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Menu Makeover

New flavors and small portion snacks can add excitement to an otherwise traditional foodservice menu. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Convenience store retailers pursuing proprietary foodservice have the challenge of keeping menus exciting and innovative, while still offering tried-and-true favorites that keep regulars coming back for more. Snacks and appetizers are one menu section where

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Tea for Two…and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. C-store chains like QuikTrip are responding by offering up to 10 flavors of fresh-brewed teas. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When Thompson wanted to lose

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Top Shelf Retailing

Shelf tags are becoming an increasingly important component of reducing out-of-stocks and providing a better customer service experience. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before heading to his neighborhood gym, Terrance Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, stopped at a local convenience store to pick up an energy drink. He selected his favorite from the cooler and

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Making Prepaid Pay

Marketing, merchandising and knowing customers’ needs are keys to expanding prepaid profitability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Research indicates that the amount of money spent at retail on prepaid services continues to grow in the U.S. But that may not necessarily mean the category will pay off handsomely for every c-store operator. The total dollars loaded

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Is Loyalty Right For Me?

Experts debate the challenges and benefits of integrating mobile payment and loyalty at convenience stores. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Mobile payment is fast becoming a reality. More c-stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are introducing payment and/or loyalty apps, and the recent announcement of Apple Pay is being heralded as a game changer in the mobile

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Make Sure You’re Secure

With credit card data hackers becoming increasingly innovative and sophisticated in their methods, it’s more important than ever for retailers to comply with current security standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Target, Supervalu, UPS, PF Chang’s and, most recently, Home Depot and even Dairy Queen—American retailers are being victimized

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Phillips 66 Continues to Drive Retail Innovation

The Houston-based energy company is piloting several test programs and rolling out new images to help its branded marketers boost sales and attract new business. By John Lofstock, Editor Phillips 66, which supplies more than 7,100 outlets under the Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands, continues to innovate. Through a strategic program called Experience 66,

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Retailers Meet Goal in Preventing Tobacco Sales to Minors

NATO Executive Director Thomas Briant discusses the policies that have been successful in curbing cigarette sales to minors. By John Lofstock, Editor A new report just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates retailers continue to meet federal mandates banning tobacco sales to youths under the age of 18. Tom

John Lofstock editor-in-chief of editorial operations and executive director of NAG leads the operation boot camp session.

NAG Conference Delivers New Ideas in San Antonio

C-store leaders gather at the annual meeting of the National Advisory Group to share ideas and network with fellow colleagues. By Erin Rigik and David Bennett, Senior Editors The 2014 National Advisory Group (NAG) welcomed retailers to the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Sept. 7-10 to discuss hot-button topics and exchange industry insights. Also featured

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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,

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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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