Image: Shelves lay empty at a Wonder Bread Hostess Bakery Outlet in Glendale

Monitor, Measure and Manage to Prevent Store Out-of-Stocks

The competitive retail business dictates that retailers must keep their shelves stocked to drive new sales and repeat business. By Pate Pape, Contributing Editor Problem: Controlling out-of-stock situations. Solution: Using smarter technology systems can keep items on the shelves. Back before the widespread use of POS technology, managers of Flash Foods convenience stores would regularly

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Winning Over Foodservice Customers

Fresh ingredients, a great presentation and knowledgeable employees will help convenience store retailers grow their foodservice sales.  By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Competition is getting tougher in the foodservice arena. Convenience stores and QSRs now go after the same targeted demographic: households with incomes below $50,000, according to Bloomberg Industries, a business research organization. That

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The Energy Category Maintains Vitality

Two-ounce shot and can sales have been on an upward growth trajectory since 2010 and with the economy improving the category is expected to continue on this positive growth path.     By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Despite speculation that the energy category would bottom out, the drinks, shots and mixes that perk up fatigued consumers

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Safe and Secure in the Convenience Store

Prominently placed security cameras can help deter potential thieves and identify those who do steal. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Thanks to the Internet, store operators concerned about shrink, shortage and safety now have the ability to videotape all in-store activities, plus monitor their outlets in real time from virtually anywhere in the world using

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Security is an Everyday Business Practice

From PCI compliance to loyalty programs, ensuring customers that their private information is secure is essential in gaining their trust. But the rules keep changing so retailers need to stay focused to remain in compliance with current security standards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In November, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC),

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Keeping Your Customers Connected with WiFi

With the proliferation of Smartphones, iPads and laptops, now more than ever your “always on” customers expect wireless Internet access where they go.By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In 1993 when Brett Stewart was speaking to top technology gurus at a conference in San Francisco, he predicted that the world would eventually enjoy the benefits of

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Speeding Through the Breakfast Zone

Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when it comes to a breakfast program. How competitive is your morning offering? By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone knows that breakfast is important. Over the years, research has shown that adults who eat breakfast are generally healthier, weigh less and have a reduced

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Mixed Smoke Signals for C-Stores

By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor.Tobacco customers and products are changing. Convenience store retailers must adapt to maintain category sales. It’s no secret that traditional cigarette use is declining. According to Gallup research, about 20% of Americans smoke at least one cigarette each week, which is down from the all-time high of 45% in 1955. Since

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Managing Network Security

To maintain the trust of your customers and to protect your business against liability issues, convenience stores must maintain the integrity of their credit and debit card networks. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Think you can’t find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit for a credit card breach? Think again. Multiple class-action lawsuits have

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The Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know Now

Beginning in 2014, health insurance will be available to individuals and small businesses through state-run “exchanges.”  These will require insurance companies to compete for business in the marketplace. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Now is the time for employers to prepare to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration’s healthcare law

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The Pizza Proposition

Staying one step ahead in a competitive marketplace requires planning, knowing your customers and understanding what opportunities exist in the marketplace. Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone loves pizza. It’s convenient, tasty and usually a good value for the money. “It’s easy, agreeable to all and enjoyable,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for NPD Group.

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The Growing Popularity of Growler Beer

Craft on draft is showing up in more and more convenience stores as consumers drive the demand for this niche brew program. Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Despite restrictions on where and how it can be sold, growler beer is a rapidly growing segment of the beer category, and convenience store operators are getting in on

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Proper Merchandising Encourages Sales

Dealing with a host of primary wholesalers, multiple DSD vendors and local foodservice providers, convenience store chains are learning to grow more efficient without sacrificing goods and services. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Like millions of Americans, Matt Paduano was traveling this summer, but he didn’t return home with a sun tan and postcards from

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Retailers Urged to Lighten Up

While LED lighting has helped many businesses reduce their carbon footprint, each retailer must decide if the endeavor is a worthy long-term investment. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. During holiday season 2011, the 74-foot Norway spruce in New York City’s Rockefeller Center was covered in 30,000 multicolored light-emitting diodes (LED). Those glowing decorations were an

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Building New Tobacco Sales

Retailers and government officials butt heads over handmade cigarettes. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Celeste Lucas likes to smoke, but she doesn’t like paying $5 a pack for cigarettes, so she took matters into her own hands and purchased a roll-your-own cigarette machine. Using loose tobacco and paper tubes, she can now create an entire

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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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ATMs and ADA: Are You Compliant?

While the new compliance standards have been on the ATM industry’s radar for many years. Fully understanding the intricacies of the new rules could be an overwhelming task for many storeowners. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. The ATM industry is currently facing the most complicated, but critical challenge it has ever encountered—managing the technical, new

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Negotiating for the Best Cost of Goods

Convenience store owners need to work more closely with suppliers and wholesalers to get better supply contracts and offer consumers more competitive prices. Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Convenience store owners need to work more closely with suppliers and wholesalers to get better supply contracts and offer consumers more competitive prices. A plaque in Ray Johnson’s

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Instant Rewards for Fuel Customers

With gas prices again on the rise, consumers are pumped about loyalty programs that offer discounts on gasoline. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Today’s competitive retailing environment makes it tough to attract and keep customers, so convenience stores are turning to loyalty programs that allow the faithful to earn points as they shop and redeem

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Managing the Distribution Network

There are endless perks and possibilities for convenience store chains of all sizes that embrace self delivery. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In the highly competitive convenience store industry, retailers must constantly search out new ways to control expenses, boost profits and improve margins. For chains of a certain size, self-distribution has the potential to

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Protecting Profits with Video Surveillance

Prominently placed security cameras can help deter potential thieves and identify those who do steal. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. A store cashier pockets the $20 bill that a busy commuter hands him to pay for fuel. A shopper picks up a tube of lip balm and casually drops it into her purse. A customer

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The Science of Scan Data

As retail technology evolves, convenience store operators have the tools to turn sales figures into actionable information. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Thanks to advanced technology, retailers can now collect data at the point of sale that tells them what is moving out of their stores, when it sells, who buys it and at what

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Healthy Options for All Income Levels

As the wellness market matures, consumers across all demographics are looking to manage any number of specific health concerns. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. When Bob Sickles was growing up on his family’s New Jersey farm, he ate plenty of homegrown produce and acquired an affinity for non-processed foods. “Of course, we had Pop Tarts

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PCI Compliance: Benefiting the Industry in Multiple Ways

Convenience store operators must stop treating the need for compliance as a nuisance. It is a complex part of the business that must be faced head on. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Just one month ago, Chase, the second-largest U.S. bank, plus a host of other well-known businesses, notified customers that their e-mail addresses had

Using scan data, store operators now have the ability to assess consumer buying behavior, create effective promotions, eliminate out-of-stocks and replace slow-moving merchandise.

Effectively Managing Scan Data

Before executives at The Spinx Co. roll out a sales promotion to their 75-plus convenience stores in the Carolinas, they carefully review current point-of-sale (POS) sales data. “We’re able to pull all sorts of data by store, by category and by items,” said Bryan Zeiger, category manager for Spinx, who relies on the reports when

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