NACS CAFÉ Helps Identify Foodservice Solutions

Certified foodservice managers have shown that they are competent and disciplined, and they tend to display outstanding human resources management skills.

By Dr. Nancy Caldarola, Education Director, NACS CAFÉ

Foodservice has taken a prominent place in convenience stores. This segment has grown from a humble cup of coffee to a wide array of fresh sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastries, dispensed beverages, fruits and vegetables, and even on-the-go dinner solutions. If they did not get the message before, restaurants and supermarkets now know there is a new player in the foodservice marketplace.

To emphasize foodservice is easy. Just attend a high profile class or foodservice conference and follow the handouts that are filled with ideas, right? It’s very doubtful this sort of strategy will ever get your foodservice program where it needs to be to be successful. To have a functioning, profitable foodservice operation with capable employees and a manager you can trust requires ongoing education and training. That’s the premise behind NACS CAFÉ, the Center for Achieving Foodservice Excellence, and its program for developing foodservice management professionals.

The Certified Convenience Foodservice Manager (CCFM) program has been actively preparing convenience store foodservice managers with solid educational sessions and practical tools since 2010. The CCFM designation is the first certification for the convenience retail industry and shows, like other professional organizations before us, that NACS has identified the knowledge, skills and abilities of the professional convenience foodservice manager and recognizes these credentials. This NACS credential reflects achievement. It serves as an unbiased endorsement of an individual’s knowledge and professional experience against established performance competencies.

Understanding the True Challenges
In our CCFM classes we educate to a set of competencies and provide actionable tools for foodservice operators in c-stores. With more than a year of classes under our belts we still continue to add improvements to the program in our Atlanta-based sessions. While we cover the systems and foundations of foodservice and the varying levels of food delivery options in c-stores, our participants continually identify Menu Management, Financial Analysis and Troubleshooting, Merchandising and Packaging, and Growing Foodservice sessions as the topics that are most useful when they return to their store operations.

Any education program is only as good as its instructors. CCFM faculty all have enjoyed successful careers in the hospitality/foodservice industry and present class content using practical and proven examples to enhance learning. We provide reference materials, case study activities and group projects to encourage adult learning. We then use current examples of foodservice offered globally to encourage identification and analysis of opportunities both missed and successfully implemented by organizations.

Research on foodservice operations in both the restaurant and convenience retail industries is conducted and presented at these sessions to stay current with trends and to highlight the strategies of the executives and operators who are shaping the direction of this growing retail segment. We also support our students when they return to their stores. Calls and requests are accommodated to ensure the learning process continues after the classroom time ends, and we are available to visit each convenience store chain in a consultative role.

The CCFM program is held at the Georgia State University’s Hospitality School Learning Center. This three-day program ends with the certification examination and requires the completion of a project that will positively affect the foodservice operation of the sponsoring company. Individuals who have the CCFM designation must maintain continuing education credits over a three year period, just as other professional credentials require.

Contrary to what many c-store owners and operators believe, being successful with foodservice does not require that a brand have 200 stores and their own commissary. It requires time, effort, training and a commitment to a change in culture. We know well-planned and well-executed foodservice operations separate the top-quartile c-store operators from the rest of the pack. Let NACS CAFÉ help you move away from the pack.For details on upcoming NACS CAFÉ events visit



  1. Foodservice Solutions®  for C-stores, Grocery stores and Restaurants can be found at:  Contact Steven Johnson at:

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