snacks

Salty Snack Sales Surging

Healthier fare is certainly not the only trend in packaged snack foods, but it is by far the most important and widespread one affecting convenience stores. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Salty snacks and chips is abuzz with activity: new products and line extensions, multi-million-dollar advertising and promotional campaigns and innovative in-store merchandising. When combined

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Building Bottled Water Sales

New products and core beverages will always drive cold vault sales. Retailers have to know how to market them effectively to maximize profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Bottled water sales continue to rise steadily, which is good news for overall packaged beverage sales in convenience stores. NACS reported recently that in the wake of

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Maintaining Compliance with Fuel Tank Standards

Out of sight, out of mind could land convenience store and gas station owners in serious trouble if they neglect their underground storage tanks (USTs) any longer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With fines for leaks on the rise, regulations for tank compliance data retention getting longer and reporting frequencies increasing, the time has come

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Boosting Energy Sales

Although some c-store operators admit to being worried about regulators turning their focus toward energy products, many believe the category has at least another year of strong growth ahead. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of energy shots are soaring despite the lingering recession. New products, flavors and marketing messages are making it one of

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The Impact of Restrooms on Food Sales

Poor safety and sanitation practices will turn customers away. Going above and beyond what’s required is the key to a healthy program. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The numbers tell an interesting story: according to a recent research study by Cintas Corp., fully 95% of people avoid patronizing a business in which they have had

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Smokeless Sales Show No Signs of Dipping

Enhancing variety will continue to be a key for this high growth category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of smokeless tobacco products keep increasing and convenience store operators are enjoying the ride. But keeping that graph line headed north means keeping a wary eye on proposed federal regulations, keeping sets fresh, properly allocating shelf

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Preparing for Future Payment Systems

First it was PCI, now retailers have to prepare for the widespread launch of Near Field Communications, which is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the U.S. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The convenience store industry is increasingly turnings its gaze outdoors to the forecourt, not only for

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Perfecting Pizza

A top-notch pie and artistic appeal help differentiate the offering for this important foodservice segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Pizza, a perennial favorite of American culture, is grabbing headlines as some restaurateurs and retailers devise gourmet versions with a variety of innovative toppings and crusts. And while that’s all well and good, c-store shoppers

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Getting Crafty in the Cold Vault

Beer sales are hot right now and driving the push are specialty brews and imports. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumer interest in more flavorful food and beverages has led, among other things, to the rise of craft beers. Retailers: Start your engines. Craft beers offer more challenging tastes, authenticity and often even a quirkiness

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Boosting Fresh Food Sales

Americans are more amenable to buying meals at convenience stores, but won’t budge when it comes to quality, price or convenience factors like portability and packaging. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor. Takeout food was invented for on-the-go consumers. But a takeout program has to do more than travel at high speeds. Today’s consumers want quality

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Adding a Spark to Tobacco Sales

Customized and novelty lighters offer customers an opportunity to express themselves. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. In simpler times, lighters were used chiefly as a means to an end—lighting up a cigarette, birthday candles or even restarting an oven. Today, however, with the growth of the tobacco accessories category, lighters have become an end in

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Cultivating Loyal C-Store Customers

An effective rewards program can drive new business and increase the average ticket ring with existing customers. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor. There was a time when loyalty programs were tools used by large chains to reward customers for their daily business. But the times have changed. Convenience store operators of all sizes are now

Smokeless

Seizing Control of Smokeless Sales

Convenience store retailers are still concerned over the FDA’s involvement in smokeless tobacco, but many expressed optimism that the category can continue to thrive. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While taxes and regulations haven’t impacted sales of smokeless tobacco products as much as some had predicted, it remains up to retailers to continue aggressively marketing

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Developing a Menu for All Customers

The flexibility of chicken as a menu item allows convenience store operators to develop profitable branded and proprietary programs without sacrificing quality or value.    By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Whether it’s sandwiches, tenders, wings, fried, breaded or sliced, customers have affordable options which can offer them a new experience during each trip to the

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Capitalizing on Coffee Trends

Hot beverages anchor the industry’s foodservice offering, but the category is also a top in-store destination and among the most profitable.   By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Numbers don’t lie–and when it comes to consumers and coffee, they show a category poised for even greater growth in the months ahead.Coffee consumption among consumers aged 18-29

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Beefing Up Snack Sales

The prevalence of meat snacks has grown a great deal in recent years as the market has expanded with innovative flavors and new varieties. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The meat snacks category, which many Americans consider all but synonymous with convenience stores, continues to build sales as well as prestige. New and exotic flavors

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Revitalized Roller Grill Sales

Hot dogs and tornados continue to provide chains with inexpensive, labor-friendly meal solutions that allow store operators to expand their fresh food offering. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. One of the most maligned pieces of equipment in all of foodservice—the roller grill—remains the backbone of many convenience store foodservice programs, offering an inexpensive, labor-friendly way

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Choosing the Perfect Pizza Program

Whether going with a branded option or developing a proprietary menu, pizza appeals to a wide variety of pallets.     By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Everybody loves pizza, but which pizza? And what will it take to get it to your customers? These are the kinds of questions convenience store operators need to ask themselves

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Securing the Convenience Store

Effective cash management solutions can be networked and integrated into existing POS systems to provide remote cash monitoring, further enabling a safer retail environment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Retail success doesn’t just mean keeping money coming in, but preventing money from going out. And while normal business expenses are inevitable, theft is not. Being

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Effective Visual Merchandising

By using creative store displays, retailers are making a certain connection with potential customers, one that is long lasting and makes them more apt to make a purchase. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Are you showing your wares as effectively as possible? According to the Convenience Consumer Insights (cci) Panel, the first-of-its-kind mobile research panel

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Driving Snacks Sales

While private label products are improving, quality and value remain critical components for all snacking options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “Yes, but…” That’s the all-too-common answer to the question of whether or not price promotions can drive snack sales in convenience stores. Yes, in a lousy economy people look for and respond to savings.

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Smokeless Sales Show Promise

While managing new products and planograms is vital, retailers will need to keep an eye out for federal tax increases and FDA intervention over the next 12 months. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokeless tobacco has outperformed expectations for three straight years—which, while good, leaves many in the industry fearing it’s only a matter of

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Strong Demand for Cigars

Flavored and single-serve cigars represent a real opportunity for convenience stores to boost tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains. But with FDA having declared last year that it’s got the cigar industry in its sights, retailers

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Tobacco Forges an Electronic Transformation

E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, but for convenience stores they are beginning to make a big impact on sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While electronic cigarettes show promise as a growing tobacco subcategory, two issues are threatening its widespread growth. One is the looming threat of government regulation, which most agree is inevitable,

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Tobacco Sales Rolling Along

As consumers embrace roll your own (RYO) tobacco, retailers are seeing a boost in sales of accessories such as rolling papers, cigarette tubes and rolling machines. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Smokers seeking a safe harbor from cigarette tax increases have made port in the roll your own (RYO) segment. Many have been pleasantly surprised

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