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

What’s For ‘Linner’?

If the combination of breakfast and lunch is called “brunch,” then shouldn’t the combination of lunch and dinner be labeled “linner?” That’s a question comedian Jerry Seinfeld once asked. Whatever c-stores call today’s increasingly common mix of meals and snacks throughout the day and evening, the trend offers expanded opportunities for foodservice sales. By Marilyn

How To Keep a Robust Grill

No matter what other foodservice products you offer, the roller grill is the first thing customers encounter. A clean, filled grill makes a clear statement about your commitment to foodservice. So does one that isn’t so well maintained. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Few retailers are ambivalent about roller grills. They either really love them

How To Make Your Roller Grill Shine

Keeping your convenience store roller grill clean and well stocked shows customers you are committed to foodservice success.   By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor C-store retailers tend to either love or hate the roller grill. Some feel it helps the overall perception of foodservice, while other feels it hurts it. But for those providing roller

Soup Up Your Sales

As a snack, appetizer, side or main meal, soup sells steadily throughout the day and—surprisingly enough—in the morning. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It may not be as enticing as a piled-high sandwich or as full of pizzazz as a generously topped pizza but, in its own quiet way, soup is a fresh foodservice workhorse.

Deli Can Equal Destination

Whether grab-and-go, made-to-order or both, deli had better translate to delicious to persuade consumers to make your c-store a foodservice destination. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Consumers might not expect to find a “gourmet” deli inside a convenience store, but that’s just what they get at Bolla Market locations around New York City and Long

How To Profit With A Pizza Program

While quick-service restaurants have been struggling with flat or slumping pizza sales over the past few years, convenience stores have been experiencing double-digit growth in the segment. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Based on a premise that more options would lead to more sales, Pizza Hut has amped up its menu to give consumers twice

How To Make Sure Your Chicken Offering Rules the Roost

Chicken is the No. 1 protein on restaurant and other foodservice menus. It’s economical and can be prepared in so many different ways, making it a customer favorite. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor According to the United States Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of chicken is projected to be 89.6 pounds this year, up

How to Make Unique Roller Grill Offerings Sizzle

In a growing number of c-stores, roller grills have come a long way from being an entry-level hot dog tool. Now they serve as a provider of a wide variety of innovative meals and snack foods. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Not so long ago, most roller grills were like drinking from an iffy water

Optimal Inventory Options

Without the right strategies and tools in place, tracking such line items as fuel pricing and in-store inventory can be a tricky—and costly—proposition. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor With stores located in highly competitive marketplaces, Kyle Lawrence, president of Kimball, Mich.-based By-Lo Oil Co., found himself constantly adjusting fuel pricing for the company’s Speedy Q

Proprietary Pies Tempt Customers

Limited time offers are helping c-store chains add excitement to the menu. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor This spring, Stop ‘n Go Convenience Store are spicing up the menu, testing a sriracha southwest sausage pizza with jalapeño peppers and queso in place of marinara sauce. Summer, the stores’ busiest season, is peak time for introducing

Salty Snacks Stimulate

Salty snacks are getting suggestive, with sweet and spicy variations abounding. With the Sweets & Snacks Expo scheduled this month in Chicago, the category is generating as much interest as it ever has. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Seeds are taking over the snack aisles at some convenience stores across the country. Cubby’s Convenience Stores,

Consumers Sweet On Chocolate

Despite last year’s price increases, Americans are still treating themselves to the little luxury that is chocolate. Retailers report how they control this ever-growing category and keep their focus on consumers’ sweet spot. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s hard to think of anything that 85% of Americans would agree on. One consensus, however, is

Delivering Freshness

Flavorful and healthy are what American consumers are craving, and expect to get it whether it’s made-to-order or grab-and-go. Some retailers explain how they use fresh and—increasingly—ethnic products to satisfy customers’ expectations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a recent survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), almost two in three Americans (64%)

Breakfast Carry Over

Cereal sales are suffering as consumers look for more portable breakfast options like egg sandwiches and Greek yogurt. With the right mix of products and value, convenience stores are well positioned to capture a greater share of the breakfast business. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a recent survey, NPD Group researchers found that American

Equipping Your Kitchen

A growing number of manufacturers are making foodservice equipment sized to fit smaller footprints required by convenience stores. Moreover, retailers are using these machines to make the most of their limited foodservice space. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Kyle Lore, corporate chef for North Salt Lake, Utah-based Maverik Convenience Stores, is not an impulsive person,

Connecting With Coffee Customers Gets Personal

While some c-stores are adding barista-staffed bars to compete in the coffee arena, most are finding simpler ways to make brew buying a more personalized experience for their customers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With about 11,000 chain and 14,000 independent cafes in the U.S., according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), consumers

Co-Branding: It’s What’s for Dinner

Just telling customers your food is fresh isn’t enough. Savvy retailers are building consumer confidence through co-branding and proprietary programs. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Who says you can’t please everyone? When it comes to foodservice, co-branding with established restaurant concepts enables the Kwik Stop stores in and around Dubuque, Iowa to cover every need

Design Efficiency

Good store design is more than just a pretty face. It can mean the difference between efficient and inefficient work flow, and whether customers see your products and perceive your brand in a positive light. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Alon Brands, the nation’s largest licensee of 7-Eleven stores, with 295 locations in west and