Pouring on the Profits

Ramping up cold and frozen dispensed beverage promotions during the summer months can create a profit center for convenience stores. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor In the past, summer fountain drink wars only took place in the convenience channel. But with today’s quick-service restaurants (QSRs)trying to capture c-stores’ beverage business, this is no longer the

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

RaceTrac Hosts the 2016 YEO Roundtable

Nearly 50 next-generation executives representing 40 c-store chains traveled to Atlanta for an in-depth look at RaceTrac’s operations and to participate in ample networking opportunities. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor The National Advisory Group (NAG) kicked off its third annual Young Executives Organization (YEO) roundtable on April 27 in Atlanta. RaceTrac Petroleum, Convenience Store Decisions’

The Pursuit of “Healthy” Prepared Foods

To succeed at better-for-you food sales, retailers should consider some requirements consumers hold true.  By Tim Powell There are few topics that garner as much attention, disagreement and misunderstanding in the c-store foodservice channel than the idea of “healthy” food. The common belief in foodservice as a whole is that consumers request one thing and

Fueling the Marketplace

Has the branded retail business become a house of cards?   By Mark Radosevich Several major oil companies are expending exorbitant sums to shore up their market positions around the country. A Southeastern marketer told me recently that the deals being offered to brand-switch one of his 60,000 gallon/month dealer accounts was “simply unprecedented.” Some offers

Fountain of Opportunity

Summer is a great time for c-store offerings—few of which are more refreshing and profitable than fountain drinks. By Jim Callahan Have you noticed all the beverage specials that bubble to the surface at convenience stores, and other retail establishments, during this time of the year? Summer weather is a natural fuel for the sale

UMass Amherst Transforms C-Stores

University of Massachusetts Amherst c-stores get a market-fresh makeover in time for this year’s incoming freshman class. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor The University of Massachusetts Amherst, located in Amherst, Mass., boasts the single largest dining operation in the U.S. based on revenue. In addition to the renowned dining program, the university offers 24 locations

Loyalty Branches Out

Apps offer the convenience of digital rewards, plus analytics to enable retailers to better target customers. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor As consumers grow increasingly mobile, loyalty programs are evolving to keep up with technological trends. C-stores of all sizes are positioning themselves to target customers on their smartphones, in order to better reward customers

Displaying the Wares

Convenience retailers are optimizing space by creating distinctive displays that draw customers into the store and maximize incremental and impulse sales. By Lisa White, Contributing Editor Although it may seem unconventional for a convenience store to take floor space away from a traditional gondola area, shifting the focus to higher-margin foodservice items turned out to

A Modest Tool to Ward Off Crime

GPS technology helps Mac’s Convenience Stores fight back against cigarette theft. By Sean Sportun The convenience store environment is a unique business model for a security professional. So, when it comes to preventing crime and protecting our employees we know we need to consistently evaluate our current practices and think outside the box. Two of

Roller Grill a Lot to Relish

Roller grill programs may change, but that often keeps customers coming back. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor All nine c-stores in the Bethlehem, Pa.-based Square One Market chain have a roller grill, but the company’s management team wants to give the category a facelift. “We have a grill program because everyone else has one,” said

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

Cigars in the Light

For convenience stores that count on margins from cigar sales, the FDA recently introduced uncertainty into the mix. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor The ongoing legislative assault on tobacco products continues, leaving c-store operators with unanswered questions about the future of their tobacco sets, including cigars. The latest is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s

Vape Rules Released — Now What?

After much anticipation, the FDA has released deeming regulations that will change how the vapor industry does business from now on. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its draft of proposed regulations of various tobacco products that previously were not covered by the Family Smoking

Taxing Tobacco Issues

Arguably, no state in the country has more convoluted tobacco laws to challenge both consumers and merchants than New York. By Jim Calvin Here in New York, what remains of the beleaguered tobacco category in convenience stores is under constant attack by health advocates and regulators who resemble hyenas feasting on a zebra carcass. IT’S

RYO Faces the Future

Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco isn’t immune to regulatory policy, but still has the equilibrium to remain a solid industry player. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco remains a segment in flux, tied as it is to such diverse factors as the health of the economy, the price of gasoline and stiffening federal and state

Stirring Up E-Cig Sales

Could the e-cigarette segment rebound now that federal regulations are finalized? By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its deeming regulations, concluding that e-cigarettes fall within the same purview as other regulated tobacco products. Also of note, recent research results out of the United Kingdom

Nouria Tapping Retail Potential

In the past 10 years, Nouria Energy Corp. has put together a savvy organization, which is taking the necessary steps to grow its retail brand in New England. By David Bennett, Senior Editor There comes a point in every successful convenience store company’s existence wherein it’s time to broaden the customer base, introduce new products

ATMs Can Deliver More

Maybe it’s hard to get animated over the functionality of ATMs, but a pilot program conducted in Ohio this past year could excite retailers over how cash machines can be used to generate business opportunities. By David Bennett, Senior Editor Like grab-and-go sandwiches or a frozen beverage, ATMs are a good fit for the convenience

Turning to Inventory Management

Whether for one store or 1,000, good inventory management can keep customers happy and retailers profitable. Many convenience stores are using technical advances to take the guesswork out of buying to keep the turns coming. By D. Gail Fleenor, Contributing Editor The days of counting product and filling out inventory forms by hand are a

Patience is a Virtue, But Also Hard Work

Lately, CST Brands has been under scrutiny for making some bold acquisitions that will take time to generate an optimal return on investment. By Fran Duskiewicz CST Brands Inc. has been in the news quite a bit these past few months, facing challenges from a couple of activist shareholder groups that have taken issue with

Rainbo Discovers Pot of Gold

Rainbo Oil Co., which operates the Kwik Stop convenience chain, is exploring various opportunities in 2016. With new store locations and a dynamic foodservice plan, the company has developed an enviable gem in its marketplace. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In the convenience store industry, there are plenty of chains that fly under the national

What’s Your 10-Year Retail Strategy?

By John Lofstock, Editor-in-Chief The world is evolving at a faster rate today than ever before. More data has been collected in the past five years than since the beginning of time. This includes data on your customers and their ever-changing needs. As the world changes, convenience stores will need to adapt. So what will the

The Modern Forecourt

More convenience retailers are investing in new forecourt amenities that are bigger, brighter and potentially more profitable. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor The convenience store forecourt has traditionally been an area with a limited number of fuel pumps and parking spaces, and perhaps a few retail items such as fireplace logs or bagged ice for

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