overheard at the foodservice conference

CSD’S 2007 FooDService Showprovided outstanding educationalseminars and tradeshow exhibits forhundreds of retailers and suppliersstarving for news and information in one ofthe industry’s most profitable in-store categories. But what’s a good tradeshow withouta ton of great networking opportunities tolearn about the men and women that makethis industry run so smoothly. Here’s a sampling of the insider information picked up onthe tradeshow floor.

Delta Sonic is advancing heavily into the Syracuse, N.Y. market. The Buffalo, N.Y. chain, which has units in Pennsylvania and Chicago (yes, Chicago), is opening its second unit in Syracuse in July.

• After nearly three years in development, Dash in Food Stores is getting set to open a new prototype store next to its La Plata, Md. headquarters in mid-July. According to Brian Grabarek, category manager for the chain, the store will be slightly scaled down from some of its 4,300 sq. ft. stores, but”it’s the perfect amount of space where the store isn’t cramped and we have the flexibility to change with the trends,”he said. With the prototype, the company is emphasizing its new catch phrase “convenient hosptality” by blowing out its existing offering and introducing new facets to its food offering.”We’re really on the cuttingedge, not only our food program, but with somefun and innovative mar-keting techniques,” Grabarek added. “It’s going to be exciting.”

Texas Starinvestments is not a lending company! Despite thecompany name, the RETAILERhas been in business for nearly 75years in the Corpus Christi market. It operates 15 company stores and leases threeothers. Chains interested in borrowingmoney to buy new foodservice equipmentshould submit loan papers elsewhere.

Noco express and Xtra Mart areamong the chains exploring how to upgradetheir fountain programs. While chains likee-Z Mart in Texarkana, Texas reported ithad very strong volume and profitability atthe fountain, NOCO and Xtra Mart said theNortheast seems to be more of a packagedbeverage market.

• Kudos to Kent oil. The chain decided it wanted to bulk up its foodservice program and landed a former McDonald’s franchisee with 20-plus years experience. John hardell has some great ideas and insight into consumer needs.

The coalition of 7-eleven Franchisees is a shining example of the influence a collective group of storeowners can have. The coalition now represents 2,000 7-Eleven franchisees and represents 3,200 stores.

Marc crawford of espresso Specialists was careful not to act like a salesman when showing off his new espresso machines. Turns out it was the retailers, led by Louie Sheetz, that were seeking more sales information. (CSD‘s editors are expecting three organic, grande, low-fat, no-sugar cappuccinos with extra foam, a touch of cinnamon and a double cup with a flat lid for mentioning this.)

• So much for the timeliness of modern air travel. For Joe chiovera and Mike Kerby of exxonMobil, the commute to Dallas from California lasted 28 hours.

George Salinas, deli supervisor for Triple S Petroleum, revealed that each store offers a different recipe of hot sauce to go with their Mexican food offering. The reason? The chain allows its deli workers to create their own hot sauce recipes while they prep for the coming shifts. Salinas shared that this little initiative plays a huge part in keeping employees challenged and satisfied, explaining why they have such an impressive employee retention rate.


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