How to Control Operating Costs

The two largest expenses a convenience retailer often faces are labor and inventory, but costs can creep up anywhere. Experienced c-stores, however, have learned how to combat such costs. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor It is a truism in business that you cannot save your way to prosperity. Somebody probably also said once that containing

How to Build a Strong Service Team

Does your team really make service a priority? There are things you can do to develop a strong service team—and happier customers. By CSD Staff Developing a customer service team that has the skills to provide quality assistance to your customers can be the most straightforward plan if taken step by step. What can you

CSD Announces Product Winners

This summer we asked c-store customers in Ohio to taste-test the latest in snacks, sweets and beverages and let us know which ones they liked best. Now the votes have been tallied and we unveil the winners. By CSD Staff The votes are in and the winners of our First Annual Consumer Choice Contest have

How to Foster a Stronger Workforce

As convenience retailers compete with other channels to attract qualified workers, it may be time for c-stores to rethink their strategies. By David Bennett, Senior Editor The old adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch can apply to numerous things—from pies to politicians. Inside c-stores, a bad apple can impair customer service, productivity and

How to Prepare for NACS

Arriving at the NACS Show ready to mingle and network will increase your chances of coming away with new relationships and future opportunities. By Bill Scott, founder of StoreReport LLC & Scott Systems Inc. Before you pack up your golf clubs and wing it to Las Vegas to attend the 2015 NACS Show, it would

How to Figure Acquisition Financing

If a convenience store operation is primed to commit to a merger or acquisition, the potential benefits can be huge. However, missteps made when raising the capital can also be huge. By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor Obviously, not every company is in a position to buy, but for many small convenience store operators and chains,

How to Market to the Hispanic Consumer

Before convenience stores can effectively attract more Hispanic customers, they have to strive for cultural competence. This only happens through due diligence and time. By Sylvia Meléndez Klinger and Kate Brogan, Hispanic Food Communications Inc. There are more than 55 million Hispanic consumers in the U.S. today, and the Hispanic population is expected to double

How to Transition to Prepaid Cards

As it relates to prepaid platforms and the American consumer, the user profile has gone mass market. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Sharon Neal is the dream customer for any retailer selling prepaid cards. As manager of an educational foundation, Neal spent $10,000 on AMEX prepaid cards in 2014. Neal purchased numerous $25 cards and

How to Decipher Technology Lies

Our smartphones, tablets and other devices are technological marvels, but they’ve diverted our attention away from what people can accomplish in conversations. By CSD Staff Advertisements promise that the latest smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets will put blazing speed at our fingertips, enable us to multitask like an octopus and ensure that we never miss

How to Promote Sales with Packaging

The right packaging should do more than put a pretty face on your “fresh-to-go” foods. It should also maintain product freshness and offer customers consumption convenience. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor As more convenience stores venture into the realm of foodservice, they are quickly learning that packaging has to be more than just an afterthought.

Football Lessons I’ve Learned

With the football season upon us again, there are some life lessons to be gained from those who coach on the gridiron. By Jim Callahan So what does football have to do with addressing employee and management performance levels at convenience stores and truck stops? More than you might imagine. First though, I was struck

How True Believers Are Keeping the Flame Alive

In a positive corporate culture, you need different leaders and “True Believers.” By Fran Duskiewicz I suppose the reason that I have been mulling over what makes for a great corporate culture is that I will be moderating a panel on that topic at the National Advisors Group (NAG) Conference in Santa Fe, N.M. in

How to Keep Up With Evolving Payment Technology

As mobile payment grows, c-store retailers try different paths to meet customer demands. By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor Cash may still be king, but another portable payment system has its eyes on the throne: Mobile. As a result, convenience stores operators are keeping their eyes on the progress of this inevitable transition, looking for the

How to Spruce Up Sandwich Offerings

Ham and cheese on white bread used to be the go-to sandwich for grab and go. But now many consumers are expecting options that are unique, upscale and even unusual. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor It’s not often that customers express their approval when a retailer raises prices. But that’s exactly what happened when Englefield

How to Brew Coffee Profits

Variety and customization help coffee sales to continue to grow. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Whether it’s the desire for a jolt of caffeine in the morning or craving a specialty hot beverage as an afternoon pick-me-up, coffee remains a top beverage choice for consumers. The 2014 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) survey, produced by

How to Power Up Savings

What operational areas should convenience stores—intent on conserving energy and cutting electric bills—tackle first? Start with the basics. By Traci Dawn Carneal, Contributing Editor Efforts to reduce energy consumption can reap significant benefits for any retail operation, especially in convenience stores where even small cutbacks can mean big cost savings. The sliding scale of options,

How to Deal With Real Estate

Anytime a c-store acquires an existing property, there are various items to consider—from the environmental pollution that might exist in ground, to the traffic patterns on the corner, to the competition down the road. By David Bennett, Senior Editor A popular saying touts that the three most important considerations of a real estate deal are

How to Combat the Lazy Brain

Five tips to override this natural human tendency—and bolster your company in the process. By CSD Staff Humans are lazy thinkers. Although the brain comprises only about 2.5% of our body weight, it generally uses 20% of the body’s energy. That’s why the human learning machine prefers to operate in a low gear—on autopilot—as much

How to Keep Your C-Store Safe

Whether it’s employee theft, a robber, skimmers or other individuals intent on shrinking your profits, employing modern preventive means and methodologies is crucial in protecting your employees and your business. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor In the convenience store industry, a combination of best practices and technology are assisting c-store operators in reducing shrinkage problems.

How C-Stores Are Flying High With Chicken

Whether it’s for dashboard dining or taking home to the family, during different times of the day chicken offerings are helping retailers satisfy customers’ cravings for delicious, economical and wholesome food options. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Marinated, spiced, glazed, baked, broiled and especially fried, Americans seemingly can’t get enough chicken. In fact, 89% of

How to Win With Wine

Convenience stores are paying heed to customers’ thirst for better wine selections. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Wine usually isn’t top of mind for consumers when they stop at a convenience store—which is why operators need to draw their attention to the category, which can provide some good incremental sales. This past August, Technomic reported

How to Strengthen Smokeless Sales

Despite hurdles, smokeless tobacco sales continue to grow. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor As America continues its love/hate relationship with cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products (OTP) sales continue to inch higher. At the same time, smokeless and other forms of tobacco continue to face hurdles in the form of local restrictions. For

How To Boost Beverage Sales

As more consumers shun carbonated soda, teas and juices are at the ready to quench c-stores’ thirst for category profits. By Anne Baye Ericksen, Contributing Editor Of the top 10 merchandise categories in 2014 that demonstrated monthly strength in sales and margin percentage per the average store, tobacco was tops, followed by packaged beverages. According to

How the ACA Affects You After SCOTUS

The Supreme Court this summer upheld a key part of the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance subsidies to all qualifying Americans. Looking deeper, what does this mean for the convenience store industry? By Mark Battersby, Contributing Editor The U.S. Supreme Court in King v. Burwell has ruled the tax subsidies for health insurance

Obtaining a Second Opinion

Convenience store operators who make decisions based on their instinct, knowledge and experience are often proven right. But, to be especially sure that you’re on the right track, connect with an expert. By Jim Callahan We all know something about running a business and yes, many of us have been doing it successfully for years.