Convenient Retail Food, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services I
Retail Food

Convenient Retail Food
For quick convenient food purchases, Americans rely on delicatessens (delis), sandwich shops and convenience stores. One thing all these retail categories have in common is quick service and long opening hours.

Delicatessens make sandwiches to order and offer prepared foods and drinks ready to heat and serve, sometimes served on premises, typically in an alcove with a few small tables, often using disposable plates, and plastic cutlery. Delis also sell cold cuts, cheese, various types of salads and coleslaw by the pound for takeout. In many supermarkets, deli departments do exactly the same thing.

Sandwich shops, including chains like Subway and Quizno's, deal mainly with sandwiches, made to order, usually offering several dozen varieties, for on or off-premise consumption, in addition to sodas, coffee and other beverages. Some newer sandwich shops specialize in “wraps” and “Panini.”

Convenience stores, which often combine with gasoline stations, sell a limited range of convenience items and foods, including pre-packaged sandwiches, sodas, newspapers, magazines, and snacks, and perhaps a few basic groceries liked packaged deli meats, milk, cheese and eggs. You will often pay a premium for the convenience. The 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores, with more than 5000 outlets, is the largest in the United States.


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