The president of the Casey’s convenience store chain based in Ankeny says they learned during restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 that customers like to help themselves.

Casey’s president, Darren Rebelez, says people like to pick out their own slice of pizza or other food items. “When we made the shift to full service — our guests did not like that,” Rebelez says. “Although we had people with masks and gloves on handing them their food — they didn’t like having to wait — they were accustomed to doing it themselves.”

During a conference call to report quarterly earnings, Rebelez says he visited several stores, but didn’t take a poll. “I don’t have any empirical data to share with you in terms of a percentage of like it, or don’t like. All I can tell you is — people were complaining when we made the change. People were happy when we changed it back,” according to Rebelez.

Chief financial officer Bill Walljasper says they did see the impact in food sales. “As we moved from a full service to a self-service model –depending on the category that’s a self-service — we see an uptick from ten to 15 percent on a category,” Walljasper says. “So, definitely that seems to be an overwhelming desire to have that self-service. At least in our market area.”

Walljasper says convenience stores are designed to get people in and out quickly and that was one of the issues with full service. Caseys has 2,154 stores in Iowa and seven other states

(Photo from Casey’s website)