Customer Response Surveys Could Reap Big Benefits

As the convenience store and petroleum industry changes and evolves, retailers must continually battle blurred channels, changing technologies and decreased differentiation, one thing is constant: the experience you offer your customers can set you apart from your competition and keep your customers coming back. A great customer experience begins with knowing how your customers view

Foodservice Workers: How to Hire the Best

As convenience stores evolved from quick stops to full-blown foodservice centers that compete with the likes of Starbucks and McDonald’s, the need for top-notch employees has become as important as ever. Despite the increased demand required of employees, experts believe leading convenience store operators are in a good position to attract outstanding employees, they just

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive!by Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive! Staying Alive is both the title of an old disco tune, as well as a description of the challenge that today’s c-store operators face. C-store growth in numbers as well as quality continues unabated. I certainly don’t have all the answers about staying relevant, but I have some very interesting

Pivotal Year for Beer

What’s brewing in the beer category? A combination of higher prices, smaller crops, tighter dollars and expanded ethnic offerings may well make 2008 a memorable one for convenience store operators. A variety of forces are pushing and pulling the beer category in several directions. For instance, the higher prices of items like cigarettes and gasoline

Convenience Store Retailers Stepping Up Tobacco Lobbying Efforts

States are effectively cutting their own throats by continually hiking excise taxes on tobacco products–chasing away revenue, encouraging criminal behavior and unfairly penalizing smokers and retailers–and it’s up to the c-store industry to help them understand that. In fact many operators and state associations already are fighting the good fight by lobbying legislators, educating consumers,

Aisle Rage:It Starts on the Frontlines

magine yourself as the store manager of a major convenience store or supermarket chain. As you are busily building a new display, you notice two customers down an aisle that are in really close proximity to each other. The customers exchange sneers and you can feel the tension between them. One of the customers bumps

Five Steps To Build a Winning Corporate Culture

If I asked your employees, "What’s it like to work at your company? What kind of place is it?" their answers would largely describe your company culture. How would your employees answer? Would you like what you heard? If not, a leader’s responsibility is to change it. Some leadership teams attempt to create culture by

Leadership Tactics to Make 2008 a Pivotal Business

s you look back over 2007, you’re feeling a vague sense of discontent. Business is sluggish. Several key employees have left. And with new competitors springing up every day, you need to be at the top of your industry. Things are not terrible, but they could be a lot better. You need to turn things

A [Private] Affair

More. That’s what convenience store customers can expect to see of private-label brands–and what convenience store operators need to do in order to make those brands successful. The costs are too low, opportunities to build brand equity and loyalty too high, quality is rising too quickly and the benefits are too numerous for retailers with

Private Label Case Study: Tesco

Jim Hertel, the senior vice president of retail consultant Willard Bishop, spotlights international retailer Tesco PLC’s Fresh & Easy concept, which at presstime had been rolled into eight stores in Phoenix, with 26 more planned. Hertel noted that Tesco’s use of private label brands "turns a lot of conventional wisdom upside down. Many food retailers

To Market, To Market…

Every year, thousands of new products are introduced into an already crowded marketplace. In fact, a record-breaking 182,000 consumer packaged goods made their debut in 2007, up 17% jump over the previous year, according to Mintel International, a marketing research group. Some were hits, some were misses and some found their way onto convenience store

It’s All About New

Frequent new product launches have become de rigueur in the world of retailing, with customers expecting new product introductions on a regular basis. “Convenience customers love new items,” said Bill Tencza, senior category manager at Quick Chek, a chain with more than 100 stores in New Jersey and Southern New York. “And our customers look

Making It in the Marketplace

Driving business with new products is hardly a novel idea, but it’s also one that convenience store retailers rarely use to their advantage, said David Bishop, a partner with research and consulting firm Willard Bishop in Barrington, Ill. When retailers actively participate in the process of bringing a new product to the marketplace by helping

Michelada, Anyone?

Chelada, Anheuser-Busch’s new Clamato and beer beverage, isn’t really new at all. A variation of a beverage called Michelada, it belongs to a genre of drinks known in Spanish as cerveza preparada, which means prepared beer—a drink category that’s been around since at least the 1940’s in Mexico. One version of Chelada’s origins is that

Negotiation Practices for Small C-Store Chainsby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

The sweet science of obtaining a better deal than was offered! To compete with the big chains more effectively, you’ve got to be able to buy better, which is obviously much more difficult for a smaller chain, even more so for the single store operator. But in reality it’s much easier than you might think

The Simple Secrets of Getting Ahead in the C-Store Businessby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

A Must Read for all your cashiers! First, it is an established fact that getting ahead in the convenience store industry is much, much easier than in most any other industry. While we absolutely believe in the value of a good education–indeed many company’s help fund continuing education for their employees, our industry does not

Managing Real Estate Operations

The foundations for other industries lay in the product. The film industry pumps out movies. Pharmaceuticals companies manufacture drugs. Publishers print magazines. For convenience stores the world over, the foundation is literally the foundation.   “It comes down to location, location, location, just like in real estate,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of communications for

Executing Background Checks

You’ve certainly heard the old saying: “Our people are our greatest asset.”  We all know what the phrase intends to convey, but, if you think about it, the analogy is clumsy at best. In the real world, assets are things that can be bought, sold or traded, like buildings, equipment, patents, systems and secret ingredients.

Building Breakfast Sales

Chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have been busy overhauling their foodservice programs to capitalize on the increased demand for breakfast items, described by foodservice experts as the fastest-growing daypart segment. Convenience chains like 7-Eleven, however, are well ahead of the curve already owning a popular line of breakfast items that continues to expand.

The Pulse of the C-Store

The convenience store front counter provides the perfect canvas to showcase a mix of hot new items and profitable impulse buys that will grab customers’ attention. But experts agree that this area is among the most underutilized selling place in the entire store. Boosting impulse sales at the front counter is extremely important because the

Growing Same-Store Sales in a tough Market by Jim Callahan, Convenience Store Solutions

So simple – so profitable – so what’s stopping you! Unless you run an above average operation, you might just experience a sudden urge to stop reading, part way thru this article. I’m going to put the results toward the top to help, suppress that urge!More…

Can’t Take the Trip Without a Road Map!

Running Convenience Stores is a long and exciting journey, albeit fraught with Pot Holes, Winding Roads and Stormy Weather. If you’ll stay the course, you will still find that a small pot of gold awaits you!More… So tell me, what other long, rugged and expensive Trip would you make without using a “Road Map”?

Great Timing = Great Sales

Over the years, I’ve found that when I’ve matched the right product with the right occasion, I’ve been able to create increased sales with a much higher gross profit %. Not nearly as difficult as it sounds! Here’s an example: we place wool hats and brown jersey gloves on the counter, directly in front of

The Times They are a Changin’

So wrote the poet Bob Dylan! You may very well have a nice, clean, well merchandised Convenience Store and still not be doing the amount of business required. Just in case you missed the memo, the days of depending on Customers automatically coming to your nice store are over! Like Hansel and Gretel, the most

Let's Play Some Defense!

It’s a well know Sports adage that you can’t be a stand out winner without being strong on defense. The very same holds true for the Convenience Store Business. Viewing Security Tapes from your stores Video System is one excellent way of practicing “Strong Defense” (for those that don’t have Security Cameras, this very same

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