawa recently started adding drive-thru formats and rolled out a new dinner menu. The company has also partnered with third-party delivery companies to deliver its foodservice options. These efforts are likely driving visits. According to Placer.ai traffic data, visits to Wawa during the first week of January 2023 were 60% higher than they were in January 2020. The company is also experiencing a steep growth trajectory, recently hitting its 1,000th store milestone with plans to expand into new markets like Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Meanwhile, the catering business is also making a strong post-pandemic comeback, with a compound annual growth forecast of nearly 5% through 2028, according to Imarc Impactful Insights. Catering has been identified as one of the top three priority channels for operators this year, according to Toast’s Voice of the Restaurant Industry Survey, while ezCater’s bookings were up 87% year-over-year in 2022.
Wawa’s deeper push into catering could help the company leverage that demand and continue to take some share in the foodservice space. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2022 State of the Industry, foodservice accounted for 22.5% of in-store sales at c-stores in 2021 – a material jump from 16.8% in 2011.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]