Wawa Fans Explain Why It's America's Best C-store

WAWA, Pa. -- There is no denying Wawa Inc. has legions of fans. Attend any of the retailer's grand-opening events and the crowd's enthusiasm is overwhelming.

The locally based convenience store operator also counts more than 1.1 million fans on Facebook and more than 30,000 followers on Twitter. This adoration led Business Insider to get to the bottom of the Wawa love, asking people from Wawa-inhabited towns why the chain is so popular.

What the report found was 11 reasons why customers love the convenience retailer:

  • Hoagies: The hoagie sandwiches are Wawa's most popular menu item. The dough is from Philadelphia bakery Amaroso and baked fresh in the store.
  • Hot and freshly prepared food: In addition to its famous hoagies, Wawa offers dozens of other freshly prepared menu items, including quesadillas, soups, salads, wraps and snacks like hot stuffed pretzels and buffalo chicken bites. Wawa also sells a range of desserts, including the oven-baked S'More Pie.
  • Free ATMs: Wawa doesn't charge for cash withdrawals.
  • Touchscreen menus: This makes ordering fast and easy, with very little room for error. Wawa was one of the first convenience stores to implement touchscreen menus. 
  • Service: In a 2005 study on the loyalty of Wawa's fans, Ohio State University professor Neeli Bendapudi found that customers repeatedly cited employee friendliness as a top draw to the convenience store chain.
  • Convenience factor: Every square inch of space in a Wawa store is specifically engineered to get customers in and out as quickly as possible. 
  • House-brand foods and drinks: Wawa has its own dairy farm, which opened in 1903, where it produces its own ice cream and milk. Wawa also has its own branded coffee, iced tea, soda, orange juice and more.
  • Breakfast: Wawa's "Sizzli" is its branded breakfast sandwich, which consumers can order a dozen different ways on a bagel, croissant, biscuit or French toast.
  • The hours: Most stores stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
  • It's the place to be: "I love the fact that almost every time I’m at Wawa, I see someone there I know," Tessa Kettelberger wrote on PhillyBurbs.com.
  • Not everyone has a Wawa: Wawa has roughly 625 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida.

"I LOVE Wawa!!!! I wish there were more of them. I wish there was some Wawa's in Arkansas. I love going to visit my cousins on the East Coast, and Wawa just makes it even better to go there," wrote one Facebook fan.

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