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Getting Serious About Foodservice Equipment

Space limitations used to be the bane of c-store operators who wanted a professional foodservice program. But now manufacturers are stepping up to the plate with equipment that serves multiple purposes and still fits nicely within the c-store footprint. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Scott Zaremba has three Zarco 66 c-stores that sell made-to-order food,

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Delivering the Goods

There’s no one-solution-fits-all when it comes to distribution. Focus and timing can make all the difference in the world. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. After working with a single distributor for 40 years, York, Pa.-based Rutter’s Farm Stores last month signed three-year agreements with Core-Mark and US Foods. Robert Perkins, Rutter’s vice president of marketing,

Candy

Strong Market for Candy and Confections

The numbers for gum might be somewhat glum but, overall, the more than $1.8 billion non-chocolate confections category is growing. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Danna Huskey, category manager for Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart Stores uses words and phrases, such as “rocking,” “shockingly great” and even “holy cow!” to describe recent sales of non-chocolate confections.

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Finding Your Foodservice Niche

From proprietary programs and co-branded QSRs to no-fee, turnkey foodservice solutions, c-stores have a wide variety of program options right at their fingertips. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Having been part of his family’s restaurant for 20 years, David Deddens knows what it takes to build a foodservice brand. That’s one of the reasons the

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Sandwich Programs on a Roll

Last year, the sandwich category was worth $27.7 billion, up 6.3% from 2011, according to Technomic. Retailers are optimistic that 2013 will be even stronger. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. With their in-store kitchens already producing made-from-scratch pizza and cake doughnuts, it was a natural progression for Casey’s General Store locations to expand into made-to-order

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Bakery Sales Stay Hot All Day

Keep doughnut and other bakery product displays full and fresh beyond breakfast for maximum profit potential.      By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor.When a client asked convenience store consultant Dean Dirks how he could increase his doughnut sales, Dirks gave him one simple piece of advice: “I told him to keep the display filled with

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Chocolate Remains Recession Proof

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) is predicting that 2013 will be a strong year for chocolate in convenience stores. Sales were up 3.3% for the last 52 weeks ended March 24, according to SymphonyIRI. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. In 2012, c-store was the only channel to gain in dollars (2.4%) and units (1.2%) in

Chicken

Diversifying the Foodservice Menu

With beef prices continuing to rise, poultry remains the protein of choice for many Americans. And, with the flexibility of chicken, this means ample opportunity for daypart-spanning sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Since introducing the Charley Bigg’s Chicken and Sauce program into two Friendship Food Stores six years ago and four more two years

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Seasonal Surge Drives Dispensed Beverages

Cold and frozen dispensed beverages are undergoing some major changes these days that continue to make the category one of the hottest in the convenience store industry. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Spring has sprung and with it comes a renewed focus on cold, frosty and refreshing beverages. For Pat Kelly, purchasing director for Hanover,

Grab&Go

Grab-and-Go Continues to Grow

Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when choosing a foodservice solution and convenience stores are answering the call with innovative programs that meet the latest food trends. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The number of consumers purchasing grab-and-go sandwiches and other foods is continuing to rise. Retailers have to be

AmericanCombo

Expanding the Foodservice Menu

Leveraging combo meals to include snacks and beverages can help boost lunch and dinner sales. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. According to a survey by Chicago-based research company Technomic Inc., 60% of consumers place a high level of importance on receiving a good value for their money when deciding which foodservice location to visit for

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Bakery Appeal Goes Beyond Breakfast

Fresh pastries and desserts are driving all-day snacking, helping to keep bakery sales active well past the morning daypart. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Keeping the doughnut and muffin displays filled and fresh in the morning is pretty much a no-brainer. But, in many convenience stores, these bakery displays look picked over and just plain

Anchoring the food program at Bolla Market's in New York City is its new coffee initiative, a complete line of organic, Fair Trade brews marketed under the Bolla brand. Harry Singh, company president and CEO, rolled the program out to stores in December.

Brewing an Upscale Coffee Strategy

Consumers are trading up to higher margin, premium coffees and teas. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. While coffee remains the workhorse of the morning daypart, a growing number of consumers are looking for their cups to come with a pedigree. The New York-based National Coffee Association (NCA) reported that almost half (46%) of all cups

RollerGrill

Roller Grills Go Global

It takes very little real estate to offer a world of flavors. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. A year and a half ago, Scott Zaremba removed all the roller grills from his Zarco 66 stores. “We weren’t doing a very good job of merchandising them, so they became almost an expense item for us,” the

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Meat Snacks Go Gourmet

Innovative flavors and new packaging target female and young snackers. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Manufacturers are finding other ways to woo women into choosing their products over chips and cookies when mid-day hunger pangs strike. One way is by emphasizing the snacks’ “better-for-you” attributes. Oh Boy! Oberto retooled its recipes to make them all-natural,

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New Products Fuel Energy Drink Sales

A handful of big brands own the  market, but they’re not resting on their laurels as new players enter the arena with new flavors and formats. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The company whose name is synonymous with energy drinks worldwide is still showing that it is bullish on the American market. For the first

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Fresh Coffee and Bakery Make for Good Mornings

Give customers some fresh ways to start their day and they’ll keep coming back for more, according to savvy c-store operators who are driving a.m. loyalty. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Two years ago, Nashville-based Tri Star Energy took at good, hard look at its Daily’s convenience store operation and decided the 80-unit chain needed

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Daypart Diversity Depends on Freshness

Retailers don’t have to wave goodbye to their roller grills to put a fresh face on lunch and dinner foodservice menus. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to lunch and dinner foodservice. Not everyone has the capital to invest in a proprietary commissary or the in-store

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A Sneak Peek at Trends in the New Year

Whether it’s implementing emerging technology or promoting a host of new foodservice items, 2013 promises to be an exciting year for convenience stores. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Thirteen isn’t usually regarded as a fortuitous number, but it takes more than luck to grow a business. Industry experts offered Convenience Store Decisions insights into some

COFFEE

How to Win the Battle of the Brews

Suddenly everybody’s a coffee expert, even the neighborhood pharmacy. So what are c-stores doing to maintain customer loyalty as the competition over brewed beverages heats up? By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Et tu, Walgreens? With the opening earlier this year of a new Upmarket Café in Walgreens’ new Chicago flagship store, shoppers can have a

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A Fresh Perspective on Grab-and-Go Sandwiches

With foodservice taking on a greater role in the industry, retailers find themselves with a tough decision: invest in a commissary, partner with a third party or build an in-house brand of their own. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Bob Goodwin pulls no punches when he says he wants to make sure everyone in Tedeschi

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Higher Profits in the Cards

Technology is making it faster, easier and more convenient for consumers to purchase, manage and reload prepaid cards. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. The direct-to-consumer prepaid market, including general-purpose, reloadable cards, such as Green Dot and NetSpend, phone cards and gift cards of all types, is growing by leaps and bounds. Last year, dollars loaded

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The Anatomy of an Effective LTO

The limited time offer is a proven strategy for testing new products, generating a buzz in your stores and giving consumers a compelling reason to make an immediate purchase. Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Everyone knows when the McRib comes to town. McDonald’s does not even have to advertise it; the saucy pork sandwich’s legions of

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Spice Up Sandwiches to Spike Sales

Technomic’s 2012 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report found that more than half (55%) of Americans are now purchasing grab-and-go sandwiches. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Just two years ago, the top-selling sandwiches at Famima convenience stores were tuna salad, turkey and cheese and egg salad, all on white bread. Today, the same proteins lead the pack,

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Coffee Driving Bakery Sales

To capture a greater share of the breakfast business, retailers are developing fresh bakery programs extensive enough to make their products destination-worthy in the morning and throughout the day. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor. Few, if any, local supermarkets or mom-and-pops in the Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin market areas where Kwik Trip has its 358

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