Foxtrot is expanding its chain of upscale convenience stores as it looks to establish webs of one-hour delivery in more cities.
Founded in 2015, Foxtrot has opened six locations so far in its home city of Chicago and today, it announced its expansion to Dallas. Right now, it will open one store in the city, but co-founder and CEO Mike LaVitola said that Foxtrot wants to be able to open at least three to four stores in any new city it expands to, in order to better support delivery. The company’s delivery service accounts for half of its sales.
For a $5 fee, customers located within Foxtrot’s delivery radius can order online and get products delivered to them in under an hour. Foxtrot has its own couriers in-house who fulfill and deliver orders, though LaVitola declined to say exactly how many. He said that the company wanted to build a delivery system in-house because he felt that it was “the only way to keep service levels up” and ensure that Foxtrot could indeed deliver orders in under an hour.
The company’s expansion comes as larger convenience store chains are also starting to focus more on delivery. 7-Eleven first launched a delivery app a year ago, and earlier this week announced that it would start delivering to popular public locations in select cities, like parks and beaches. East coast chain Wawa currently has delivery available through Grubhub and Uber Eats. And, there’s the looming threat of Amazon, which now has 13 of its own Amazon Go convenience stores. Although Amazon Go stores don’t currently offer delivery, it would be a natural extension for the store, given Amazon’s focus on getting product to customers as quickly and conveniently as possible, no matter the cost.
Foxtrot won’t be able to match a national chain like 7-Eleven’s reach, so instead is betting on its ability to more uniquely curate product selections for each local market in order to win over customers. The company also relies on customer data — collected through its app or the company’s loyalty program, which LaVitola said about half of customers are signed up for — to decide which categories to add more SKUs in.
In addition to convenience store staples like chips and candy, Foxtrot’s stores sell craft beer, wine, sandwiches and salads with an emphasis on carrying products from local sellers. LaVitola said that Foxtrot spends little on paid advertising, instead of relying on co-marketing with local businesses, as well as in-store events from wine tasting to painting classes, to acquire new customers.
“When these businesses say, ‘Hey, you can now get our pastries, our coffee, our beer or x-y-z product at a Foxtrot — that brings their customers into our fold,” LaVitola said.
LaVitola said that Foxtrot plans to open one more store in Dallas before the end of the summer, and expand to another city by the end of the year.
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