Arcoampm

Living the American Dream

Nachhattar Chandi began his c-store career as a cashier. Today he owns and operates 17 convenience stores and counting. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Nachhattar Chandi’s entrepreneurial journey from his start in a small village in India to a U.S. c-store cashier, to a successful c-store franchisee and owner of Chandi Group USA is a

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A Forward Look at Convenience Retailing

As Convenience Store Decisions celebrates its 25th anniversary, retail experts weigh in on what consumers and c-store operators can expect over the next 25 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs once cautioned. “You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the

CornerStore

MLPs: Sign of the Times

More convenience store chains like CST Brands are banking on master limited partnerships to improve their position in a widely-fragmented industry. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Acquisitions have always played a strategic role in the convenience store industry. Take for example CST Brands Inc., which last month entered into an agreement to acquire the convenience

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Leveraging QSRs in C-Stores

Foodservice veteran Dick Meyer shares lessons learned over more than two decades. By Dick Meyer, President, Meyer & Associates In 1993, I was blessed to begin my new consulting firm when the co-founder of Subway, Fred DeLuca, asked me to help them develop win/win development strategies with operators of c-store chains. Fred’s initial charter to

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Profiting With Poultry

C-store operators who put out a good quality chicken product might see their foodservice business fly higher. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor At the Arthur, Ill. location of Jack Flash Convenience Stores, chicken accounts for about 60% of foodservice sales, said John Herrmann, district supervisor for the 11-unit, Effingham, Ill.-based chain. The store also offers

Sandwich

Fresh is Best

By emphasizing quality, variety and convenience, retailers have the opportunity to convince consumers to purchase more sandwiches rather than making them at home. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When the quick-service provider Pret A Manger first introduced prepackaged sandwiches in its stores 10 years ago, the first thing the company had to do was communicate

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Cup O’ Competition

A quality coffee program and an array of condiments can differentiate your brew offering from the rest of the pack. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Last year, 7.8 billion cups of coffee were served by commercial restaurants, the vast majority through fast-food channels, according to NPD Group market research firm. Of those cups, 4.7 billion

Beer Tasting

Crafting Better Beer Sales

Millennials are the No. 1 consumers of craft beers, much to the delight of convenience stores that are growing their adult beverage business through specialty ale sales. By David Bennett, Senior Editor North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh might have remained a beer backwater had it not been for the grassroots lobbying group Pop the

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Teas Quench RTD Demand

With carbonated drink sales fizzing, ready-to-drink teas are satisfying customers’ thirst and c-store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As soft drink sales decline, customers continue to turn to iced teas and non-carbonated fruit beverages for healthful refreshment and exciting new tastes. Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas continue to lead growth among packaged beverages, something demographic findings

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FOR ALL SEASONS

Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the hazy shade of winter, innovative promotions can help maintain frozen beverage sales all year long. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience store operators know customers seek cold and frozen dispensed beverages when the thermometer outside rises. However, what can c-stores to do promote sales when temperatures

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Ruling on Smokeless Tobacco

Although smokeless tobacco has successfully held off most margin pressures, the category cannot escape the scrutiny of regulators. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As sales of traditional cigarettes continue to decline, many convenience stores are making the most of the swelling popularity of the smokeless tobacco category. C-store sales of smokeless tobacco climbed by 7.6%

SNACKS!

Salty Snacks Still Satisfy

Americans’ propensity for snacking hasn’t wavered, according to new research, and understanding trends can boost store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. A convenience store’s strategy to boost salty snack sales can be bolstered by understanding the growing body of research examining consumers and their snacking habits, then making adjustments to accommodate customers’ buying habits.

FamilyExpress

Planning Efficiency Upgrades

Family Express finds cost savings in a total energy efficiency retrofit. In that light, experts weigh in on how to determine if a conversion is right for your stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Family Express Corp. recently completed an aggressive and total energy efficiency upgrade, where it retrofitted its entire fleet of stores with

CCTV Camera Operating inside a shop

Employing Low-Tech Solutions

Employee theft is a routine cause of shrink. Sometimes the best loss prevention solutions are the most basic. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Employee theft is one of the biggest causes of shrink among c-stores, and retailers are combating it with high-tech solutions like high speed video cameras and online monitoring. But as is often

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Uber Upping the Ante

Startup Uber is delivering convenience store goods to wealthy neighborhoods in D.C. Could your town be next? By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Uber, a venture-funded startup and transportation network company that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and rideshare services via a mobile app, is piloting a c-store items delivery service in Washington,

COFFEE

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

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Rewards for Owning the Building

Understanding what financing options are available can give you a great advantage over your competition. By Mark E. Battersby, Contributing Editor How many convenience store retailers have failed to grow or expand their businesses because of a fear of “over-extending” themselves? All too often this fear exists simply because the convenience store operation’s executives and

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Are You Prepared?

With hurricane season approaching, savvy retailers are running drills, installing generators and checking in with repair partners to ensure they’re ready. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes, but foresight is key in protecting your business during storm season. Just ask convenience store retailers on the East Coast. When Hurricane

CarWash

Car Washes Can Clean Up

After committing to the upfront costs, convenience stores can wring regular profits from an automatic car wash operation. David Bennett, Senior Editor Gross revenues at convenience stores are affected by a multitude of market forces. Everything from constrained gas prices to tobacco taxes to bank fees can combine to impede cash streams. In fact, there

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The Hub Breaks Ground

New chain aims to be the premier c-store destination in the open expanse of North Dakota. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor It is unprecedented that Convenience Store Decisions would select a Chain to Watch that hasn’t finished constructing its first location, but The Hub Convenience Stores, which is set to open its first travel center

Rattlers

Rattlers Poised For Growth

The Texas chain is upping its game online while perfecting its own grab-and-go concept. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor With 11 locations in Texas, Rattlers Convenience Stores, is set to renovate one of its earliest stores located near its company headquarters in Navasota, Texas, doubling the location’s size. It’s just one sign the growing chain

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Zarco Debuts Innovative Pump Service

Zarco USA gains sales from fuel customers with touchscreen ordering that allows patrons to order their favorite foods while filing up their tanks. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Scott Zaremba, president of Lawrence, Kan.-based Zarco USA this past May rolled out touchscreen ordering at the pump at one of his nine convenience stores, with plans

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Distribution Models That Deliver

A self-distribution model can cut out the middle man and help your chain save on costs, but is a big capital investment. Partnering with a good distribution provider can be the right course of action, but only if the arrangement brings value to your operation. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Candy, tobacco, drinks, food and

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Deriving Loyalty From Data

Scanned data is putting basket-level insights in the hands of decision makers who can turn this information into strategies that drive profitability. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A customer’s continuing business is no longer guaranteed. Because of that fact, convenience stores strategize more and more on the need to understand their customers better, and to

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Managing Loss Prevention

Shrink comes in all shapes and sizes, but knowing how to identify and remedy these occurrences can enable c-stores to turn losses into gains. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When a convenience store is humming along efficiently, the signs are unmistakable: The coffee is fresh and flowing. People are enjoying prompt foodservice offerings. Motorists are

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