Is there anything that Wawa can’t do? The company headquartered across the state line seems to be opening up new locations (how many can you fit into a one mile stretch on the Concord Pike?) everywhere you turn. They expect to have more stores in Florida than anywhere else by 2021 (the current national count is 840), and 63 new stores will open this year. The one-time dairy now does more than $12 billion in revenue a year.
Of course, they will be offering free coffee – any size! – this Thursday, April 11, but the beloved regional brand is doing a lot more than selling gas and brewing up hand-selected small-batch coffee these days. Delaware’s preeminent convenience store is now rolling out Mediterranean grain bowls and fresh berry smoothies to an increasingly selective and health-conscious customer base.
A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer details how the chain is accelerating its move well beyond the traditional notion of a convenience store, exploring new food offerings, partnering with delivery businesses like UberEats and GrubHub and even providing catering services. The piece takes us into their test kitchen:
A whiteboard in the Wawa test kitchen lays out some of those identified trends in categories such as food, keto/paleo, and beverage, and lists items such as vegetable noodle or rice, spaghetti squash, and cold brew with protein. Hochberg said she saw hummus on toast during one of her market research trips and suggested on a recent day that the kitchen give that a try.
Incredibly, the company with a funny name that started as a dairy farm now serves more than 700 million customers annually. According to the Inquirer, the privately held Wawa has 34,000 employees who own 40 percent of the company through an employee stock ownership plan. That may help explain why they are always so nice at the counter!