Clearly Delicious

To today’s consumers, transparency equals trust. Not just in how foods are sourced and produced, but also in how they are packaged for grab and go. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It has long been known that consumers eat first with their eyes, so see-through packaging is the best way to tempt consumers to grab

Crafting a Winning Menu

Great menus don’t happen overnight. They evolve with consumer preferences and food trends. But a few basic steps and a little creativity can help you build a market-competitive menu and keep it fresh and dynamic for your customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor  Each day at Cubby’s convenience stores in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota,

Cueing Food Deals

It’s not enough to have great-tasting offerings in today’s competitive marketplace. It also takes savvy marketing to determine the difference between lackluster and stellar foodservice sales.    By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Planting the foodservice seed with consumers should happen before customers walk in your front door, said a report from Datassential. The research company learned

Transparency in Chicken

Chicken continues to gain momentum as a foodservice favorite. At the same time consumers, especially Millennials, are more discerning about the background and preparation of the chicken items they purchase.  Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor To find chicken that was fresh never frozen, organic, free from antibiotics and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, consumers used to

Beefing Up Foodservice Sales

While burgers, sausages and brats have long been c-store staples, you can dress them up so they’re your next foodservice stars. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor At Rutter’s Farm Stores, purists can get their hamburgers and cheeseburgers au natural. But the York, Pa.-based c-store chain did not become a foodservice destination by playing it safe.

Boosting Bakery’s Bottom Line

Just labeling offerings “low sodium” or “low fat” doesn’t cut it anymore as a growing number of consumers look for simple, wholesome and recognizable ingredients in bakery items. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor To gain consumers’ trust, you have to tell them what they want to know. According to the Bellevue, Wash.-based trend-tracking company the

Deli Dishes Out Profits

Whether it’s for a made-to-order sandwich, pound of potato salad or full ready-to-eat meal, consumers are increasingly turning to delis for freshly-prepared foods. Retailers explain how they have turned their delis into destinations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor Delis are increasingly becoming consumers’ destinations of choice for fresh, premade meals, said a new report from

Crunch Time for C-Stores

Some Americans crunch for comfort, others to satisfy cravings for something savory and salty. Retailers tell how they follow flavor, texture and “better-for-you” trends to keep customers snacking happy.      By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When you think of comfort food, you might envision mom’s meatloaf or grandma’s apple pie. But as growing numbers of today’s

Getting Creative with Chicken

Whether it’s spicy or mild dishes such as specialty tacos or poppable bites, chicken lends itself to foodservice experimentation that keeps customers returning in flocks.   By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor Americans are expected to consume 91.8 pounds per capita of chicken in 2016, up from 90.1 pounds last year, according to the National Chicken Council.

Bigger Piece of the Pie

Convenience stores are beating out restaurants when it comes to pizza sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In the year ending March 2016, Americans purchased 5.2 billion servings of pizza from commercial restaurants and convenience stores, said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for NPD Group. Two hundred and eight million or 4% of those purchases

Weighing the Cost of Foodservice

Retailers can’t dip a toe into foodservice and expect to turn a profit. Often they need marketing, outstanding food offerings and a sense of economics to make a positive splash. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor It takes more than some new equipment, a menu and even the most eye-catching in-store signage to turn a fledgling

Sandwiches Go Bold

Sriracha. Aioli. Pico de gallo. Seasonings, sauces and spreads that many consumers couldn’t pronounce very long ago are now giving traditional condiments a run for their money. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor In the not-so-distant past, consumers had to go to ethnic restaurants to get the bold and authentic flavors they craved. Now all they

C-Stores Do Lunch … and Dinner

Breakfast may be the star of c-store foodservice programs, but food forward retailers are stepping up to the plate to vie for lunch and dinner sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor As supermarkets and convenience stores have been “raising the bar on their foodservice offerings,” an increasing number of consumers are choosing these outlets for their

How to Conduct Business Planning Through Co-Branding

Starting a proprietary program can be complicated and expensive. A more cost-effective way to enter the foodservice arena is to partner with an established brand. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Adding a foodservice concept may be a proven way to bolster a c-store’s bottom line, but only if it’s the right program operated the right

Why C-Stores Must Invest in Foodservice Equipment

Though a well-conceived menu is key to a launching a foodservice program, it takes the right tools to make it successful. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor With only enough space for a warming box, two of the convenience stores at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) were very limited as to the number and types

How To Provide On-the-Go Options

Customers want fresh food fast, that’s easy to eat on the go and features ingredients that excite. Quality sandwiches deliver fresh ideas that satisfy. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor As the demand for on-the-go foods with new and exciting ingredients continues, sandwiches are providing an efficient way for c-stores to provide new and customizable options in

How Bakery can Boost Breakfast

Whether it’s a bagel, muffin or fritter, Americans are sweet on pairing their morning coffee with a fresh pastry. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Breakfast customers are increasingly looking to convenience store bakery cases for a doughnut or pastry to help them kick off their day. C-stores that feature bakery cases and keep them well

How To Promote Roller Grill & Pizza

Buoyed by a constant stream of new products and equipment upgrades as well as focus on time-tested procedures, roller grill and pizza continue to appeal to convenience store customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Made-to-order foods may get most of the buzz, but there’s a good reason why so many convenience stores still offer roller

How To Wake Up Breakfast Sales

With America constantly on the go, it’s no surprise that grab-and-go breakfast sandwich sales are growing in the convenience channel. However, sales of not-so-portable foods are also on the rise. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Breakfast is the only restaurant daypart with sustained visit growth over the last several years, said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry

How To Heat Up Sales With Hot Dogs

With the emphasis on fresh, “better-for-you” and made to order, the roller grill is vying to compete for prime counter space at c-stores. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor The hot dog isn’t quite as humble as it used to be. Sonic Drive-in, for example, features six different dogs nationally (and two more regionally) on its

How To Profit With Pizza

Few foods are as veto-proof as pizza. Because of the promise of profits, convenience stores are getting an increasingly larger piece of the $40 billion U.S. pizza market. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Americans are passionate about pizza. They crave it morning, noon and night, as convenience store operators have discovered. And stores don’t have

How to Entice with Ethnic Food

Savvy c-store retailers are tempting the palates of today’s consumers and growing profits with bold and spicy ethnic food options. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When you promote yourself as “Adventure’s First Stop,” you had better be able to back that up with some spicy experiences. That’s what Maverik Convenience Stores does with its proprietary

How to Promote Sales with Packaging

The right packaging should do more than put a pretty face on your “fresh-to-go” foods. It should also maintain product freshness and offer customers consumption convenience. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor As more convenience stores venture into the realm of foodservice, they are quickly learning that packaging has to be more than just an afterthought.

How to Spruce Up Sandwich Offerings

Ham and cheese on white bread used to be the go-to sandwich for grab and go. But now many consumers are expecting options that are unique, upscale and even unusual. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s not often that customers express their approval when a retailer raises prices. But that’s exactly what happened when Englefield

How C-Stores Are Flying High With Chicken

Whether it’s for dashboard dining or taking home to the family, during different times of the day chicken offerings are helping retailers satisfy customers’ cravings for delicious, economical and wholesome food options. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Marinated, spiced, glazed, baked, broiled and especially fried, Americans seemingly can’t get enough chicken. In fact, 89% of

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