Driving Car Wash Profits

Increasing profits at the car wash depends on two tasks: drawing new customers and tempting current customers to increase the frequency of their visits. Determining which tactics will best accomplish these feats is where it gets complicated. Tactics that are working for many in the industry include touting loyalty programs, embarking on water-saving initiatives, participating

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Delivering the Goods

Winning Over CPG Customers   According to a new study commissioned by MEI Computer Technology Group Inc., there is an increased emphasis on improving trade promotion effectiveness, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers look to bolster the value and return on their trade spend, and capture wallet share from consumers.   Despite the current climate,

Is Your Land At Risk?

The question of eminent domain may sound scary and far fetched, but as a convenience store owner your land could in fact be seized by a municipality. It happens more than you think, said noted attorney William Goldman, who works with landowners facing this threat to ensure they get what they deserve. Goldman, and his

Superior Surveillance Helps Bolster the Bottom Line

In today’s difficult economy, most convenience store owners are turning their focus to profit driving initiatives to give business a boost. When dollars are tight, allotting extra funds to upgrade security equipment might seem a lower priority or even a frivolous expense, but experts note investing in security and surveillance measures can be a retailer’s

Today’s Top Snack Trends

The Food Channel has released its top 10 snack trends, one of its regular trend reports prepared in conjunction with CultureWaves, Mintel International and the International Food Futurists. “These trends are meant to inspire your back-to-school snacking,” said Kay Logsdon, editor-in-chief of The Food Channel. “But they also show how people are eating today, with

Cutting Down on Cooler Costs

Energy reduction remains an ongoing quest for convenience store operators as they look for ways to cut costs in an effort to improve their bottom lines. Building stores to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and seeking LEED certification is something more chains are pursuing, including Kum & Go, Kwik Trip and Quick

Food Sales Are On A Roll

Few things in life are easier than slapping together a sandwich. At home, that is. For c-store operators, operating a successful sandwich program is a complex matter that takes training, solid management, quality ingredients and, most of all, a commitment to a very different type of business than what they’re used to. Even then there

Shell Leaps into Loyalty

At a Glance: Shell’s Fuel Rewards Program   In an effort to bring value to its fuel customers and branded marketers, Shell Oil Products U.S., in July, launched its Grocery Rewards program with several of the nation’s largest supermarket brands in markets across the country. Customers earn one fuel point for every dollar spent at

Planning Your Packaging Needs

With foodservice sales booming and more retailers making the leap to fresh foods, operators are turning their attention to take-out packaging and finding that, with all the options and considerations, choosing the proper packaging can be as tricky as selecting the foodservice program itself. “There are so many things to think about when you’re looking

Sweet Success

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5%, according to AnythingResearch.com. When launching a bakery program, convenience store retailers are urged to start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product

Maintaining Strong Smokeless Sales

The slew of new regulations governing the sale of tobacco products has convenience store operators scratching their heads and wondering where the next assault will come from and what to do about it. For example:• The federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) went into effect on June 29, 2010. Its goal is to

The Future of Retail Technology

Imagine a day when your customers pay for coffee by scanning a cell phone, and play their favorite music at the gas pump with a quick swipe of a loyalty card. Well, ready or not, such technology is already out there and it’s coming for c-stores—the only question is how soon. As the Millennial generation

Placement Strategy Helps Prepaid Prosper

As the U.S. economic recession continues, it’s no secret that customers are altering their shopping habits to save a few dollars wherever they can. The silver lining for convenience store retailers could be the resulting affinity credit-crunched customers have developed for the prepaid segment. In a credit weary and increasingly online world, prepaid is helping

The Keys to Cleanliness

How can you get your employees to excel at a part of the job they probably can’t stand—cleaning the store in general and the restrooms in particular? “It’s a good question, and a never-ending pursuit,” said Tony Bartys, vice president of retail operations and marketing for Valero Energy Corp. in San Antonio. “It’s a challenge,

Strengthening Safe Security

Cash control practices are an essential part of any c-store operation—from having a cash management system in place to training employees in proper security protocol in everyday cash handling and in the event of a robbery. But more often than not, it’s in-house theft that c-stores need to be most vigilant about. “If you have

Understanding Your Foodservice Customers

Now more than ever convenience store executives recognize that both survival and prosperity depend on their ability to adapt to changing customer preferences and the evolving business environment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the changing role of convenience stores as a foodservice provider for budget-conscious, time-sensitive consumers that have scaled back on restaurant

Fresh from the Farm

Focus on the Franchise   Minimum Franchise Requirements: Net Worth: $750, 000; Liquid assets: $250, 000 Targeted growth areas: Swiss Farms is looking for single and multi-unit franchisees in the following counties: Northern Delaware: New Castle County; Eastern Pennsylvania: Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia County; New York: Nassau and Suffolk County; New Jersey: Camden,

Express Convenience Centers Comes of Age

At A Glance: Express Convenience Centers   Stores: 19 in the Fox Cities region of Wisconsin. Fuel: 17 proprietary-branded Excelerator stati ons and two BP stations. Leadership Team: • John Schmidt, President and CEO, U.S. Venture • Paul Sippl, Director of Branded Fuel Supply, U.S. Venture • Jim Anholzer, General Manager, Express Convenience Centers •

Convenience on Campus

At a Glance: The University of Northern Colorado Located in Greeley, Colo., the University of Northern Colorado was founded in 1889. The university features students from 38 states and five countries. Other highlights include: • College nickname: The Bears. • A 2009 enrollment of 9,973 undergraduate and 2,175 graduate students. • Student population: 60% female,

Ethnic Fare Adds Foodservice Flair

Sushi in the c-store cooler? Burritos in the food warmer? Mediterranean sandwiches on the menu? Exotic foods are here to stay and becoming more mainstream, spicing up the foodservice section and appealing to a wide audience. With the growth of the Internet consumers today are exposed to new foods they may not be used to

Vying for Customers with Value Meals

McDonald’s has it. Dunkin’ Donuts has it. And if your c-store doesn’t have it, you’re likely losing customers to the QSR down the street. In 2010, featuring a value meal with your foodservice offering is essential to driving new customers through your doors and securing them as regular visitors.  C-stores with foodservice programs are facing

Tapping Into the Buying Power of Hispanic Customers

C-store executives charged with marketing to the Hispanic community may be chagrined to find that there is, when all is said and done, no Hispanic community. Instead, there are many Hispanic communities. According to Chicago-based Doyle Research Associates Inc., “Hispanics possess many cultural similarities like common language, Spaniard ancestry and common religion. On the other

Security by Force

Convenience store retailers are already dealing with tobacco taxes, PCI deadlines and encroaching competition. Now, if officials in Mesa, Ariz. get their way, operators within the city limits will be forced to invest in security measures aimed at reducing incidents of theft. The proposed mandate, aimed at convenience stores measuring less than 7,500 square feet,

The Economic Reality of Recruiting

Just 24 months ago, anyone who wanted a frontline, hourly worker’s job only needed a pulse to get hired. Now, we are faced with staggering unemployment, massive underemployment and tremendous job dissatisfaction. A new report releases from The Conference Board found that just 45% of workers in the U.S. were satisfied with their jobs, the

Lighting the Way

Best Practices for Reducing Operating Costs There is a lengthy list of general maintenance items retailers should have to maximize cooler efficiency. Jerry Lawson, national manager for Energy Star Small Business and Congregations Network, a division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, recommended the following no-cost tips that are designed to help reduce

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