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

Can Gum Sales Stick?

Flavors might be capturing consumer attention, but retailers find tried-and-true mint products are driving interest in the gum and mints category. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor After several years of declining sales, gum saw renewed consumer interest and an uptick in sales in 2015. But analysts continue to predict that gum could face a rough

Weighing the Cost of Foodservice

Retailers can’t dip a toe into foodservice and expect to turn a profit. Often they need marketing, outstanding food offerings and a sense of economics to make a positive splash. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor It takes more than some new equipment, a menu and even the most eye-catching in-store signage to turn a fledgling

Sandwiches Go Bold

Sriracha. Aioli. Pico de gallo. Seasonings, sauces and spreads that many consumers couldn’t pronounce very long ago are now giving traditional condiments a run for their money. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Assistant Editor In the not-so-distant past, consumers had to go to ethnic restaurants to get the bold and authentic flavors they craved. Now all they

Chocolate Enjoys King-Size Sales

From large format sizes to resealable packaging and informative labels, chocolate trends are evolving. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor Health and wellness may be top of mind for most customers today, but that hasn’t slowed chocolate sales, which were up 5.6% in 2015 in the convenience and multi-outlet channel, compared to the previous year. In

Sweet Snacks Pack Variety

While indulgent sweets are still preferred by many U.S convenience customers, more consumers are spending their snacking dollars on healthier options. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience store operators continue to walk a tightrope, balancing consumers’ love of sweet snacks with their intent to eat healthier. Still, America’s sweet tooth isn’t going away any time

Salting Away Sales

Americans’ continuing hunger for salty snacks is keeping convenience stores at the forefront of a booming industry. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans’ love of salty snacks continues unabated as snacking occasions increase, shelf sets include more variety, spicier flavors gain wider acceptance and niche marketing grows in importance. The snacking trend continues to gain

Exploring Today’s Workforce

The Eighth Annual CSD/Humetrics Human Resources Benchmarking Survey identifies the key employee issues affecting convenience store retailers and what chains can do to overcome them. By Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics and John Lofstock, Editor Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics have again collaborated on our eighth annual Human Resources Benchmarking Survey. The results reported here are

Heroes Aren’t Who They Used to Be

The faces of acclaimed Americans have been replaced by some who aren’t so recognizable, but are heroic nevertheless. By Jim Callahan I saw the recent presidential debates and I’m left very troubled, with an emptiness and fear for our country. I watch as Republicans and Democrats hurl insults, spout half-truths, and make outlandish accusations and

CST Brands Under Scrutiny

Kim Lubel, president and CEO of CST Brands recently outlined the long-term benefits of some high-profile company moves, including the acquisition of Flash Foods. By David Bennett, Senior Editor In business circles, the term “inside baseball” connotes something highly detailed—usually operational. It can be as detailed as the diameter of customized bolts included within a

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