ANKENY, Iowa — Casey’s General Stores Inc. continues to prove it’s a strong player in the pizza industry as its online ordering takes off.
Online ordering was one of three major growth opportunities the convenience-store chain planned to focus on during fiscal 2016, with pizza delivery and 24-hour stores also on the list.
And although Casey’s did not convert any stores to the pizza-delivery format during the first-quarter of its 2016 fiscal year, the company plans on adding about 100 stores to the pizza-delivery program by the end of the fiscal year, said Bill Walljasper, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Casey’s, during the first-quarter earnings call.
Part of the reason for the pizza delivery program’s slow start is because of the focus on online ordering.
Online ordering is currently available at about 600 locations, but Casey’s is on track to convert all of it stores to the format by the end of the calendar year, Walljasper said. Casey’s reported having 1,887 stores at the end of the first quarter, which ended July 31.
When introduced in late 2014 exclusively in and around the Des Moines, Iowa, market, customers could only order pizza and 2-liter sodas for pickup or delivery. Now, they also can order appetizers, such as breadsticks and Buffalo wings, and made-to-order subs and wraps.
“One of the things we have noticed in the recent data we’ve seen is not so much the pickup in number of whole pies sold, but on the add-ons,” Walljasper said. “We are seeing a significant uptick in the add-ons with respective things like breadsticks, Buffalo wings and even extra toppings on the pizza.”
To further promote its pizza offerings, the chain will once again roll out its Pizza-to-Pump Program. The program, which gives customers 10 cents off a gallon of gas when they purchase a large pizza, will launch in October in states including Indiana, North Dakota, Kentucky and Tennessee.
“[The program has] been very successful for us, and we are excited about rolling that out again,” Walljasper said.
Casey’s also continues to move toward 24-hour locations, converting 89 stores to the format during the first quarter. The company also opened eight new stores, acquired one store and replaced seven existing stores and four replacement stores. The company’s annual goal is to build or acquire 75 to 113 stores, replace 10 existing locations and perform major remodels on 100 existing locations.
“Major remodels, 24-hour conversions and pizza delivery continue to deliver impressive sales gains,” Walljasper said.