starbucking the system

Convenience concepts are spreading to coffee houses, supermarkets and even drug stores, and retailers have every reason to be concerned. It’s no secret that c-stores have“borrowed” ideas from outside channels.Thanks to Starbucks, c-storeoperators learned that customerswould pay $4 for a cup of coffee as long asit was a high-end brew. So it should comeas no

branding benefits

Proprietary packaging can push profits. By Julie Crawshaw, Contributing Editor A study conducted by the Wharton School of Researchfound that nearly 70% of all purchase decisions are made atthe point of sale, where packaging is the primary spokespersonfor the product. Using this knowledge to full advantage in your c-store’s foodservice segment calls for developing packaging

prepaying for the future

Reloadable cards are revolutionizing the prepaid wireless category and reaching out to new consumers. Convenience stores delvedinto the prepaid categoryyears ago by carrying long distance phone cards, long before the explosion of cellular phones. Today,the category has evolved into a distinctwireless display that caters to customerslooking for a commitment-free way to usethe latest cell phones.

cash in hand

After creating a successful financial services program, Great Stops LLC is primed to make it an attainable profit center for other retailers. The idea of cashing $1 million in taxadvance loan checks in a conveniencestore could be daunting to some retailers, but not Great Stops LLC. TheChapel Hill, N.C.-based operation has benefited from having a

reaching beyond the pumps

For a lot of customers, the firstand last thing they see when theyapproach a convenience store arethe gas pumps. Unfortunatelyfor some retailers, the pumps may also bethe only part of the store a customer seesduring their visit. Thanks to the combination of low fuel margins and high creditcard fees, selling only gasoline is a no-winproposition

wallowing in deep pools of inertia

Business success requires decisive action. Get ready, get set, whoa Nelly,hold on a minute. The failureto act decisively, to implement important decisions that are clearly in the best interests of thecompany, is a trend that we’ve noticed alot lately working with marketers around the country. To remain competitive and relevantin today’s tough business environmentrequires marketers

fas mart spreads its wings

After a successful test of a proprietary chicken program at 60 stores, the chain is preparing a company-wide rollout. With over 150 stores,Fas Mart and Shore Stop’smarket strategy focuses onspeed, quality and convenience for its customers. Its primary goalis to continuously improve the speed andthe quality of goods it offers consumers. Throughout its growth and

convenience 101

The average collegestudent has evolved. What was once stereotypedasanacademic pauperliving off nothingmore than pocketchange, ramen noodles and pizza crustshas transformed intosomething more: afast-paced, health-conscious studentlooking to get themost bang out oflimited bucks. Whilemost universitiesoffer extensive campus food programsfor students, many are opting for quickand simple solutions to accommodate students’ lifestyles through campus-operatedconvenience stores. College C-stores:

optimizing everything

Fifteen years ago, a young physicist named KenOuimet saw a strong correlation between the behaviorsof consumers and atoms. The analogy led him to developsoftware based on mathematics developed in theoretical physics that forecasts human buying behavior and incorporatesnew evidence in real time to update the forecast. Thus was priceoptimization software (POS) born. Today, Ouimet’s software

exxonmobil nice n easy honored with best in class foodservice awards

“The majority of ‘new’ ideas are simply new interpretations of old ideas,” said Louie Sheetz, vicepresident of marketing for Sheetz Inc. “Over thelast 30 years, we’ve taken advantage of opportunities like this Foodservice Show and NACS to learn from others. Alot of success in this industry is capturing an idea you’ve seen andchanging it to

finding your foodservice niche

The good news for conveniencestore owners is that industry foodservice sales continued climbingin 2006 and the forecast for theupcoming year is just as strong. The badnews, however, is that other retail channelsare keying in on food sales and are keenlyfocused on diverting your customers totheir coffee bars, quick-service restaurants(QSRs) and supermarkets. Predicting just how long

food for thought

Product sampling and a thorough understanding of customers helps form an effective foodservice marketing plan. I remember my first managerial job in foodservice retail. The year was1987 and I was a manager trainee forLittle Caesars Pizza. I had just completed an eight-week apprenticeship andwas named company store manager inNorthbrook, Ill. Northbrook is a well-to-dosuburb of

relief from credit card costs

It’s no secret that the cost of accepting credit cards is reaching dire newheights. According to the most recentNational Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) State of the Industry (SOI)report, retailers were burned for an estimated $6.6 billion dollars in credit cardprocessing fees—an increase of over $1 billion from the prior year. Accepting credit cards has

employee interviews how to get the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth

While the interview will always be the heart and soul of the hiring process, if you're not doing the preinterview, screening work (completed applications and testing for the needed capacities, attitudes, personality or skills), you're not using all the resources available to you. Why jump into interviewing when you don't know if the applicant even

a novel idea

The novelty category provides retailers with a uniqueopportunity to capture customers’personal hobbies and interests ina single, high-margin item. Whether it isa mother searching for the perfect Disneykey chain for her daughter or a young car enthusiast looking for a hat to wear to the big race, novelty items run the gamut andconvenience stores are faced

bp refocuses its customer commitment

It has been said time and again that youcan’t put a price on having an outstanding imageand offering great service. For BP, however, thatprice is $36 million–that’s what the oil supermajor is investing in a long-term advertising campaignto reach out to convenience store and petroleum customers with giveaways, in-store promotions and topromote its emphasis on

food for thought

Patience doesn't come easy, but it can haveits rewards. Nowhere is that more evident thanby observing the foodservice programs at Exxon Mobil Corp. and Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes. Bothchains have refined their food segments over severalyears to come up with the right menu to meet the needsof core customers, and that's why Convenience StoreDecisions

upgrading the kitchen

The type of equipment and its efficiencies play a major part in the success of a foodservice offering. Forget that crusty, old buttered roll grandpa picked up atthe corner store to complementhis morning coffee back in the day.Forget about those tiny bags of pretzelsor chips that used to suffice as a “meal onthe go” during

infinite possibilities

With a short life, big margins and a susceptibility to promotions, lighters can illuminate sales with the right variety and display. Lighters were once a ways toa mean—to light up a cigarette,ignite a candle or fire up a birthday cake—but they’ve evolved into a form of self-expression. David Dill,vice president of sales and marketing forJacksonville,

proprietary perserverance

Retailers are creating a buzz with new foodservice concepts— with some help from vendors and suppliers. There’s more than one wayto skin a cat, just like there’smore than one way to run a convenience foodservice program.Some retailers don’t know where to start,so they team up with branded conceptsthat lay everything out for them. Othersknow what

thinking outside the safe box

Retail safes, or “smart safes” as they’re often referred, are quickly becoming a regular component of secure, successful stores. And with their increasing regularity in the industry comes expanded options and technology for retailers to take advantage. CSD gathered insight from four of the biggest cash management suppliers to discuss how their products can best

ab imports a beer strategy

Beer sales are hot right now and driving the push are specialty brews and imports. In both cases, AnheuserBusch Cos. Inc. has a message for retailers: “We’ve got you covered.” In February, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch became the exclusive U.S. importer of a number of InBev’s premium Europeanimport beer brands. As part of the deal, Anheuser-Busch

designing a tank strategy

Thanks to emerging technology, fuel operators have many choices when installing or upgrading USTs. By William K. Morris, Contributing Editor Today’s UndergroUnd storage tank (Ust) installation is a far cry from those of the past. With the intricacies of environmental regulation, liability concerns and the high value of fuel, it is more important than ever

raising the visibility of underground storage tanks

What every retailer should know when it comes to UST release detection. By Ryan Mossman, Contributing Editor Fines for leaking storage tanks are on the rise, data retention for storage tank compliance is getting longer, reporting frequencies are increasing and criteria for meeting compliance are growing. Whether you are the owner of a convenience store

applauding the qt culture

Spend just a few minutes inside a QuikTrip convenience store and one thing becomes immediately clear: there seems to be a vibrant energy that is shared between customers and employees. This is no accident. The privately held Tulsa, Okla.-based chain has dedicatedvirtually all of its 49 years to cultivating this bond between customers and employees.

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