- Convenience store retailer Stewart’s Shops is tripling the size of its commercial kitchen in Greenfield, New York, as it looks to grow its to-go and made-to-order foodservice capabilities, a spokesperson from the company said in an email interview.
- The retailer also plans to hire more foodservice-focused employees during this period as it invests more heavily in its foodservice operations, the spokesperson said.
- Stewart’s increased focus on foodservice comes amid a series of other initiatives the company has taken on over the past handful of months, including new-store construction, electric vehicle charging stations and even an online merchandise shop.
Stewart’s latest foodservice expansion underscores the growing trend of c-stores emphasizing prepared food offerings to better compete with fast-food and quick-service restaurants.
The Ballston Spa, New York-based company has seen “tremendous growth” in its foodservice program and needs to expand its operations to meet the increasing demand, the spokesperson said. Its commercial kitchen will grow from about 3,500 square feet to roughly 9,500 square feet.
Although primarily known for its homemade ice cream, Stewart’s foodservice program features freshly made breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders, subs and sandwiches, pizza, salads, soups and other hot entrees.
“We are always looking to expand our offerings,” the spokesperson said.
Hiring more foodservice-focused staff may be difficult for Stewart’s due to the current labor landscape in the c-store industry. To stand out from other companies competing for labor, Stewart’s is highlighting its employee stock ownership plan — 40% of the company is owned by employees — as something that could be “attractive to many job seekers,” the spokesperson said.
Founded in 1945, Stewart’s operates more than 350 convenience stores across New York and southern Vermont.