Sandwich

Sandwich Sales Scale Higher

Sandwiches are big business for Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco USA convenience stores in Lawrence, Kan. In fact, they’re so big that he just opened a second standalone shop for his popular proprietary Sandbar Subs concept. Overall, sandwich sales are growing 8% every month for Zaremba at both the Zarco USA stores and standalone restaurants.

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

Chuckles

Chuckles: A Family Affair

With new locations planned for Kentucky and Indiana, third-generation C.E. Taylor Oil is positioning its Chuckles convenience store chain for the future. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When C.E. Taylor Oil Inc. was just getting started, family members who were intent on growing the business realized that while gas was the base of operations, retail

Sandwiches

Perfecting Foodservice

As retailers try to distinguish themselves through better customer offerings, CSD partnered with Study Hall Research to examine what foodservice components bring the highest returns. By John Lofstock, Editor, and Josh Tahan, Study Hall Research When it comes to executing a winning foodservice program, Keith Boston, director of foodservice for Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms Group

customer_loyalty

Building a Customized Loyalty Program

Using an industry-leading loyalty solution, operators across a host of retail channels can drive new business, gather crucial customer data and increase overall ticket sales. By John Lofstock, Editor Loyalty programs are everywhere in the retail industry. Customers encounter them multiple times almost every day—whether shopping at a grocery store, buying a cup of coffee

Valentine candy

Counting On Chocolate

While chocolate may be the gift of choice on Valentine’s Day, the sweet treat remains a year-round staple for convenience stores. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Sales of chocolate bars, chocolate-coated candy or fruit and chocolate bites continue to grow as convenience store customers indulge in their favorite confectionery. In fact, demand for the

Havana Cigars Texture

Lifting the Veil

What will it take to get Cuban cigars onto c-store shelves? By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience store operators who thought cigars when they learned of President Obama’s plan to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and dismantle economic sanctions may have to wait a while to bring those quality stogies to shelves. With an embassy

Coffee

Brewing Up Innovation

The rising cost of coffee and growing competition among convenience stores is spurring richer coffee programs across the board. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Due to Last Year’s droughts that hit Brazil, in addtion to a fungus that ravaged coffee bean fields in Central America for a good part of 2014, coffee prices rose about

AmericanGraffiti_StandUP_ICEE_POS

Frozen Beverage Revolution

Known for thrills, chills and even spills, frozen beverages have grown from meager c-store beginnings to celebrity status. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before frozen dispensed beverages made a mark in venues such as amusement parks, movie theaters and shopping food courts, the unique product was born and raised in the convenience store industry. No

TeamOilTravelInSnow

Preventing Power Outages

Generators can set your c-store apart when customers need food and fuel during disasters or bad weather. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Power outages and natural disasters can occur at any time, resulting in disrupted business, spoiled food and much worse. For many c-store owners, having a game plan to keep operations up and running

design3

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

Matt

Three Strategies To Automate Operations

How to stay ahead in an ever changing industry. By Matt Lauck, Emerson Climate Technologies Convenience stores have historically been known for selling packaged foods, cigarettes and cold beverages. Today, convenience stores are evolving to become foodservice destinations. This is a result of busy consumers wanting fresh, ready-to-eat meal solutions faster. For convenience store operators,

food

Foodservice: Best and Worst Practices

How you manage your food program, understand your local market and train your staff will go a long way toward determining your success. By Betsi Bixby The most profitable retail chains we did market business valuations for over the past year all had great foodservice results. The least profitable chains (and units) either didn’t have

Tornado2 Angle HR

Smart Foodservice Equipment Ideas

Expanding foodservice offerings often means shopping for new equipment. Retailers share how they are getting the biggest bang for their investment buck. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor One size doesn’t fit all, it turns out. At least it doesn’t when it comes to the new ovens ordered for Austin, Texas-based Kwik Chek Food Stores. When

COGos

Cream of the Crop

Though its legacy derives from the dairy business, CoGo’s commitment to modern convenience retail is reshaping its future. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Since Pittsburgh-based CoGo’s Co. chose to expand its operation in the shadow of West Virginia University (WVU) more than a year ago, the return on investment has been noteworthy. Not only did

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CSD’s 3rd Annual Social Media Awards

Convenience Store Decisions recognizes chains that are using social media to their advantage, as well as the top trends going into 2015. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience Store Decisions examined the results of nearly 60 c-store chains active on social media, specifically examining Facebook and Twitter to compile its 3rd annual Social Media awards.

Moneystacks

What’s Killing Petro Buy/Sell Deals

By Betsi Bixby Even marketers with a track record of acquisitions are starting to hit some snags they didn’t anticipate. What’s happening? What has changed? If buyers want to buy, and sellers want to sell, what is keeping happy marriages from taking place? Over the past 12-18 months, I’ve witnessed the proliferation of six common

storeemployee

When Your Team Isn’t Playing Nice With Each Other

By Betsi Bixby Your team is supposed to act like a team. Help each other. Solve problems together. Be nice to each other. Put the other guy first. That’s the perfect world, but it may not always look or feel like this. What happens when the team isn’t playing nice with each other? When the

Healthcare and Taxes

ACA Spurs Change

Convenience retailers should weigh their options to determine how their operations will coexist with the Affordable Care Act. By David Bennett, Senior Editor When Congress in 2010 enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), one pillar of the law’s sweeping objective was fostering a wide span of health plans to empower smaller employers.

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Bracing for Data Breaches

Securing customer information requires a multi-layered approach. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor News stories about hacking incidents dominated the headlines last year, starting in January with a security breach at the giant U.S. retailer Target that potentially risked the personal data of an estimated 70 million consumers. The calendar year concluded with Staples’ announcement

beer

Driving Better Beer Sales

Craft beer sales are soaring but top quartile retailers are using a balanced approach to grow all segments. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store retailers are preparing for another year of fragmentation and changing dynamics in the beer category in 2015. Beer across all retail channels is projected to end 2014 up 1% in

meat

Meat Snacks Surge

New flavors, old favorites spark growth in a competitive snacking segment. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Meat snacks—particularly jerky—continue to win a special place in consumers’ hearts—not just for the highly portable protein they provide, but also for their exotic flavors and ingredients, engaging promotions and product innovation. Brands like Jack Link’s, Frito Lay, Oh

energy

Plenty of Energy

As sales chug along, energy drinks continue to be an influential driver in the beverage market. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor The energy category continues to be a staple of the convenience store mix. And while top-selling brands such as Red Bull and Monster remain on top, consumers are coming to look for new flavors

electronic cigarette

E-Cigs Driving E-Choices

As big tobacco embraces the market, consumers are seeking a broader array of vaping products. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Savvy convenience store operators are taking stock in consumers’ growing hunger for tobacco alternatives, which is widening to include more than just electronic cigarettes. While best sellers like Lorillard Tobacco’s blu, Logic, NJOY, R.J. Reynolds’

Cigarettes with dollar

Mounting Pressure

As cigarette prices rise, margin stress on retailers remains. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor With cigarette consumption likely to continue to decline in the mid-single-digit range, pricing remains a crucial factor for retailers, and one that convenience store operators are watching with great interest. The Big Three U.S. tobacco manufacturers—Lorillard Inc., Philip Morris USA and

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