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The 2014 Category Management Outlook

With the industry facing heightened competition and shrinking margins, CSD offers retail insights, expert analysis and emerging trends from more than 30 key in-store categories. A CSD Staff Report While other retail channels have endured sluggish sales and numerous other customer challenges over the past three years, the convenience store and petroleum industry hasn’t missed

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C-Stores Bullish on Chicken

When Larry Miller started in the c-store business in the 1960s, he cut up chicken for the store’s meat market section. But most stores were skittish when it came to prepared products. Handling raw chicken and properly cooking presented minefields. No longer. “The supply chain is safer and the equipment makes it easier to prepare,”

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Roller Grill Trends Toward Innovation, Made to Order

In 2014, convenience stores are finding they can up their foodservice profile with specialty sausages, a range of breakfast options and different bun types, such as biscuits. “Roller grill offerings have really evolved and expanded in recent years. While hot dogs remain a staple, c-store operators are offering a broader range of items that meet

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Sandwiches Made Their Way

In 2014, sandwiches continue to be in high demand among convenience store consumers. Whole grain breads—as well as flatbreads, wraps and all kinds of artisan breads—and specialty cheeses and meats are among options grabbing customer attention. Rutter’s Farm Stores, with 59 locations in York, Pa., has seen success with a number of sandwich items. “Grilled

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Building the Bakery Business

Over the past 12 months, sales of packaged sweet baked snacks and desserts came close to the $13 billion mark, according to a report released by market research publisher Packaged Facts. The report, entitled “Packaged Sweet Baked Snacks and Desserts: U.S. Market Trends,” projects that sales will exceed $14 billion in 2017. That growth in

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Brewing a Coffee Strategy Pays Dividends

A well-run program can help customers start the day with a smile and bring them back again and again. It can also anchor a breakfast program, serve as a profit center and prove a key point of differentiation—assuming it is done right. Doing it right means starting with top-quality products, having all the condiments and

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Pizza Fans Split Over Indulgent And Healthier Pies

Still one of the most popular foodservice destinations, pizza is trending in two directions: indulgent and better for you, noted Donna Hood, Crecca, senior director of Technomic. “On the indulgent side, we see items such as the recently-introduced bacon cheeseburger pizza or Buffalo-style pizza. But on the better-for-you side, we’re also seeing pizza chains rolling

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Clyde’s Market Boosts its Retail Footprint

The Georgia chain is updating its chicken program, testing a smaller format barbeque restaurant and rolling out a larger convenience store size. By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor/News&Online As part of its ongoing effort to satisfy today’s on-the-go customers, Clyde’s Market with 43 convenience stores in Georgia, is applying lessons from its Rusty Pig barbeque restaurant

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

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