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How to Write a Convenience Store Business Plan

Marcel DeerAuthor

Business Plan for Convenience Store Guide

The convenience store industry in the U.S. has experienced remarkable growth, with total sales reaching $859.8 billion in 2023, marking a significant increase despite inflation and other economic challenges. Particularly, in-store sales saw a notable surge, driven by a growing demand for food service offerings like prepared food and dispensed beverages, which accounted for a substantial portion of profits. 

With convenience stores increasingly becoming a go-to destination for quick meals and snacks, there is opportunity for new entrants to capture a share in this market. Convenience stores have expanded beyond traditional offerings to include high-quality food options, catering to evolving consumer preferences. 

Many successful models now operate in a hybrid fashion, combining convenience with culinary excellence to attract a broader customer base. For new entrants, adopting a similar hybrid approach emphasizing both convenience and quality is key to fully capitalizing on the industry's growth.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why a business plan is so useful

  • The essential parts of a convenience store business plan

  • How to present your business plan for maximum impact

How to Write a Convenience Store Business Plan

Convenience stores typically stock hundreds  of products. Each one represents a supplier, price calculations, stock management, promotions, and more. For these products to fly off the shelves, you also need to have a great location and market your store and products well.

The true value of a convenience store business plan is in the planning. Producing one forces you to examine all aspects of your business in depth to ensure that you get it right when you actually open up your store. In case you don’t want to put so much effort into your plan, here’s a quote that should convince you.

“People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”

These words come from Joe DePinto, current CEO of 7-11, the world’s biggest chain of convenience stores. By putting your all into your plan, you can create a business that truly provides what your customers need and achieve success, too.

Elements of a Convenience Store Business Plan

Working through a complete business plan will help you understand the needs of your business more clearly, plus produce a document you can hand to potential partners and investors to help them understand what you’re aiming for. Here’s what it should include:

Executive summary

Think about who will read your plan (potential partners, investors, and your core management team) and what they’ll want to know. That’s what you should present clearly and concisely in this section.

Explain the purpose of the business and why your approach is likely to succeed. Present your mission statement, concept, potential costs, and core values. Let your readers know what this business represents, how it’s different, and what it needs to get off the ground. 

Company Overview

The plan begins with information about how the business will be structured. Here, you can go into detail about the type of company you plan to set up (partnership, limited liability company, etc.), who will own it, and how. You can also point out how your values and unique selling points will make you stand out from your competitors. Focus on the importance of your chosen location and anything else that will make your convenience store special.

Team and Management

Here, you can define your team’s structure. Lay out who will be in charge of in-store operations and who will have input at a more operational business level. Aside from outlining your management structure, it’s a good idea to go into detail about how many staff you need when they’ll work, where you plan to hire people from, and the various positions you need to fill, from customer service to stock and logistics.

Market Analysis

How do you know your business will work if you don’t investigate how it’s uniquely positioned to succeed in this market? Think about the specific vectors you will compete and win on. 

Target Market 

Where your target market lives, their affluence level, and their spending habits will all influence the products and prices you choose. You’ll need to nail down what these people are looking for in terms of both products and services.

Convenience stores can target different market segments based on their offerings and pricing. Explain which market which segment you store is going after, and why you have a right to win in that segment.

  • Low-End Segment: Focuses on affordability with basic products and limited services, appealing to budget-conscious consumers.

  • Mid-Market Segment: Balances affordability and quality, offering a wider range of products including budget-friendly options and branded items.

  • Premium Segment: Emphasizes quality and luxury with upscale products, gourmet foods, and additional amenities, targeting affluent consumers seeking convenience without compromise.

Location Analysis

Think about where you want to set up shop and why this location is a good market for your business. Ideally, you want to identify an untapped or under-serviced market that your store could fill. You may need to compare various locations and choose the best of the bunch.

Competitive Analysis 

Are there competitors in the area? Is there anything they’re doing wrong that you can do right? Is there anything they’re doing well that you can do better? Answering these questions can help you analyze how your competitors are doing business and how you can outcompete them.

Marketing and Publicity

A convenience store will only succeed if people know about it and come walking in. You’ll need to plan out how to make this happen, both in terms of launching your new business and ongoing marketing to keep customers coming through the door. You should also define your marketing budget both for startup and as a portion of your operating budget. You may need help from an advisor or consulting team to help you create a full marketing plan for your store.

Here are targeted strategies to improve your convenience store's marketing, and include in your business plan.

  • Swift Rewards: Launch a digital rewards program offering perks like free coffee or discounts on fuel to keep customers coming back.

  • Snack Snap: Create an Instagram-worthy snack corner, encouraging customers to share photos for prizes and boosting online presence.

  • Local Partnerships: Collaborate with nearby artisans or breweries for exclusive products, supporting the community and offering unique offerings.

  • Tasting Events: Host weekly tasting events to drive foot traffic and create excitement around new products.

  • Express Checkout: Introduce an express lane for quick transactions, appealing to time-strapped customers.

  • Fresh Fare: Offer freshly prepared meals or snacks on-site, catering to those seeking convenient yet wholesome options.

Business Operations 

This section defines the mechanics of running your business day-to-day. Plan out what needs to be in place for your business to run uninterrupted.

Systems and Equipment

Clear, well-thought-out systems make everything easier. You’ll need to plan out the systems you’ll use for inventory, payroll, team management, and more. You’ll also need a point of sale system and modern equipment to track sales effectively and receive payments using multiple methods that your customers expect. 

Suppliers 

Great suppliers are crucial for the success of a convenience store because real convenience means having everything your customers need whenever they need it. Plan out who you’ll need as suppliers and how you’ll find and develop relationships with them to ensure everything is delivered on time and within budget.

Sales Forecasts and Operating Expenses

Calculating your startup costs is crucial to help you figure out how much money you’ll need to raise to get started. But after that, it’s also necessary to make projections for your sales and expenses in your first year and over a longer period.

Profit & Loss

Use a P&L statement to summarize the revenue, costs, and expenses your business will see in your first year. This will help you figure out your margins and expected profitability. 

Break-even analysis

Figure out your break-even point by comparing your fixed and variable costs with your expected revenue. This will show investors how much you’ll need to sell before you start making a profit.

Expected cash flow

You can calculate how much money will move through your business by estimating your income and expenses. This will tell you how much your store is expected to both make and spend over a set period.

Financing and Loans

Once you’ve forecasted your expenses, you can look for sources of funding. These can include equity financing (receiving funds in exchange for a stake in the business), debt financing (receiving a loan you will need to pay back with interest), or a combination of both. In the case of a loan, you’ll need to make plans and projections for debt repayment.

How to Present a Convenience Store Business Plan

When your business plan is complete, you’ll know more about your business than anyone else. However, when you want to get investors or partners on board, you need to be able to communicate your plan successfully. 

Most entrepreneurs send their plans out to investors and banks, but while that can get some interest, it’s no substitute for face time. If you want to stand out from the crowd, try to develop a short but effective pitch that highlights all the pros of your idea. Then, go out and meet people. Ask for a few minutes of their time to pitch to them, and be prepared to answer detailed questions if you pique someone’s interest – this is their money you’re talking about!

A Convenience Store Business Plan is Your Tool for Success

Going through the process of creating a detailed plan helps you understand what it will take to get your business off the ground. You’ll also have your convenience store business plan as a document you can send to investors to help explain why you’re going to succeed. Preparing yourself will only save time and solve problems before they arise, so creating the most detailed plan you can will always be worth it.

Why Toast Retail is Perfect for Convenience Stores

In today's competitive retail landscape, selecting the right technology is essential for both new ventures and established businesses aiming for success. Solutions like Toast retail not only streamline operations, making them more efficient, but also provide invaluable insights to optimize the financial health of the business. 

By harnessing the power of point of sale technology, retailers can gain a competitive edge, improve customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth. Choosing the right technology sets the foundation for long-term success, empowering businesses to adapt to evolving market demands and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

The tech that redefined restaurants is now here to transform retail. Supercharge your store with the POS built for high volumes and complexity, offering everything you need to run your business on one platform. Toast's retail offering is a game-changer for businesses like convenience stores, liquor stores, and grocery stores, revolutionizing how they operate and interact with customers. Here's why Toast is the perfect fit for these retail environments.

1. Helps Modernize How You Sell

Toast's intuitive, cloud-based system simplifies daily operations. Its user-friendly interface makes staff training a breeze, ensuring seamless adoption across your team. Whether it's processing payments in-store or integrating with online sales channels, Toast ensures a smooth and consistent experience for your customers regardless of how they shop.

  • Intuitive Cloud-Based System: Our intuitive, cloud-based system is easy to learn and easy to use. Say goodbye to complicated interfaces and hello to streamlined processes. Toast is designed to simplify your day-to-day operations, from staff training to consolidated operations, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity.

  • Seamless Payment Processing: Toast’s seamless payment processing easily integrates with online payments for smoother sales every time, no matter how your customers are shopping. This integration ensures a hassle-free experience for both customers and staff, leading to increased satisfaction and faster transactions.

  • Flexible Order and Checkout Options: Offer flexible and efficient order and checkout options with reliable hardware including handhelds, kiosks, and guest-facing terminals. Adapt to the diverse needs of your customers and reduce wait times at checkout with Toast's versatile hardware solutions, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

2. Streamline Retail Management

Efficiency is key in retail, and Toast delivers with automated, mobile-first inventory management. Say goodbye to manual inventory tracking and hello to SmartScan, a feature that enables quick product scanning and shelf placement. Managing thousands of SKUs becomes effortless with Toast's intuitive product database and bulk update capabilities.

  • Automated, Mobile-First Inventory: Experience the freedom of automated, mobile-first inventory management with Toast. Create and print barcodes in bulk, and take new products from scan to shelf in seconds with our SmartScan feature. Say goodbye to tedious manual inventory tasks and hello to streamlined operations.

  • Efficient SKU Management: Easily manage thousands of SKUs with our intuitive product database and bulk updates feature. Modify, reprice, and import multiple products at once, saving valuable time and resources. With Toast, keeping track of your inventory has never been easier.

  • Retail-Enhanced Dashboards: Stay on top of your business with retail-specific dashboards and cost-tracking reports. Monitor trends, maximize margins, and ensure your top-selling products are always stocked, empowering you to make data-driven decisions that drive profitability.

3. Tailor Your Customer Experience

Toast empowers you to tailor the customer experience to fit your unique retail concept. Whether you're considering adding food service or expanding your offerings, Toast's flexible platform accommodates creative expansion.

  • Creative Expansion Opportunities: Thinking of adding food service to your retail concept? Including Kitchen Display Systems and Order Ready Boards, our flexible platform allows for creative expansion. Explore new revenue streams and enhance the overall customer experience with Toast's versatile features.

  • Online Ordering and Delivery Integrations: Give your guests the option to order from home with Toast’s Online Ordering and our third-party delivery integrations. Meet your customers where they are and provide convenience that keeps them coming back, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Loyalty Rewards and Personalized Offers: Be your neighborhood's favorite shop (and incentivize repeat visits) with loyalty rewards and personalized offers. Transform one-time shoppers into loyal patrons by engaging with your community and offering enticing rewards, making your store the go-to destination for your customers.

In conclusion, Toast's retail solution is more than just a point of sale system; it's a comprehensive toolkit designed to elevate your retail store to new heights. From modernizing sales processes to streamlining management and enhancing the customer experience, Toast empowers retail businesses to thrive in today's competitive market.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.