Wawa’s burger test a publicity coup

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You have to hand it to Wawa.

On one of the deader weeks that follow the Super Bowl,  news came out that the Delaware County company is testing out an American favorite.

The Philadelphia Business Journal (paywall) broke the story, which indicated that Wawa is testing a dinner menu that would include burgers and chicken sandwiches.

Philly TV stations jumped on the story as did print and radio outlets.

The test is a small-scale affair involving a half-dozen of the chain’s 800 locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Florida. None of the stores are in Delaware.

One location mentioned in the PBJ story is in Horsham, PA. The company has not released a list.

Burgers are not uncommon at convenience stores, with one Wawa lover noting that the company years ago had a grill and staff that cooked tasty burgers at one of its locations.

While the new chicken and burger offerings sandwiches were panned by a review in the NJ.com website, Wawa does not care. It earned a million dollars in publicity.

Wawa has been expanding its menu over the years beyond its well-known hoagies. New stores and renovations of existing locations have expanded their ability to add more options.

Competition is also a factor. In Delaware, Baltimore-based Royal Farms has snapped up key corners with the lure of a large number of gas pumps and decent fried chicken. Royal Farms also opened a store near one of Wawa’s early locations near Philadelphia International Airport.

A well-run family-owned  rival in the region is  Sheetz, which has long offered burgers at its locations. The two companies are rivals but largely stay out of the other’s stronghold in Pennsylvania. 

The two companies have  bumped  heads as Wawa expands into portions of Maryland and Virginia.

In recent years, Wawa has focused on Florida and now has a couple of hundred stores throughout the state. it will be interesting to see if burgers are on the horizon in the Sunshine state.

Meanwhile, check out the many tasty offerings from indie restaurants this week.

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