In Touch with Foodservice

The latest technologies being used to manage c-store food programs—from touchscreens and POS ordering terminals to digital signage—are allowing marketers to enhance communications and streamline operations. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. A busy office worker steps up to the touchscreen terminal and gently presses a colored photo of a fresh deli sandwich. With a few


Choosing a Foodservice Model That Works

Is co-branding or a proprietary program the right choice for your chain? Retailers weigh in on what factors to consider before selecting a food brand. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor In today’s market, foodservice is crucial to attracting customers and maintaining strong sales. When adding foodservice, building a proprietary brand, co-branding and leasing space to

Lighting the Way to Energy Efficiency

While LEDs have helped many businesses reduce their carbon footprint, each retailer must decide if the endeavor is a worthy long-term investment. By: Erin Rigik, Associate Editor There’s not a business owner that wouldn’t love to save to money on utility costs while achieving energy efficiencies. LED lighting is allowing many convenience store chains to

Brewing a Coffee Strategy

Competition is percolating for gourmet sales, forcing c-store owners to elevate their offerings. By John Lofstock, Associate Editor. When people get more, they expect more—and that, as much as anything, helps to explain the challenge facing convenience store operators who emphasize coffee. Coffee quality at the retail level has improved to a point where what

Card Networks Still at Risk

Visa and MasterCard are among the payment providers targeted by “hacktivists”  calling into question the effectiveness of PCI compliance. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the U.K. in early December got some people angry—and they took revenge. A day after Assange was arrested and denied bail in London

Driving New Business in a Recession

Collecting customer data, using anonymous surveys and flawless execution can all be effective in attracting repeat customers. By John Lofstock, Editor. Downward slanting sales, a depleted customer base, constant stress, worry and handwringing…if these symptoms are all too familiar, then it’s likely your store is suffering from “recessionitis,” a disease plaguing many good-intentioned retailers. Fortunately,

Retail Outlook: Cautiously Optimistic

Balvor survey highlights the foodservice concerns, focus and sentiments held by convenience store operators heading into 2011. By David Bishop, Contributing Editor. Cautious because a number of external factors, ranging from continued high unemployment, constrained consumer spending, and weak construction and housing markets are creating especially stiff headwinds for their core shopper base. Optimistic as

Getting A Bigger Piece of the Foodservice Pie

Quality, price point and flexibility continue to drive customer interest in pizza. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Americans are into upscale, premium and gourmet everything these days. So why would anyone expect pizza to be any different? The question is, “Can your pizza program measure up?” From exotic toppings to a variety of doughs, c-store

Turning a Foodservice Profit

The stagnant economy and hefty cigarette taxes have more c-store chains adding extra roller grill items to provide a greater array of hot food options at a value price. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Yes, the number of food items that can be prepared on roller grills—hot dogs, corn dogs, taquitos, stuffed breadsticks, kielbasa, grilled

Seizing Smokeless Opportunities

The tobacco customer is changing, along with consumers’ product options, which is driving  optimism for a strong 2011. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Eric Choncko is a 31-year-old locomotive engineer living in North Texas. He also is a regular snuff user and a core convenience store customer. He chose that tobacco product over cigarettes several

Energy Powers Beverage Sales

The convenience of shots and the widespread  availability in c-stores have spurred the category’s success. By: Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Energy shots remain the hottest product in the energy beverage sector. The emergence of the shot market was so fast that the products seemingly came out of nowhere, at a time when the typically strong

Crafting a Beer Strategy

Microbrew sales are growing at a strong clip, while wine and spirits are also poised for a strong 2011. by: Joe Bush, Contributing Editor The near-term future of wine and craft beer sales in convenience stores involves value, flavor and products geared toward specific ethnic groups. The Brewer Association reports that while overall beer sales

Effectively Managing the Supply Chain

Pressure to reduce costs means that wholesalers and distributors need to work with convenience store retailers to trim the fat from the industry’s distribution infrastructure. by, John Lofstock, Editor Cutting supply chain costs remains a challenge for convenience store chains large and small—one that, sooner or later, they must confront. Dealing with primary wholesalers, multiple

Scoring Sales with Superior Sanitation

While a tidy restroom is crucial, c-store cleanliness starts with a well-kept forecourt, a quality store design and a dedicated staff that understands your expectations. by, Erin Rigik, associate editor Think your c-store and restrooms are clean enough? You might want to triple check your sanitation standards, especially if your chain is pushing foodservice. According

Courting Car Wash Customers

Strong new car sales are likely to spur more car wash trips, giving operators an opportunity to garner a strong repeat business in 2011. by, Erin Rigik, associate editor Buoyed by the likelihood of tax cut extensions and increased consumer confidence, auto sales climbed in December—great news for car wash operators as new automobile owners

Chandler Oil Gets an Upscale Facelift

David Miller renovates his flagship Chevron store in 45 days. He is expecting a 20% sales lift from his investment. When David Miller, president of Chandler Oil Chevron, decided to remodel his 3,000–square-foot Chandler, Ariz., store last year, he knew it was crucial to his customers, as well as to his business, that he keep

The 2011 Foodservice Report

Convenience store retailers posted strong across-the-board sales gains in 2010 and expressed optimism for an even more robust 2011. Thanks to an increasingly busy lifestyle, today’s convenience store customers regard food prepared away from home as a necessity, and the industry’s top-quartile retailers have benefited handsomely from meeting the growing demand for fresh foods. For

Connecting with the Community

For convenience store operators, being a good corporate citizen isn’t something they can take lightly. In fact giving back to the community should be considered the cost of doing business, and it should be part of a company’s long-term mission. Giving back is something Folk Oil Co. takes seriously. This fall, the company’s PS Food

A Culture of Convenience

Superior service, loyal employees and an upscale retail offering define the Thorntons brand. [callout title=At a Glance:  Thorntons Inc.] Thorntons was founded in 1971 by James Thornton in Louisville, Ky. His son, Matt Thornton, was named president and CEO of the 165-store chain in 2001, while James remains chairman of the family business. Headquarters: Louisville,

Kangaroo Express Garners World Record

The Pantry Inc. partnered with Oak Grove Elementary in Cary, N.C. last month, to help students break a Guinness World Record for the “Most People Sport Stacking at Multiple Locations in One Day.” In all, more than 314,000 sport stackers participated in the Nov. 18 event across the globe. The Southeastern convenience store chain, with

Driving New Business in a Competitive Market

Location, appearance and service are among the most important factors to consider when building and operating new convenience stores, but operators are urged to also focus on the impact of social media. Picking the right location for a new store can ensure business volume. Having the right appearance—or street appeal—may determine whether the majority of

Chicken Fuels Foodservice Flexibility

Whether it’s grilled, baked or fried, poultry meal solutions are available in a variety of dishes that are helping operators create a diverse menu. Chicken has a “health HALO,” in the foodservice industry’s parlance, meaning consumers perceive it to be a healthy alternative to burgers and pizza. Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for The NPD

Roller Grills Growing Up

Thanks to a surge of new products focused on ethnic diversity, the roller grill is hotter than ever before. There has been so much emphasis on fresh, made-to-order food and upscale coffee programs in the convenience store industry it’s easy to forget the tried-and-true roller grill. Sometimes implicated as part of the industry’s food-image problem—burned

Defend Your Hot Beverage Business

Tips for protecting sales and profits in today’s climate. Intensifying competition for the morning daypart and escalating commodity costs for coffee drinks have forced convenience retailers to make trade-offs between pricing and profits. This is no small issue as hot dispensed beverages are strategically vital to a retailer’s morning business segment and fresh foods program.

Attacking Shrink from All Angles

Loss prevention in retail is becoming a more challenging task as the economy stumbles along. In order to keep costs down it is important to put measures into place that will deter thieves. In a tough economy, every dollar counts. But loss prevention is often overlooked by convenience stores, even when following through on upholding