Ministop follows Seven-Eleven’s SIP! New grocery store-style stores with fresh food.

Specialized fast food at restaurant quality and a supermarket-like product lineup.Catering to the polarized needs of value-added and price-oriented consumers, as well as the convenience and stockpiling needs of customers.

On May 20th, Ministop opened its flagship store, Kanda Nishikicho 1-chome, in Tokyo’s Kanda district. This store is positioned as an experimental store to respond to the increasing polarization of consumer behavior, catering to both value-oriented and price-oriented customers. Akihiro Fujimoto, president of Ministop, explained that the flagship store is not a special new store but rather a new lab (experimental store) to horizontally deploy successful examples to other stores.

The store is a model of Ministop’s New Combo Store, focusing on enhancing both fast food (FF) and convenience store (CVS) products. In FF, the store offers high-quality products such as soft serve ice cream, shake soft, hot dogs, sandwiches, and soups made with domestic vegetables, with a self-service order kiosk. This allows customers to complete their orders and payments themselves, enabling efficient operations.

For CVS products, the store aims to provide convenience and value by enhancing the lineup of ready-to-eat and easy-to-prepare items. It offers a variety of bento, rice balls, pouch-style side dishes, seasonings, frozen foods, prepared noodles, and sandwiches, including products from Aeon Retail. Additionally, the store carries about three times the usual amount of fresh food (vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish) compared to standard stores, improving the one-stop shopping experience. By incorporating about 30% of products from Aeon’s private brand, Topvalu, the store emphasizes affordability.

The flagship store handles about 3,500 items, approximately 20% more than new stores in existing locations. In FF, it provides freshly made, high-quality items and addresses health-conscious needs by offering soups and tortilla sandwiches made with domestic vegetables. CVS products include about 120 fresh food items, sourced with the help of Aeon Group companies.

To establish efficient store operations, the store has implemented self-order terminals and product preparation notification monitors. This streamlines the process from order to product delivery. The store also works on establishing loss management methods for fresh food, utilizing OMO (Online Merges with Offline) by offering in-store pickup, locker delivery, home delivery, and mobile ordering options. Furthermore, by introducing quick commerce (instant delivery), the store aims to expand the ready-to-eat category and establish an operation system to prevent stockouts.

Ministop does not plan to increase the number of flagship stores in the future.

“This store serves as a research and development hub, and we plan to transplant successful examples to other new and existing stores. If there is a property with about 80 tsubo (approximately 264 square meters) of floor space, we would like to open similar stores in new locations,” they said.

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