Sheetz marketing itself as a restaurant is all wrong

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

16 April 2014

Sheetz has a lot of things going for it. But claiming to be a restaurant?

Sheetz seems to be doing a lot of things really well these days.

It boasts the cheapest gas (which is why I like them — as well as droves of others), has the cleanest stations, and is user friendly and visually striking. No one looks like Sheetz, which marks the first step in developing preference.

So with the Sheetz brand looking as strong as it is, why would it throw proverbial wrench into its success by advertising: “Just because we don’t look like a restaurant doesn’t mean we’re not one”?

“Ultimately, Sheetz is missing a perfect opportunity to take complete control in its respective market.”


SheetzReally? Just to be clear, Sheetz is a gas station with a great convenience center where you can get a quick and, let’s be honest, mediocre fast food sandwich. The food at Sheetz represents an excellent option for a cheap meal while on the road. But, it is definitely not a restaurant and taking on the major QSRs such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s is not a smart strategy.

Let’s play reality here. Just how foolish does this sound: “Okay guys, it’s gonna be Arby’s, Taco Bell or Sheetz.”

Does this scenario sound as stupid to you as it does me?

To me, this is messaging inanity because it simply isn’t believable. Ultimately, Sheetz is missing a perfect opportunity to take complete control in its respective market. Instead, it is wasting time and money by attempting to steal market share from restaurant chains where it doesn’t play on an equal field. Louis Sheetz, the company’s EVP of sales and marketing and member of the family that founded it, says that the lines between category definitions are blurred.

Exactly. That’s why the opportunity is missed because this marketing angle continues to blur the category lines without giving target audiences a true definition of what Sheetz is. If audiences don’t know where to place the brand or, even worse, don’t believe where the brand itself is saying it needs to be placed, then the brand becomes damaged.

Sheetz desperately needs to rethink this soon. It is already holding onto such a vital piece of the market that includes a brand in 7-Eleven that has lost its luster, but can now steal some of Sheetz’s share because Sheetz just opened the door. Clearly, Sheetz is willing to think outside of the box, but it must rethink its marketing approach and bring clarity to its position if it wishes to take that giant leap forward.

See more posts in the following related categories: gas station marketing QSR market Sheetz brand Sheetz marketing


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Walmart grocery delivery to overtake Amazon?

  Walmart grocery delivery   Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 19 February 2019 Walmart grocery delivery to overtake Amazon? I hate grocery shopping. Let me say that up front. Every Saturday or Sunday, we trek to the nearest Harris Teeter and pile our cart...

Measuring TV advertising effectiveness

  TV Advertising Effectiveness   Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 18 February 2019 Measuring TV advertising effectiveness I found a new study utterly hilarious as it says as much about the state of TV advertising effectiveness as it does about attention...

How feasible is the Toys R Us return?

  Toys R Us return   Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 13 February 2019 How feasible is the Toys R Us return? It appears the rumors of Toys R Us demise are greatly exaggerated. Tru Kids Brands announces that it has begun the Toys R Us return by reopening...

Share This