Pumping Up In-Store Sales

A busy salesman on the way to his next appointment pulls into a Spinx convenience store to fill up his tank. It’s almost 1 p.m. and he hasn’t stopped since his day began just before 9 a.m. While pumping fuel, he glances at the color monitor built into the gas pump. He looks closer at

Remerging Technology?

Zip back to Nov. 4, 2008, when CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer seemed smitten by some techno-spice his network rolled out during its coverage of the presidential election. It went like this: A 3D image of a CNN correspondent in Chicago was beamed to the network’s New York headquarters, where she appeared in-studio as a hologram.

The Tax Train Keeps Rolling

January could not end soon enough. The industry hasn’t seen such a tumultuous month since November 1998 when Congress first turned to tobacco as its financial panacea. Big Brother was at it again last month with the U.S. Senate passing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)—including all of the cigarette and tobacco tax rate

Marketing the Forecourt

When it comes to convenience stores, every square inch of selling space is precious real estate. And when the inside of a store is fully merchandised, the only place left to go is the forecourt area. Some convenience store retailers have always made good use of the forecourt area—whether or not it featured fuel pumps—to

Divine Disruption

Here’s an entirely plausible scenario: At around 8 a.m. on a weekday, customers are lined six deep in front of the only open register at your suburban convenience store. The line has screeched to a halt because a deliveryman running late has flanked the clerk at the register and asked her to sign off on

How Foodservice Impacts Profits

Dennis Peters has no complaints about the proprietary fresh chicken program at two of his 24 Friendship Foods stores in Ohio. It’s popular, it’s profitable and it’s been a proven concept for the past 12 years. Well, maybe there’s one complaint. It’s a little too fresh. Not “peck-you-on-the-hand-when-you-grab-it” fresh, but certainly fresh enough to see

Meeting the Growing Foodservice Demand

This is what happens: Dad breaks to one side of the store to choose a sandwich from the Hot Spot, which he complements with a cup of hot coffee and a bag of chips.   Mom heads for the cappuccino dispenser, then works her way to a fresh salad kept cool in a temperature-controlled center-island

Smokeless Tobacco Market Includes New Flavor Innovations And Increased Consumer Demand

A perfect storm of societal, legislative, retail and economic factors in 2009 appears poised to push sales of smokeless products—the fastest-growing tobacco category—higher than ever. Convenience store retailers and marketers of such leading brands as Copenhagen, Skoal, Redman, Timberwolf, Kodiak, Red Seal, Rooster, Grizzly, Husky and Longhorn have already seen a flurry of activity on

Maximizing Energy Efficiency

Why waste anything—especially energy? Newer technologies and out-of-the-box thinking are helping trim energy costs, while plain old smart management can bring additional savings. “Most of the time, quite frankly, store operators haven’t even done the most basic stuff that could be saving them quite a bit on operating costs,” lamented John Noel, president of Energy

Trimming the Red Ink

When the economy falls off a cliff like it did in September 2008, is your business going to survive or even thrive? Most companies reacted to the downturn by cutting the usual costs: training, travel, raises, bonuses, headcount and 401(k) matching contributions. The bad news is these kinds of cuts also put employees in a

Finding Pizza Perfection

Choosing a branded pizza partner means balancing a complex equation that weighs such factors as product quality, financial and logistical considerations, marketing programs, employee training, ongoing support, brand equity and local competition. Suddenly, a cheese pizza isn’t so simple any more. It’s a complex decision that must be made carefully, said Dan Rotherham, director of

Securing the Convenience Store

Security remains an ongoing concern for convenience store operators, but new technologies and approaches are offering some great help. And great help is a great asset, because there is a lot of work to be done. Bad economic times mean increases in petty theft at retail. In fact, U.S. retailers lost $34.8 billion in stolen

Reaching Your Target Audience

When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise. There’s no doubt we’re trudging through some tough times—it’s been this way for at least the past year. And there’s certainly no “crystal ball” to tell us when it’ll all be over. We might pull out of this down cycle sooner

Preparing for Drastic Tobacco Regulations

Not surprisingly, convenience store industry operators identified the future of tobacco as one of their top five concerns heading into 2010. And with good reason. Operators have entered a period of unprecedented challenges when it comes to selling cigarettes, which means they must find new and innovative ways to market and merchandise this essential product

Establishing the Right Foodservice Brand

There are few sure things in business. But partnering with an established foodservice brand could be about as close as one can get. That’s because proven concepts offer so much, such as built-in brand equity, customer loyalty, honed or even turnkey systems with shorter learning curves, proven menus and recipes, pre-existing designs and equipment packages

Ethnic Flair Drives Roller Grill

My, how the roller grill continues to evolve. No longer visited exclusively by customers hungry for a hot dog, roller grills now boast a growing variety of ethnic foods nationwide, featuring everything from Mexican tortas to pork-filled Chinese steamed buns to breadsticks stuffed with jalapeno peppers and cheese. “We brought egg rolls and tornados into

A Legend Among Us

Growing up during the Great Depression, Bob Seng learned to appreciate hard work, dedication and the value of an honest day’s work. It was those principles that guided him during his nearly 20-year career at Shell Oil, which began 60 years ago in 1949. For Seng, now a spry 85 years young, the experience at

Top 10 Beer Brands by Sales

TOP 10 BEER BRANDS Dollar Sales Case Sales Average Case Price Bud Light $3,823,988,000 196,964,800 $19.41 Budweiser $1,665,968,000 86,153,840 $19.34 Miller Lite $1,058,876,000 54,739,080 $19.34 Coors Light $1,032,452,000 53,347,550 $19.35 Natural Light $731,114,600 53,353,600 $13.70 Busch Light $425,441,900 31,412,000 $13.54 Busch $420,969,600 30,295,220 $13.90 Miller High Life $283,124,300 19,965,860 $14.18 Michelob Ultra Light $244,068,600 10,588,680

Turbulent Times for Tobacco

Fasten your seat belts because 2009 will likely be one of the most turbulent years for the tobacco industry in recent memory. The outcome of the federal elections has further cemented Democratic control in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House and ushered in a new liberal administration with President-elect Obama waiting to be

Concerns Abound Over Food Costs

In today’s struggling economy, more than half (58%) of U.S. consumers are “very concerned” about rising food prices, The Nielsen Co. found in a new survey on consumer purchasing trends. As consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers employ options to manage abnormally high cost increases due to raw material and other expenditures, consumers voiced

Foodservice Flexibility

Few items that c-stores carry personify the industry’s mission more fully than sandwiches and wraps:  convenient, colorful, fast, tasty, inexpensive and full of impulse-sale potential. But the fact that consumers can also find them everywhere—from Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble to Starbucks and every local grocery and convenience store in between—means operators have to get

Simon Says: Refine Your Retail

Don Glenn and Jake Leatherman had just wrapped up three store visits to Atlas Oil customers in southern Michigan when their conversation turned from coffee to a slightly more slippery substance: petroleum. “Four dollars,” said Glenn, director of retail sales at Taylor, Mich.-based fuel distributor Atlas. “That’s where everybody’s world changed.” Leatherman, Atlas’ senior retail

Honoring Our Past

This month begins a very special year for Convenience Store Decisions. Throughout 2009 we are committed to recognizing the leaders and innovators that have shaped the convenience store and petroleum industry and helped create this multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Legends in Retailing will focus on the challenges operators faced in the early days of the industry,

BP Flies High on Atlas Oil’s Flagpoles

A visit to BP’s ampm stores a few years ago convinced Simon that BP’s established ampm brand—and its decision to divest itself of stores in the Midwest—was an opportunity for Atlas to acquire stores for its own dealers, as well as operate more stores on its own. In December 2007, Atlas forged an alliance with

Convenience Stores Hurt by Tobacco Taxed Ad Sales

Cigarettes continue to be the top in-store category based on sales dollars. On a monthly basis, the industry per store average over the past year was $39,127. However, its gross profit contribution slipped to 3.2% to $6,152 falling behind package beverages ($6,526), according to the National Association of Convenience Stores State of the Industry report.

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