You Don’t Have a Turnover Problem?

Most employers in the convenience store industry think they have a frontline employee turnover problem and, heaven knows, the research surveys seem to confirm your thoughts. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey in February 2008, 78% of 16- to 19-year-olds and 54% of 20- to 24-year-olds had a tenure time of 12 months

Retention of Frontline Employees

» More careful selection in hiring (57%) » Better compensation and benefit (50%) » Tuition reimbursement (47%) » Improved training programs (45%) » Better orientation programs (39%) » Adoption of a casual dress code (38%) » Flexible hours and schedules (33%) » Providing health insurance (29%) » Exit interviews (28%) » Profit-sharing (17%) Source: The

The Man in the Mirror

With the U.S. consuming about 20% of the world’s fuel, it’s time to take matters into our own hands to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. By Jim Callahan You may have noticed that fuel prices seem to be on the rise recently. Quite dramatically you say you’re really ticked off about it–you say

Recession Rx for Business

In good times, running a company is exhilarating. Money is flowing, customers are happy, employees have a spring in their step. In not-so-good times, like now, the very same job can feel like scaling Mt. Everest in a snowstorm while wearing a knapsack filled with bricks and suffering from a bad case of the flu.

Steppin’ into Spring and Springing into Summerby Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

I recently read a great quote attributed to a one time door-to-door sales person and lately more recognizable as founder of the billion-dollar company that bears her name, Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as

Nutty About Seeds

C-store customers are discovering what Native Americans learned thousands of years ago: A handful of nuts or sunflower seeds can satisfy hunger and boost energy reserves without risking adding excess body fat—and researchers have found that people who include nuts and seeds in their diets lower their risks for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Though

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

Do You Provide World-Class Service?

Today’s business environment is becoming increasingly complex and competitive due to globalization, new technology, increasing product proliferation, brand erosion, market segmentation, consumer skepticism and time poverty, rendering traditional business plans obsolete. For just about every product or service, there is an overwhelming number of choices to choose from, leaving consumers dazed and confused. So how

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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