Dipping Into New Profits

In a market plagued by high taxes, declining gross margin profits on cigarettes and the likely possibility of FDA restrictions on tobacco, retailers more than ever need to manage the tobacco category more closely. It’s no secret that the smokeless category has been growing, with big year-on-year gains in new product sales, flavors and line

Prepaid Cards: The Sky’s the Limit

Prepaid cards have been used in the U.S. for about 20 years, and forward-thinking marketers continue finding new ways to use and promote them. This is a boon for convenience retailers, many of whom have been instrumental in growing the category. Prepaid cards were invented in Europe in the mid-70s when Italians found themselves short

Convenience Concerns

I was getting breakfast at my local convenience store recently, an unbranded joint close to my office, when I noticed a new addition to the store. Right by one of the two pay stations was a neatly handwritten sign that read, “No Cell Phones in Line.” I have to admit this message surprised me. The

Is Green in Your Future?

Being green. You can’t go a day without hearing about it. Escalating energy costs and a renewed awareness of the environment have put green initiatives at the top of the agenda for the global convenience industry. Retail industry leaders such as Walmart and Tesco are setting targets to reduce energy use by at least 20%.

Dispensed Beverages: Hot

TOP PERFORMERS S&D Coffee Boyd Coffee Folgers (J.M. Smucker Co.) HONORABLE MENTIONS Sara Lee Foodservice Ronnoco Coffee Co. If you haven’t figured it out by now, most customers aren’t going to be happy with a one-pot coffee program bookended by a cup of sugar and a bowl of curdled creamer.  They could get that at

Fully Prepared Hot & Cold Sandwiches

TOP PERFORMERS Deli Express (E. A. Sween Co.) Landshire Inc. Pierre Foods HONORABLE MENTIONS Jimmy Dean (Sara Lee Foodservice) Lettieri’s (Hot Stuff Foods) Proprietary foodservice programs get a lot of love and admiration for their relentless innovation and ingenuity, and even branded fast-food concepts tend to get their share of attention from convenience operators who

Java Jolts Beverage Sales

According to a recent study from the National Coffee Association, more coffee-drinkers than ever before say their favorite brew improves mental focus and provides health benefits. Not surprisingly, consumption of coffee now surpasses that of soft drinks—and while the gap is still narrow, daily consumption of coffee is pointing directionally higher. Young adults are the

Meeting the Growing Foodservice Demand

This is what happens: Dad breaks to one side of the store to choose a sandwich from the Hot Spot, which he complements with a cup of hot coffee and a bag of chips.   Mom heads for the cappuccino dispenser, then works her way to a fresh salad kept cool in a temperature-controlled center-island

Maximizing Energy Efficiency

Why waste anything—especially energy? Newer technologies and out-of-the-box thinking are helping trim energy costs, while plain old smart management can bring additional savings. “Most of the time, quite frankly, store operators haven’t even done the most basic stuff that could be saving them quite a bit on operating costs,” lamented John Noel, president of Energy

Pumping Up In-Store Sales

A busy salesman on the way to his next appointment pulls into a Spinx convenience store to fill up his tank. It’s almost 1 p.m. and he hasn’t stopped since his day began just before 9 a.m. While pumping fuel, he glances at the color monitor built into the gas pump. He looks closer at

By the Numbers

» 13 Months in prison Ashraf “Mike” Ali, owner of 26 Fast and Easy convenience stores in California’s Bay Area, will serve for an elaborate scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration. » 25 Ranking for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores on Forbes’ 2008 list of the largest private companies in the U.S., a

Ethnic Flair Drives Roller Grill

My, how the roller grill continues to evolve. No longer visited exclusively by customers hungry for a hot dog, roller grills now boast a growing variety of ethnic foods nationwide, featuring everything from Mexican tortas to pork-filled Chinese steamed buns to breadsticks stuffed with jalapeno peppers and cheese. “We brought egg rolls and tornados into

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