Bear Aggression Triggers Bull Reaction in Oil Prices

Brian L. Milne, Energy Editor, Schneider Electric The weekend invasion of Ukraine by Russia has spiked global crude oil prices, hiking the geopolitical risk premium in crude values while the Obama administration has asked European countries to cut their oil and gas contracts with Russia, and to instead source crude from Africa, the Middle East

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CSD’s 2014 Foodservice Study

Retailers recognize that an effective foodservice program helps position them as a destination for on-the-go consumers. But new research shows that these programs are vital for creating competitive points of differentiation in today’s hyper-competitive environment. By John Lofstock, Editor, and Joshua Tahan, Study Hall Research The U.S. foodservice industry generated an estimated $660 billion in

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Equipped for Foodservice Success

After the recession-fueled hesitancy of the last couple of years, some retailers are once again investing in new foodservice equipment to add new items, boost sales of existing ones and streamline operations. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor When FriendShip Food Stores, based in Fremont, Ohio, decided to add frozen yogurt to the foodservice offerings at

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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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Building a Bakery Business

Research shows that breakfast sales are on the rise and that means sales can be too for retailers who have solid bakery products and programs in place. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor Packaged Facts research firm estimated that restaurant breakfast sales reached $47 billion in 2013, up 5% from 2012. And the company predicted that

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Sidestepping Foodservice Mistakes

Mastering the basics and knowing what to expect can help you avoid a foodservice disaster. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Foodservice continues to be a shining star in convenience stores, so expanding your food options should be on the menu in 2014—if you have the traffic. Lunch and dinner solutions can be added to c-stores

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Sheetz, QuikTrip and Atlas Honored With Awards

Top convenience store chains recognized for their workplace cultures. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor The convenience store channel is starting 2014 with a message for the rest of retail as Sheetz and QuikTrip both placed on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Atlas Oil was also recognized on the Achievers 50 Most

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LEDs Ripe For Installation

With costs down and technology improvements complete, now is the time for LED upgrades. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor As LEDs continue to improve, convenience store retailers are biting the bullet and signing on for upgrades in order to reap cost saving thanks to both implementation rebates and overall energy cost reduction. Tonawanda, N.Y.-based NOCO

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Motivating Today’s C-Store Employees

Recognizing your frontline staff, gaining their feedback and helping them see the meaning in their work is the key for fueling engagement. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor The most important attribute a convenience store has to offer is its customer facing employees. Especially when touting a foodservice program, image is everything from store cleanliness to

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Catering to Your Candy Customers

Americans are eating more chocolate, which means the time has come for retailers who haven’t already done so to rethink, revamp and restock their chocolate sets. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans love candy, but maximizing sales from this complex, yet essential category takes focus and attention. Melding new products and line extensions with must-have

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Building a Better Cigar Business

Tracking the trends and stocking more flavored products can help convenience stores boost overall tobacco sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Delighted with cigars’ popularity growing among consumers, convenience store operators are taking steps to maximize sales and satisfy customers even as they keep a wary eye on federal and local regulations that could impact

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The 2014 Social Media Awards

Convenience Store Decisions’ second annual look at the convenience store chains doing a superior job of connecting with their customers through social media. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Convenience Store Decisions, with help from Wildfire by Google, examined the nearly 60 convenience store and petroleum chains that are most active on social media, specifically examining

A Partner with a Purpose

At a time when most Big Oil companies are exiting the retail business, Phillips 66 is stepping up with a host of new programs to help make its branded retailers more profitable. By John Lofstock, Editor The convenience store and petroleum industry has transformed dramatically over the past decade, but no change has been as

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CST Brands’ Kim Bowers Rings NYSE Opening Bell

Recently spun off from Valero, the convenience store chain has big plans for 2014. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor CST Brands, which spun off from Valero last May, became the second-largest publicly-traded convenience store and petroleum retailer in North America.To celebrate, executives from CST Brands, parent company of the San Antonio-based Corner Store c-store chain,

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Taxation Taking a Toll on Cigarettes

Mounting restrictions on the retail sale of tobacco continues to plague this core convenience store category. By John Lofstock, Editor Long a staple of the convenience store industry, cigarettes remain a category in crisis. The rise of e-cigarettes and a never-ending spate of federal, state and local regulations have taken a toll on this once

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Is Your Company Posting with a Plan?

Retail businesses need a structured road map to manage successful social media programs. Social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer shares 11 essential components all social media strategies should include. By John Lofstock, Editor Many company leaders understand that in order to survive in today’s business world, their companies must have a social media presence. But

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Healthy Fare Drives Roller Grill Flair

To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of a wide-variety of palates the roller grill is becoming more important than ever for driving sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor When it comes to foodservice, convenience store operators often find themselves wedged unfairly between a rock and a hard place. Consumers want to indulge in food

Tax On Beer Considered To Help Pay For Health Care

Crafting a Winning Beer Strategy

While the economic downturn has affected consumer spending across many sectors, craft and craft-style beers are defying recessionary trends with an impressive upward trajectory.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Keeping tabs on ever-changing consumer preferences is part of the day-to-day routine for convenience store retailers. And when it comes to beer, preferences change from store to

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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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Premium Toppings, Pairings Boost Pizza Sales

Customizable options and combo opportunities are creating exciting new options across the foodservice category. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor Pizza remains among one of the most demanded foodservice options anywhere in the country. But it’s also one of the most competitive menu options. Customers are demanding high quality toppings and more exciting varieties in their

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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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Alternative Fuels Gaining Traction

While sales are increasing, the overall market share remains dwarfed by gasoline. By Brian L. Milne, Energy Editor, Schneider Electric U.S. vehicle sales in November 2013 at 1.243 million were at a 10-year high for a November, according to Edmunds.com, the car people. And, WardsAuto.com, which tracks global auto sales and trends, in December said

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Opportunities Abound in Meat Snacks

Mintel forecasts sales will top $1.3 billion by the end of 2015. By John Lofstock, Editor Estimates from Chicago-based Mintel Group, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey and other data, project solid growth for meaty snacks all the way through at least 2015, when they should top $1.3 billion. The research

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A Look Forward at 2014 Trends

Fuel price volatility and industry consolidation will continue to affect the convenience store and petroleum industry over the next 12 months. By David Zahn, Contributing Editor The past year was full of surprises. The much hyped hurricane season didn’t live up to its billing, and gas prices that seemed to rise for months plummeted in

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Slovacek’s Captures the Heart of Texas

This company’s latest convenience store celebrates the local Czech heritage and wows customers with unique features from a dog park to an upscale meat market. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Slovacek’s, a sausage company turned c-store, celebrated the grand opening of its newest location in West, Texas. At a whopping 22,000 square feet, the convenience

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