By Mathias Altman-Kurosaki
As a student-athlete who spent four weeks on campus during winter break while operating on a limited budget, I know the benefits of having a Wawa nearby. My teammates and I would go to the Wawa on Sylvia Street after morning practice to pick up coffee and subs. This was a near-daily trip that we would take. Some of us made multiple trips to Wawa in a day if we didn’t feel like cooking another meal and wanted a cheaper option than what is offered at nearby restaurants.
However, as great as Wawa is, they face fierce competition from Sheetz. While Sheetz is mainly based out of Pennsylvania, the stores are very similar — both are gas stations and convenience stores that serve food and a variety of beverage options.
When taking a glance at the two menus, Sheetz offers more choices. They have burgers and pizzas, neither of which are offered at Wawa. They also have an extensive list of hot and cold subs, just like Wawa. However, some of the options at Sheetz do not sound very good. On the cold sub menu, there is an option to order a cold bacon sub. It is very hard to imagine how bacon, something that should only be served hot, can taste good cold. The fact that any place could serve cold bacon is sickening.
The Wawa menu has three different options for hoagie sizes: the four-inch junior roll, the six-inch shorti roll and the 10-inch classic roll. Sheetz sandwiches only come as six-inch or 12-inch subs. Wawa has always had the option to order hoagies with chicken strips and various dressings on them. Recently, they added a Southern Honey Hot option that includes grits.
Wawa’s menu has extensive bowl options that are hard to find elsewhere. Such options include mac and cheese and mashed potatoes with chicken tenders and mac and cheese with barbecue beef. While Sheetz also has mac and cheese bowls, they don’t have the mashed potato option or the 50/50 option (half mac and cheese, half mashed potatoes).
Wawa and Sheetz are both relatively affordable. However, Wawa’s quality and service are what sets it apart. At Wawa, the meat is flavorful and they offer an extensive variety of dressings compared to their competitor, Sheetz. When customers ask for bacon, they make sure the bacon is warm and crisp. The service at Wawa is lightning fast. They start making your order as soon as you input it at one of the touch-screen stations. It’s not uncommon for orders to be prepared and ready to go before customers get the chance to pay for their meal. I have only experienced long waits for my meals at Sheetz.
The biggest difference between the two convenience stores is the quality of beverages. As someone who can’t function without coffee, I rely on Wawa’s coffee heavily to get me through the week. It’s not just their “one-dollar any size coffee” deal that they run every-so-often, but it’s their cold brew coffee that really puts Wawa on another level. Sheetz does not offer cold brew as a menu item, whereas Wawa allows customers to order different flavors of the delicious cold brew coffee, and they even offer cold brew lattes. Additionally, Wawa’s milkshakes, while they don’t have as many flavor options as Sheetz, are on the same level as Shake Shack and Five Guys, but cost much less (milkshakes at Wawa cost $2.99 for the 16 oz. option, or $3.99 for the 24 oz. option — whereas Shake Shack costs $5.29 for a 12 oz. milkshake).
Wawa versus Sheetz is a debate that will forever be argued about on the East Coast. However, quality always beats quantity, which is why Wawa will always be superior.