Finding Your Way with Foodservice

Growing up in New YORK CITY few things were as natural to me as eating out. Even now with three children, a minimum of two meals a day are eaten outside the house seven days a week. The kitchen table is more of a convenient place to store things, like takeout menus and the kids’

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Will EMV be DOA?

Visa is encouraging retailers to move toward the EMV technology seen in Europe, but some argue by the time it’s implemented in the U.S., the technology will be outdated. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Visa this fall announced plans to speed up the migration to contact chip and contactless EMV chip credit card technology in

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Robinson Takes the Helm at NACS

Incoming chairman promotes advocacy as he prepares to battle swipe fees, fuel standards and tobacco regulations in the year ahead. By John Lofstock, Editor. Renowned author and business strategist Tom Peter once said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” When it comes to the challenges facing the convenience store and petroleum industry over

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The Impact of Alternative Fuels

The political momentum to bring renewable energy products to the pumps is strong and growing. But with all the added costs to rebuild the nation’s petroleum infrastructure, is it worth it? By John Lofstock, Editor. Preparing for the future is a complex issue retailers should always be pondering. But in the fuel business this question

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Maintaining Compliance with Fuel Tank Standards

Out of sight, out of mind could land convenience store and gas station owners in serious trouble if they neglect their underground storage tanks (USTs) any longer. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With fines for leaks on the rise, regulations for tank compliance data retention getting longer and reporting frequencies increasing, the time has come

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Driving Foodservice Profitability

Taking steps to promote innovative products and value pricing can elevate the whole roller grill experience. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. When consumers think of convenience store food, roller grill hot dogs are top of mind. Roller grills have developed a mixed reputation over the years, but they remain a staple of c-store foodservice programs

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Boosting Energy Sales

Although some c-store operators admit to being worried about regulators turning their focus toward energy products, many believe the category has at least another year of strong growth ahead. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of energy shots are soaring despite the lingering recession. New products, flavors and marketing messages are making it one of

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Clark Brands Grows West

Marketer is expanding its footprint beyond legacy states as it signs on independent operators. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Clark Brands LLC is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy in 2012, expanding from the Dakotas to Texas, from New Mexico to Michigan and all points in between, as more fuel marketers elect to join the Clark

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Baked to Perfection

As c-stores enhance their coffee and foodservice programs, operators look to fresh bakery to complete the package. By Heather Henstock, Contributing Editor. Convenience stores are investing heavily in store remodels and an experienced staff to create a bigger, better fresh foods program for customers. Too often they fall short in the bakery category, but a

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Strategic Positive Employee Relations

Proposed changes by the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board could drastically change how employers interact with their workforce. By Jeffrey Usher, Contributing Editor. In recent months, the words “unions” and “collective bargaining” have been spoken in the media, at social gatherings and in business meetings more than they have been in

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Keeping the Menu Fresh

Foodservice customers are becoming value-conscious, a reflection of current economic conditions. Consumers are now expecting better value in terms of price, service, consistency and food quality. By John Lofstock, Editor. Bringing consumers into convenience stores to buy food requires a great offering at a good price. But with all the competition for share of stomach,

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Smokeless Sales Show No Signs of Dipping

Enhancing variety will continue to be a key for this high growth category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Sales of smokeless tobacco products keep increasing and convenience store operators are enjoying the ride. But keeping that graph line headed north means keeping a wary eye on proposed federal regulations, keeping sets fresh, properly allocating shelf

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Train to Retain

To get and keep “A” players, retailers must become an employer of choice. This doesn’t always mean paying more money, but it does mean understanding that the way employees treat customers reflects the way their employers treat them. By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor. Do you ever wonder why no one ever trains us for life’s

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Understand the Rules Customer Service

One unhappy shopping experience can influence the behavior of 16 customers. Can you afford to lose that business? By Jim Callahan. Great customer service is still and will always be the hallmark of any successful retail business. As convenience store operators we have high standards to compete with. For example, it is standard practice in

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Thorntons Honored as 2011 Convenience Store Chain of the Year

Outstanding service, a sincere dedication to its team members and an ongoing commitment to convenience retailing earn the Louisville, Ky. chain the industry’s oldest and most prestigious award. By John Lofstock, Editor. The late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., once said, “A lot of companies have chosen to downsize. We chose a different path.

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Driving OTP Sales

While cigar sales do not approach those of cigarettes, they offer convenience stores better margins. Plus, new flavors and competitive pricing are keeping customers interested in the category. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. Other tobacco products (OTP) in general and cigars in particular continue to earn more shelf space in convenience stores, and the higher

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Rutter’s Introduces New Appetizers

New biscuits, battered sweet corn bites and cheeseburger bites greet hungry customers. Rutter’s has heightened its commitment to providing the widest selection of fast food in central Pennsylvania by adding three new menu choices, including biscuits. The biscuits to the menu, not only enhance Rutter’s breakfast selection by giving customers another choice for their breakfast

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Premium E-Cigarette

Kretek International Inc. offers a new line of CIG2O e-cigarette products. The CIG2O rechargeable water vapor cigarette was developed in the U.S. for Kretek by Spark Industries. CIG2O e-cigarettes were successfully launched in smoke shops early in 2010. The strength of adult consumer response led to the current nationwide roll out. The initial product line

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Getting Crafty in the Cold Vault

Beer sales are hot right now and driving the push are specialty brews and imports. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumer interest in more flavorful food and beverages has led, among other things, to the rise of craft beers. Retailers: Start your engines. Craft beers offer more challenging tastes, authenticity and often even a quirkiness

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McDonald’s Under Storm

An example of why addressing customer complaints in the age of social media is vital to your business. In today’s social media driven world, customer service is key to positive word-of-mouth, no matter the size of your chain or the scope of the complaint. If you doubt the seriousness of addressing customer complaints in a

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Englefield Oil Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Three generations of exceptional leadership and a keen focus on employees help the family business reach this distinctive milestone. By: John Lofstock, Editor. To understand the history of the convenience store and petroleum industry is to understand the individual success stories that helped build our great nation. Each company has a unique story, but their

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Boosting Fresh Food Sales

Americans are more amenable to buying meals at convenience stores, but won’t budge when it comes to quality, price or convenience factors like portability and packaging. By Howard Riell, Contributing Editor. Takeout food was invented for on-the-go consumers. But a takeout program has to do more than travel at high speeds. Today’s consumers want quality

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Foodservice Trends for Hispanic Consumers

Stripes is among the growing number of convenience store chains providing an authentic Hispanic cuisine to attract this growing demographic. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Early each morning the parking lots of Stripes Convenience Stores fill up with the trucks and cars of customers wanting to purchase a hearty meal of breakfast tacos, carne guisada

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Motivating Employees in a Challenging Economy

Some chains just don’t have the financial resources to give out much-deserved raises and bonuses, but there are other ways to show your staff you appreciate their hard work. By John Lofstock, Editor. To say the least, the past few years haven’t been the best for business. While we have weathered a brutal recession, it’s

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Don’t Settle for Employee Mediocrity

Training and preparing employees for advancement is one proven method for attracting and retaining these talented workers.  By Mel Kleiman, Contributing Editor. In the course of my more than 25 year’s of consulting and professional speaking work about how to recruit, select and retain the best frontline employees, I have identified one common case of

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