JohnMatthews

Making Prudent Capital Investments

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to the long-term success of a business, one of the key drivers is prudent capital re-investment.  Unlike operational expenses that are used to run the daily business or working capital to purchase inventory, money invested in the business that yields incremental

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Store Anniversaries

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Over the course of the last eight years, I have delivered a speech called “Local Store Marketing for Retailers” at least 50 times. This speech is designed to give retailers – both single store and multi-unit operators–a number of marketing ideas that they should

JohnMatthews

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are a vital resource to managing your business.  Each selected KPI can be your bellwether indicator for all departments and take the guesswork out of your strategy.  Rather than relying on old adages

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Break-Even Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. One of the most-asked questions I hear from store owners is “What sales volume does my store need in order to make money?”  While it would be convenient to rattle off a sales figure off the top of my head, it undoubtedly is a

NFC-payment

Preparing for Future Payment Systems

First it was PCI, now retailers have to prepare for the widespread launch of Near Field Communications, which is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the U.S. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The convenience store industry is increasingly turnings its gaze outdoors to the forecourt, not only for

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Foodservice Group Sales

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. One often-overlooked strategy to generate ancillary foodservice revenues is developing a program to tap group sales.  Generating revenue through large group order sales is an excellent way to exponentially grow your business.  The sale from the initial large group order is the first source

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing: Greetings & Suggestive Sales

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With any size retailer, getting customer trial at your store is the easy part.  If the store owner throws out a compelling offer – perhaps a free deal – customers will come to your store to “check you out.”  This is fairly straight forward,

JohnMatthews

Four Wall Analysis

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. When it comes to managing a profitable operation, knowing the key financial drivers of the store is paramount. Developing a “Four-Wall Analysis” is a helpful tool to better understanding both revenue projections as well as variable and fixed expenses. Few operators take the time

JohnMatthews

Connecting The Dots

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. You may think about your business 24/7, but chances are your customers do not. Hard to believe, right? I am a big believer that the successful businessperson is always considering how they can “connect the dots” for their customers more easily so that their

JohnMatthews

Operational Excellence

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Managing a retail store is tough work. Between operations, merchandising, marketing and facility upkeep, retail business owners have their hands full.  Managing the details of retail is the difference between making it or not.  All too often, retail owners become lax in their operation

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Time For Business Planning!

John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .”  Ah yes, the annual business planning cycle is upon us. The time of the year to huddle all of your business colleagues in a room to hash out the key initiatives for the upcoming

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It’s Showtime!

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. It is time to create a stir.  Some excitement.  Some passion.  Go ahead, pound your chest a bit.  It is time to make yourself known.  It’s Showtime! All too often, store operators – after their grand opening—sit back and wait for the phone to

JohnMatthews

Promoting Your Store Through Public Relations

 By: John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Public relations can often be overlooked as a powerful tool in communicating your store and its brand throughout the community. Whether you are creating news, sponsoring an event or contributing to a charitable organization, a prudent public relations strategy can create the following benefits

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Local Store Marketing: Coupon Books

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Growing up in Michigan, I was a part of a very prestigious high school baseball team– the Plymouth Canton Chiefs.  Year in and year out, our team was highly ranked and continually vied for the state championship.  Playing on this team was a sign

JohnMatthews

Productivity: Motivating Employees

By John Matthews, president and founder of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker, but of the manager.” – Peter Drucker. I remember my first managerial job in retail foodservice.  The year was 1987, and I was a manager trainee for Little Caesars Pizza.  I had just

JohnMatthews

LinkedIn – The Power of Networking

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. With the introduction of social media in the last five or so years, networking and expanding your relevancy in your community has never been more productive.  Unlike most advertising and media, social media enables you to create a two-way communication with your network contacts

JohnMatthews

Maximizing A Convention

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc. Whether this is your first industry convention or you are a seasoned pro, I am a firm believer that establishing a well-thought out plan in advance of attending an industry convention is key for maximizing results.  Many conventions can be daunting with thousands of

JohnMatthews

Local Store Marketing for Retailers

By John Matthews, founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises Inc., www.graycatenterprises.com. In today’s tough economy, the fight for share-of-customer by retail stores to effectively capture sales has never been fiercer. Retail stores that sit back and wait for the economy to improve will have a very long road to recovery. Aggressive retailers that go

BIGSANDWICH

Sandwich Sales on a Roll

There’s a reason why American Retail Services (ARS) of Oceanside, Calif.,  chose sandwiches as the centerpiece of the budding foodservice program it’s launching in its 100-store chain. Chicago-based market research firm Mintel International estimated in September 2010 that despite the challenges of the recent economy, sandwich shop sales grew 3.1% in 2010 to $24.3 billion.

Chicken’s Popularity Continues to Grow

Chicken’s economical price and inherent flexibility gives convenience store retailers a myriad of opportunities for growing their foodservice business without sacrificing quality and value. However, deciding whether your stores’ best interests are better served by a branded or proprietary chicken program requires an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks each model offers, said consultant John

Three-Mile Marketing

As John Matthews sees it, a store languishing in mediocrity is a store that has become wallpaper in the halls of retail.   “Generally, when starting a business, it’s easy to get people excited when its new and fresh,” said Matthews, founder of Chicago-based retail marketing firm Gray Cat Enterprises. “After a few years, though,

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