The c-store at Fox Lodge, the newest multi-concept dining location at Rollins College, has bet big on fresh grab and go items. And it's paying off.
Fox Lodge was built in 2021 to service three connecting dorms on the Rollins campus, located in Winter Park, Florida. It's open to anyone on campus though, and it accepts dining dollars as well as cash.
All of the C-store's grab and go offerings, dubbed Simply To Go, are made in-house. "We have a department dedicated to producing grab and go for the C-store. It started with one associate and now we're up to three or four," says Carolina Ossa, Rollins College Marketing Manager.
The focus is on healthy offerings, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. "We guarantee that everything is fresh. We try to use as many organic ingredients as we can," Ossa adds.
Core offerings include sandwiches, salads, and parfaits - with a twist. "We try to go beyond the basic Caesar or house salad, try to go more upscale and build things based on trends," says Ossa. This fall, the C-store will start offering salad jars that customers can simply shake, open, and eat. There'll be an emphasis on seasonal items which will be rotated every two weeks. Salad options include Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese, Apple Walnut, Citrus Avocado, Roasted Vegetable, Autumn Kale, and others.
Sandwiches and parfaits will get the rotating seasonal treatment too. Starting in September, grab and go sandwiches will include Roast Beef and Caramelized Onion, Caramelized Pear and Brie, Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese, Caprese Panini, Prime Rib, and Thanksgiving Turkey Club. The yogurt parfaits, which are available at breakfast and throughout the day, will include Blueberry Lemon, Fig and Honey, Maple Pecan, Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry Walnut, and Peppermint Chocolate.
Customers can also pick up Crave-A-Bowls including a Roasted Veggie Bowl, Falafel Grain Bowl, or Ramen Bowl. They're an ideal option for customers looking for something more substantial than a sandwich or salad, but who are still looking to grab a quick meal and head out the door. Those looking to feed a crowd can also pick up a family-style Grab and Go Meal Kit, such as an Asian Noodle, Chicken, and Veggie box.
Customers looking for the basics won't be disappointed though. In fact, Ossa reports that the most popular grab and go options are actually simple items like a turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat bread, ham and cheese on wheat bread, and a cheese and grapes snack box.
The open grab and go cooler is located in the middle of the C-store. A dedicated supervisor keeps tabs on which items are selling the most and places new orders every two to three days. Staffers do a big cooler restock in the morning and a second restock in the afternoon based on what's running low.
The C-store is open from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM, making it a convenient option for when many other campus dining locations are closed. But the most popular hours are from 11:30 AM to 1:15 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. "That's when we have common hour, when all of the students get out of class at the same time. Those days are peak at every dining location on campus," Ossa says.
Ossa admits that the lines during common hours can get long, even at the C-store. During those periods, two registers are staffed to keep things moving as quickly as possible.
The offerings and the setup are working. Prior to the opening of Fox Lodge, Rollins' old C-store took in $964,631.57 in sales in 2020. But by 2022, earnings for the new C-store had risen to $3,144,346.42.