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Equipment for Evolving  C-Store Food Service Programs

Equipment for Evolving  C-Store Food Service Programs

By Joe Levesque

As consumers look for convenience and value in grab-and-go food options, convenience and carwash operators face growing challenges with implementing a profitable food program that reduces overhead costs, uses less space and produces a variety of food items that keeps customers coming back.

Fresh, high quality food is a key differentiator for c-stores looking to grow and evolve their food service programs. From bakery to pizza or chicken programs and more, programmable, easy to install equipment systems are key to streamlining pre-prepared food programs. 

C-store food service operators can build savings into their programs by choosing equipment that eliminates costs and maximizes food quality.

Ventless Solutions

Small stores need to maximize limited space, but most ovens require a ventilation hood, which further restricts space and adds maintenance and installation costs. It costs approximately $2,000 per linear foot to install a traditional kitchen hood, and even more additional costs to operate it daily. Versatile, ventless ovens help put that money back in an operator’s pocket. 

A ventless, compact oven like Alto-Shaam’s Vector H Series Multi-Cook Oven can be installed anywhere, allowing operators to maximize their space, their way. This gives more flexibility when arranging the foodservice layout, without worry about the costs associated with water hookups or traditional ventilation systems.

As an added bonus, Vector ovens are fully programable and operate with independent chambers, allowing crew members to seamlessly cook up to four different food items at different temperatures, fan speeds and times, simultaneously. The multi-functionality allows staff to produce an unmatched volume and variety of high-quality food in the smallest space consistently every time. 

With Structured Air Technology, these ovens cook food at the highest quality, two times faster than conventional technology to keep up during peak hours.  Providing one-touch menu execution, Vector ovens feature ChefLinc, a remote oven management system that allows operators to seamlessly create, push and pull recipes from their oven using an easy-to-use, cloud-based dashboard. Operators can also collect and store cooking data, receive detailed service diagnostics and more.

Enhanced Displays

Another crucial equipment solution for c-store operators is some type of heated display to entice customers and boost impulse sales. Heated shelf warmers are important in c-stores because they keep food at ideal temperatures while customers safely browse packaged grab-and-go items. They also provide a presentable display for food items, boosting customer interest and encouraging impulse buys. Alto-Shaam newest heated shelf merchandisers with top heat allow operators to hold food for even longer at the highest quality. The new layer of top heat paired with Halo Heat technology provides extended holding of the most delicate food items, such as sandwiches, pastries and burritos. Whether selling to-go boxes, bags, boats or paper-wrapped items, merchandisers with top heat extend holding for a variety of items—three hours or more – without compromising quality.

High Quality Holding

In addition to front-of-store merchandising solutions, there are also a variety of other heated holding options that can streamline labour and food production. Operators can batch cook in bulk and hold for extended times at the highest quality before displaying. Holding cabinets with gentle Halo Heat allow c-stores to evenly keep warm food and retain moisture and flavor. No ventilation, plumbing or drainage is required. Holding cabinets are stackable with other equipment, including Vector ovens or heated shelf warmers – further supporting a better grab-and-go experience, while boosting impulse sales and minimizing food waste.

To learn more about how to get your c-store food service program up and running, visit 

Joe Levesque, corporate executive Chef, Alto-Shaam Canada, is a 25-year veteran of the foodservice industry. He is passionate about creating the highest quality food service experiences. Prior to working at Alto-Shaam, Chef Joe served as an executive chef across a number of industries. As a corporate chef at Alto-Shaam in Canada, Joe is an ongoing culinary resource for operators looking to develop their menu and food programs. 

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