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VIEWPOINT By Don Longo, Editorial Director

One List You Can Count On Convenience Store News’ Top 100 reveals a still robust and fragmented c-store industry

I

n most retail trade channels, coming up with a list of the top 50 chains, like our sister media brand Progressive Grocer does in the supermarket industry, wouldn’t be easy due to retail consolidation. In one of my first editorial management jobs, I supervised the collection of data for a list of the Top 100 Discount Store Chains, a list that included such nowdefunct stores as Ames, Bradlees, Caldor, Venture and Zayre. Today, that list would include only Walmart, Target and Sears/Kmart — at least for now, as I don’t see Sears/Kmart surviving much longer. For another trade publication, I compiled a list of the Top 300 Home Center Chains. That once-lengthy list would basically consist of The Home Depot and Lowe’s today. And how easy would it be today to compile a list of the top drugstore chains? Even the For comments, please contact Don Longo, Editorial Director, dollar store business doesn’t go at (201) 855-7606 or much deeper than Dollar General, dlongo@ensembleiq.com. Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. So, we are really lucky in the convenience store industry to be able to put together not just our longrunning Convenience Store News Top 100 (see page 28), but also to provide a new feature this year called “The Next 100,” a CSNews.com ranking of the top

101-200 c-store chains. The large number of operating companies in the convenience store industry is proof of a retail channel that has vitality, energy, robust competition and a high degree of entrepreneurship. This doesn’t mean that consolidation isn’t occurring and that the biggest chains aren’t getting bigger. Gone are The Pantry and Hess stores, and CST Brands’ banners are likely to disappear now that the acquisition by Alimentation Couche-Tard has closed. Consolidation is occurring AND the channel still remains highly fragmented. It remains a great time to be in the c-store business as either a retailer or a supplier. This year, the top 10 chains of the CSNews Top 100 account for about 26 percent of total industry stores, a percentage-point gain from about 25 percent a year ago. The Top 100 chains account for about 41 percent of total industry stores, up just slightly from 39.5 percent last year. However, the top 200 companies represent only about 44 percent of total industry stores. So, make no mistake, consolidation at the top is very real and once you get past the Top 100, the second 100 represents less than 3 percent of all stores. The CSNews Top 100 (and our bonus The Next 100 online) is still the most-respected, accurate, mostreferenced, and longest-running listing of the c-store industry’s largest chains. I hope you enjoy this year’s edition, both in print and online.

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS (2013-2017) 2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Bronze, Best Original Research, June 2015 2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Silver, Best Original Research, June 2015 2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014 2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best Special Supplement, November 2014 Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014 2013 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Bronze, Best Editorial/Commentary, July 2012 2016 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Silver, Front Cover Illustration, June 2015

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

2013 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Best Single Issue, October 2012 2013 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Profile, August 2012

2016 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2015 Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, August 2015 2015 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2014 2014 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2013 Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2013 2013 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2012

4 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Brett Atherton Bolla Management Jon Bratta Core-Mark International Inc. Rick Crawford Green Valley Grocery Edward Davidson ER Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Jim Hachtel Eby-Brown Co. Ray Johnson Speedee Mart

Jack Lewis GPM Midwest

Kirk Leff McLane Co. Inc.

Roy Strasburger Convenience Management Services Inc.

Danielle Mattiussi Maverik Inc. Kyle McKeen Alon Brands Inc. Richard Mione GPM Southeast Jonathan Polonsky Plaid Pantries Inc. Greg Scriver Kwik Trip Inc.


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CONTENTS JULY 2017

VOLUME 53/NUMBER 7

COVER STORY

28

CSNEWS

TOP 100

The View From the Top

Continuing consolidation puts more stores in the hands of the biggest c-store chains.

FEATURES OPERATIONS

42 | Attract, Train & Retain With turnover a continual industry issue, there are tactics c-store retailers can apply to hire and keep top-quality talent.

INDUSTRY ROUNDUP 12 | Lawmakers Vote to Protect Debit Swipe Fee Reform

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

14 | Tesoro Acquires Western Refining, Begins Transformation

FOODSERVICE

14 | Fast Facts

50 | Grabbing Customers Before They’re Gone With most c-store visits lasting just a few minutes, grab-and-go foods can open the wallets of those who don’t want to wait for made-to-order items. FOODSERVICE

54 | Snack Food Is in Demand as Part of Meals The fastest-growing snack item throughout the day is breakfast sandwiches.

16 | Eye on Growth 18 | Seen on Social Media 18 | Retailer Tidbits 18 | Supplier Tidbits 20 | Competitive Watch

GUIDE TO CANDY & SNACKS

58 | Welcome to Modern-Day Snacking Please keep hands and legs inside at all times; it’s going to be a long ride.

58

Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by EnsembleIQ, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield, IL 60015. Copyright © 2017 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: One year, $93; two years, $152. One year, Canada, $110; two years, Canada, $175. One year, foreign, $150. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds. Single copies, $10, except foreign, where postage will be added. Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Convenience Store News, P.O. Box 1842, Lowell, MA 01853.

6 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM


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CONTENTS

570 Lake Cook Road, Ste. 310, Deerfield, IL. 60015 (224) 632-8200 Fax: (224) 632-8266 www.csnews.com Direct Mailing Address for Convenience Store News: 111 Town Square Place, Suite 400, Jersey City, N.J. 07310

BRAND MANAGEMENT Group Brand Director (330) 840-9557

Ron Lowy rlowy@ensembleiq.com

EDITORIAL

24 70 DEPARTMENTS VIEWPOINT

4 | One List You Can Count On Convenience Store News’ Top 100 reveals a still robust and fragmented c-store industry. 10 | CSNews Online 22 | New Products

Editorial Director (201) 855-7606 Editor-in-Chief (201) 855-7608 Senior News Editor (201) 855-7618 Associate Editor (201) 855-7619 Associate Managing Editor (201) 855-7604 Assistant Editor (201) 855-7614 Contributing Editor (303) 741-3377 Contributing Editor (201) 280-2614

Don Longo dlongo@ensembleiq.com Linda Lisanti llisanti@ensembleiq.com Melissa Kress mkress@ensembleiq.com Angela Hanson ahanson@ensembleiq.com Danielle Romano dromano@ensembleiq.com Chelsea Regan cregan@ensembleiq.com Renée M. Covino reneek@aol.com Tammy Mastroberte tmastroberte@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Associate Brand Director & Northeast Sales Manager Rachel McGaffigan (508) 385-2524 rmcgaffigan@ensembleiq.com Associate Publisher & Midwest Sales Manager Kelly Fischer (773) 992-4464 kfischer@ensembleiq.com Southeast Regional Sales Manager Erika Cann (330) 357-9207 ecann@ensembleiq.com Western Regional Sales Manager Dian Melius (949) 387-1451 dmelius@ensembleiq.com Account Executive & Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis (201) 855-7615 tkanganis@ensembleiq.com Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley (856) 809-0050 marybeth@marybethmedley.com

SMALL OPERATOR

CUSTOM MEDIA

24 | Meat Smokin’ & Sap Tappin’ New York State c-store D&D Meats produces more than 100 products in-house.

Vice President/Custom Media Division Pierce Hollingsworth (224) 632-8229 phollingsworth@ensembleiq.com General Manager, Custom Media Kathy Colwell (224) 632-8244 kcolwell@ensembleiq.com

MARKETING

EXPERT’S VIEW

68 | How to Avoid a Mid-Career Slump Strategies for putting your career back on the fast track. STORE SPOTLIGHT

70 | A New Culture of Convenience American Natural offers its customers fuel for their cars and their bodies. OUT & ABOUT

76 | Bringing Foodservice to the Forefront Eby-Expo 2017 featured a dedicated foodservice hall for the first time. OUT & ABOUT

78 | A Time of Change & Frustration Tobacco Merchants Association Conference navigates the new normal. GETTING TO THE CORE

90 | Tech Talk C-store shoppers find checkout-free stores and drones appealing.

Strategic Marketing Director (224) 632-8214

Bruce Hendrickson bhendrickson@ensembleiq.com

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Director of Audience Development Gail Reboletti (224) 632-8214 greboletti@ensembleiq.com Audience Development Manager Shelly Patton (646) 217-1045 spatton@ensembleiq.com List Rental The Information Refinery (800) 529-9020 Brian Clotworthy Subscriber Services/Single-Copy Purchases (978) 671-0449 EnsembleIQ@e-circ.net

ART/PRODUCTION Director of Production (973) 358-4875 Advertising/Production Manager (314) 403-4753 Art Director (224) 632-8245

Kathryn Homenick khomenick@ensembleiq.com Roz Gilman rgilman@ensembleiq.com Michael Escobedo mescobedo@ensembleiq.com

CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass President & CEO Peter Hoyt Chief Operating Officer Rich Rivera Chief Financial Officer Len Farrell Chief Business Development Officer & President, EnsembleIQ Canada Korry Stagnito Chief Customer Officer/President of Enterprise Solutions Ned Bardic Chief Digital Officer Joel Hughes Chief Human Resources Officer Greg Flores Chief Brand Officer Jeff Greisch

CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS AFFILIATIONS 8 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

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CSNEWS.COM ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

TOP 5 Daily News Headlines The most viewed articles online.

1 | Changes Coming to Shell Fuel Rewards Program Shell will give Fuel Rewards members nationwide the power to save more on every fill-up through a new loyalty offering, Instant Gold Status. As of June 5, new and existing Fuel Rewards members automatically received Instant Gold Status, a loyalty tier that allows them to save at least five cents per gallon on every fill-up with any grade of Shell fuel. 2 | Craft Beer Buyers Strongly Influenced by Packaging Two-thirds of American craft beer buyers (66 percent) say that a beer’s package/label is “very” or “extremely” important for getting them to notice it, Nielsen’s Craft Beer Category Design Audit found. Additionally, 60 percent say that the package/label is “very” or “extremely” important in convincing them to give it a try and purchase it. 3 | Grand Opening Held for 7-Eleven’s First Vietnam Store Seven System Viet Nam JSC, a master franchisee of 7-Eleven Inc., cut the ribbon on a store at the Saigon Trade Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — the country’s first 7-Eleven store — on June 15. The 1,800-square-foot convenience store carries roughly 2,000 products that are both typical of 7-Eleven stores and special to the Vietnam market. 4 | New Initiatives Build More Momentum for Phillips 66 “Momentum: Driven By Excellence,” the 2017 Phillips 66 Marketing Conference, was held May 23-26 in Las Vegas and highlighted the next phase of growth for Phillips 66 and its customers. The conference saw close to 1,500 participants. 5 | Cumberland Farms Launches Its Biggest-Ever Coffee Ad Campaign In a multichannel campaign created by ad agency Full Contact, the convenience store chain takes on today’s coffee drinking culture and invites consumers to “Come to Your Coffee Senses.” The campaign’s simple solution is Farmhouse Blend coffee at Cumberland Farms, where coffee is priced at just 99 cents for any size; customers make it themselves, ensuring it is always how they want it; and they don’t have to wait in line for the privilege.

QMart Uses Social Media to Compete Against ‘Goliath’ One of the latest projects from QMart Chief Marketing Officer Meelad Al-Arashi was a Twitter campaign for the chain’s madeto-order foods. Titled “#tacotakedown,” the campaign centered on engaging with what Al-Arashi calls “monster food brands.” The campaign ran April 17 through April 30. The goal of #tacotakedown was to create excitement around the QMart brand and increase loyalty, while conveying to potential “QMarters” — what the brand refers to its loyal customers as — that the retailer is so confident in how delicious its food is that it can take on bigger fast-food and fast-casual brands in a David vs. Goliath scenario. For more exclusive stories, visit the Special Features section of www.csnews.com.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT

The most viewed New Product online.

Butterball No-Antibiotics-Ever Turkey Butterball Foodservice introduces Farm to Family by Butterball, a line of no-antibiotics-ever, all-natural turkey. This turkey is raised on local, family-owned farms and fed an all-vegetarian diet, according to the company. The Farm to Family line includes turkey burgers, ground turkey, turkey breast, and readyto-cook roasts. The breadth of the Farm to Family line enables chefs to explore the culinary versatility of these new offerings, Butterball Foodservice noted. Butterball Foodservice Garner, N.C. (919) 255-7900 butterballfoodservice.com

Navigate the Complexities of C-store Loyalty To maintain the momentum of the last three years, convenience retail operators must continue to innovate around meeting their customers’ needs. Some retailers are deploying effective loyalty programs that attract new customers, retain existing customers, and increase average basket size and spending frequency. These retailers have learned that simply 10 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

having a mobile app isn’t enough to change customer behavior. They recognize the need to deliver personalized experiences and offers at the right time across channels — and to do so requires an investment in technology infrastructure and expertise, according to the expert viewpoint of Jeffrey Hassman, chief marketing officer of Excentus Corp.


INDUSTRYROUNDUP

Lawmakers Vote to Protect Debit Swipe Fee Reform

Lack of repeal support threw the Financial CHOICE Act into jeopardy

T

he House of Representatives approved the Financial CHOICE Act, and to the relief of retailers, the legislation left debit swipe fee reform in place. The Financial CHOICE Act aims to replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. However, lawmakers made the move to strike the repeal of the debit fee cap after confirming that the proposal would put support for the overall legislation in jeopardy. “NACS applauds the fact that clearer heads in Congress have prevailed, and the House has protected debit swipe fee reform. Eliminating this reform would have been an endorsement of duopoly price fixing of swipe fees by the credit card behemoths and would cost consumers and Main Street retailers $8 billion per year,” said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was the driving force behind the Financial CHOICE Act, which has been on the table since last year.

12 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

“Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken,” Hensarling said. “Fortunately, there is a better, smarter way. It’s called the Financial CHOICE Act. It stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none. We will end bank bailouts once and for all. We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy. We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy.” With swipe fee reform protected, retail groups threw their support behind the legislation. The final House vote on the measure came June 8. “In the wake of the financial crisis, it was vital for Congress to act to assure the American people that our financial markets were stable and that a new regulatory apparatus would prevent another systemic problem,” said Austen Jensen, vice president for government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “Preserving swipe fee reform was a big win for retailers and consumers across the country. No retailer — big or small — received a bailout during the Great Recession, and we support provisions of the CHOICE Act that seek to ensure that Americans are never again forced to bail out failing financial institutions,” Jensen added.


INDUSTRYROUNDUP FAST FACTS An estimated 6 million to 7.5 million retail jobs risk being eliminated because of automation in the industry. Retail cashiers are at the highest risk. Source: Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute

The total number of U.S. retail trips is down by more than 1 million since 2012 — 15.8 billion trips in 2016 vs. 17.6 billion in 2012. Source: Nielsen Homescan

Thirty-three percent of millennial households are having difficulty affording needed groceries. Source: IRI Consumer Connect Survey

The number of middle- and high-school students who say they are current tobacco users — defined as having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days — dropped from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016. Source: The 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey

14 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Tesoro Acquires Western Refining, Begins Transformation Combined company will become Andeavor as of Aug.1

W

ith its acquisition of Western Refining Inc. in the books, Tesoro Corp. is looking to the future with an eye toward $350 million-plus in annual synergies. The two companies officially became one on June 1 for a total consideration of roughly $5.8 billion. The strategic combination of the two companies brings together refining, marketing and logistics businesses that form “a powerful, integrated value chain with significant marketing and logistics growth opportunities in key areas in the United States,” according to Tesoro. The company is wasting no time in beginning the integration. Tesoro announced that it will change its name to Andeavor as of Aug. 1. Tesoro Logistics LP will change its name to Andeavor Logistics on the same date. Andeavor will continue to license the Tesoro brand to retail stations that currently utilize it. The company does not plan to make the Andeavor name part of its retail portfolio, which includes

approximately 3,000 locations following the closing of the Western Refining deal. “We are excited about the continued transformation of Tesoro, and our acquisition of Western represents another significant milestone in our journey,” said Greg Goff, Tesoro chairman and CEO. “Acquiring the business at an attractive price relative to its intrinsic value and the delivery of synergies positions us well to create significant shareholder value.” According to Tesoro, it expects to deliver $350 million to $425 million in annual synergies by June 2019, the second year following the closing of the transaction. This includes approximately $120 million to $160 million from value chain optimization, $130 million to $140 million from operational improvements, and $100 million to $125 million from corporate efficiencies. By the end of this year, Tesoro also expects to deliver $475 million to $575 million in annual improvements in operating income.


INDUSTRYROUNDUP

eye on growth n During its recently completed 2017

fiscal year, Casey’s General Stores Inc. opened 24 new store constructions, completed two replacement stores, and acquired eight stores. The retailer currently has five stores under contract for acquisition, as well as 27 new stores and 21 replacement stores under construction. n Wawa Inc.

will welcome customers in Washington, D.C., when its first district store opens in December. Wawa has plans to open five to 10 stores in the market in the next two to three years.

Wawa will open its largest store yet in the nation’s capital. The store at 1111 19 St. will measure 9,200 square feet.

n The Oneida Nation, operator

of the SavOn chain, plans to introduce Maple Leaf Market, its newest convenience store brand, in the fall. Maple Leaf Market will emphasize healthier grab-and-go meal and snack offerings made with fresh ingredients. n GPM Investments LLC has taken

ownership of Broyles Hospitality, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee that operates seven locations in Tennessee and Virginia. This acquisition further develops GPM’s existing portfolio in the Southeast. n Empire Petroleum Partners LLC bought

the consignment and wholesale assets of Superior Transport Inc. (STi Fuels). At closing, STi retailed fuels through 47 consignment accounts and supplied wholesale fuels to 77 customers. n Street Corner signed its first ter-

ritory representative in a move to expand the chain in the San Diego metropolitan area. Vikram Dhillon, the master franchisee for the area, plans to open 12 Street Corner stores and possibly as many as 19 more in San Diego and Imperial counties over the next five years.


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INDUSTRYROUNDUP SEEN on SOCIAL MEDIA

retailer tidbits n Englefield Oil Co. tapped Gilbarco

Veeder-Root’s EMV solutions to standardize its store and forecourt infrastructure. The company will be replacing more than 300 dispensers by the end of 2018. n CEFCO Convenience Stores

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Oklahoma City

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unveiled a new “waterfall” feature at its Canyon Creek Car Wash in Temple, Texas. Other CEFCO’s “waterfall” is upgrades at this car wash include the first of its kind in central Texas. a Wheel Boss, Magnum Wheel, and Rocker Panel Blaster.

n Alon Brands Inc.

will complete the rollout of GreenPrint LLC’s carbon-neutral reduced emissions fuel program “Strive” at its remaining 170 7-Eleven locations. Strive will launch in El Paso and Abilene, Texas, this summer. n Casey’s General Stores

Inc.’s mobile app has been downloaded more than 850,000 times since rolling out in January 2016. The amount of pizza orders completed online has climbed to approximately 14 percent of orders.

supplier tidbits Casey’s General Stores, Ankeny, Iowa

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n Nestlé SA is exploring strategic

options for its U.S. confectionery business, including a possible sale. A strategic review is expected to be completed by the end of the year. n Core-Mark Holding

MAPCO Mart, Nashville, Tenn.

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18 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Co. Inc. is purchasing fellow convenience Third generation familydistribuheld Farner-Bocken tor Carroll, operates in 14 states. Iowa-based Farner-Bocken Co. for $190 million. The acquisition is expected to be accretive within the first year following closing.

n Jack Link’s is

tapping into a new daypart for the brand: breakfast. The company introduced four bacon and sausage breakfast items under the “A.M.” label. n The ICEE Co. and The

Coca-Cola Co. are celebrating five decades of Coca-Cola being a top flavor and their long-term partnership with special point-of-sale displays. ICEE will also debut various new flavors, including Fanta Sour Grape. n Insignia Capital Group acquired

n Molson Coors Brewing Co. and

Heineken have signed an import agreement for Molson Coors to import, market and distribute the Sol beer brand in the United States. The 10-year pact begins this fall.

Tillamook Country Smoker. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tillamook manufactures and distributes meat snack products primarily through convenience and grocery stores.


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INDUSTRYROUNDUP

competitive watch Amazon Makes Whole Foods Push Into Brick-and-Mortar Retail

20 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

A

mazon Inc. is building up its presence in the grocery channel and making another move into brick-and-mortar retail with a deal to acquire Whole Foods Market Inc. for approximately $13.7 billion in an all-cash agreement. “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades — they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.” Whole Foods Market, which operates more than 460 stores in the United States, will continue to operate the stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world, according to a joint release from the companies. John Mackey will remain CEO of Whole Foods Market. The retailer will keep its headquarters in Austin, Texas, though Amazon is based in Seattle. The deal is expected to close during the second half of the year. This combination could have potentially massive reverberations for both food brands and the world of brick-and-mortar retailing, according to branding and retail experts throughout the industry. “For starters, this acquisition promises to shake up pricing, the ecommerce space, the trajectory of retail automation in the United States, and the already considerable competitive pressures faced by existing food retailers,” observed Todd Maute, partner at CBX, a New York-based brand agency and retail environments consultancy. “When it comes to making bold moves aimed at disruption, Amazon never disappoints.”


464


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Surf Swim Chardonnay Cans

Swisher Sweets released limitededition Tropical Ice cigarillos for the summer season. Swisher Sweets Tropical Ice cigarillos feature an icy tropical fusion that blends coconut and pineapple flavors with an icy blast, according to the maker. The cigarillos are available in three pricing options: “2 for 99¢,” “2 for $1.49,” and “Save on 2.” The resealable foil pouches carry the brand’s “Sealed Fresh” guarantee.

Guarachi Wine Partners, owner of the wine brand Surf Swim, introduces Surf Swim Chardonnay Cans. The product, featuring the brand’s chardonnay (13.5 percent ABV) with hints of peach and pineapple, is available in four-packs of slender 8.4-ounce cans. Each four-pack has a suggested retail price of $15.99. Single cans have a suggested retail price of $3.99.

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Planters P3 Protein Plates Planters P3 Protein Plates are part of Kraft Heinz’s expansion of its component protein snacking category. An extension of the original P3 offering, new Planters P3 Protein Plates contain 60 percent more food, according to the company. They are currently available in four varieties: Turkey, Cashews, Cheddar and Cranberries; Chicken, Almonds, Colby Jack and Blueberries; Ham, Cashews, Cheddar and Cranberries; and Turkey, Almonds, Monterey Jack and Blueberries. All P3 Protein Plates are designed to be shelved in the refrigerated section. Each 3.2-ounce plate has a suggested retail price of $2.99. The Kraft Heinz Co. Pittsburgh (412) 456-5700 kraftheinzcompany.com

Pillsbury Minis Chocolate Cake Bites General Mills Convenience adds Pillsbury Minis Chocolate Cake Bites to its packaged bakery line. The bite-size cakes come in resealable, clear clamshell packaging for easy on-the-go consumption. The Chocolate Cake Bites, at 3.2 ounces per package, have a suggested retail price of $2.29. The new offering joins Chocolate Chip Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, Cinnamon Coffee Cakes and Cinnamon Rolls in the Pillsbury Minis line. General Mills Convenience Minneapolis (800) 767-5404 generalmillscf.com

Kettle Collection Spinach Artichoke Dip Tyson Convenience introduces Kettle Collection Spinach Artichoke Dip. Available to retailers in 4-pound pouches, the easy-to-prepare offering can be served as a dip or used as a pizza topping, according to the maker. Kettle Collection Spinach Artichoke Dip is made from real spinach, artichokes and milk. Tyson Convenience Springdale, Ark. (800) 248-9766 tysonconvenience.com

22 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM


P E R F E C T PAIRINGS FOR C-STORE PROFITS

Grab-and-go and foodservice in convenience retail are expected to grow 36% by 2020*. Take advantage by partnering with Coca-Cola preferred brands. Talk to your Coca-Cola representative or visit CokeSolutions.com/retail to learn more.

*Foodservice in convenience retail is expected to grow 36% from 2015-2020. Mintel. Š 2017 The Coca-Cola Company


SMALLOPERATOR

Meat Smokin’ & Sap Tappin’ New York State c-store D&D Meats produces more than 100 products in-house By Chelsea Regan

“T

oday, it froze up,” said Shane Dutil, referring to the sap within the maple trees blanketing the northeastern corner of New York State. “We made some syrup yesterday, though.” Dutil, 39, is the youngest son of Adrien and Sharon Dutil, who opened up their convenience store, D&D Meats, on a two-lane highway that splits through the bucolic hamlet of West Chazy, N.Y., back in 1981. Adrien, a meat cutter by trade, had long harbored a dream of opening up his own business when he bought the property, which was previously home to an establishment called Juberts Store. For the first two years that D&D Meats was in operation, the Dutils toiled together in tandem: while Adrien cut the meat, Sharon worked their meat delivery route. “My first day was my worst day,” said Adrien. “We did $84. And we’ve just kept going up from there.” For the better part of the last decade, Shane Dutil, who grew up in the store with his brother and sister stocking shelves and cutting meats, has helped D&D Meats evolve from a momand-pop shop beloved by locals to the destination store it is today. After experiencing some malaise working in research and development for a pharmaceutical Jeezum Crow Jerky is one of the company, Shane returned to the many products made in-house. family business. Not long after, in 2010, D&D Meats fell victim to a fire and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up, which shut the store down for nine months — the only time the Dutils ever closed the business. At the time of the devastating fire, Shane had

24 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

D&D Meats has been in business since 1981.

already put his research skills to work investigating how to make jerky, buying a five-pound dehydrator, and playing around with recipes that proved popular enough to sell. A year after the fire, Shane, showing an entrepreneurial spirit, made up his mind to do some more research, this time on meat smoking. “I decided I wanted to buy a smokehouse, so I got a smokehouse,” he explained. “And I taught myself. I’m self-taught with all this stuff.” By “all this stuff,” Shane is referring to the Jeezum Crow Jerky line, which has traveled all the way to soldiers in Afghanistan; the smoked meats and cheeses; and the freshly tapped maple syrup-laced Tappin’ & Sappin’ sauces — all of which are sold within the D&D Meats general store. The in-house-made products also appear on the menu at D&D Meats’ foodservice counter. “We do all kinds of cooking and a lot of it’s from scratch. That helps us vs. when you go to those chain stores and it’s like a microwaveable burger. Here, we make our own patties,” said Shane. “You’re getting a good quality sandwich for the same price as you’re paying for one that’s premade, that came out of a plastic wrapper, that has preservatives and stuff in it.”


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SMALLOPERATOR The more than 100 products that the Dutils process in-house — oftentimes for those who bring in their own game — include all varieties of sausage, bacon, ground meat and smoked meat. “You want grass-fed? I’ve got grass-fed. You want nitrate free? I’ve got nitrate free,” said Shane. “If you can’t deal with gluten and have celiac, I have products that fit that. If MSG gives you headaches, I make products with no MSG.” GETTIN’ ON THE MAP

In both Shane and Adrien’s minds, there is no question that the family’s convenience store that opened in the early 80s would be struggling today had it not evolved to become a purveyor of the high-quality, in-housemade products they now offer. “That’s what’s saving us,” Adrien said of the changes, noting that mom-and-pop convenience stores like his are a “dying breed” as chains continue to pop up. “I’ve got Dollar Generals opening up in every direction from me. I can’t sell the milk for what they put it out for. Same thing with the soda. I can’t compete with them. But I can compete with my product.” Shane, further explaining the impact the proprietary Adrien and Sharon Dutil, along products have had on D&D Meats, with their son Shane, keep D&D said: “People knew about the store Meats a family business. back in the day, but when I came back about eight or nine years ago, that’s when it really got put on the map.” Buoyed by the successes of the last few years, including seeing sales doubling and tripling and receiving the Small Business Excellence Award in New York, the Dutils have big plans for D&D Meats’ future. First and foremost is expanding the business’ in-house capabilities, which means a new processing facility, a smokehouse four times the size of the current one, and more meat-cutting tables and band saws. The upgrades will make it easier for the family to expand distribution of Jeezum Crow Jerky and their other products. “With our new building, we’re going USDA and this will allow us to sell to a lot of other stores, not

26 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

D&D Meats is currently a single-store operation.

just restaurants,” said Shane, who has a specific vision for how he’s going to increase distribution. “Instead of using a big distributor, I’m going to use the little guy, because I’m the little guy. So, I got a local guy who has a Little Debbie route. And I’m going to focus on [distributing to] mom-and-pops first.” While Shane is adamant about excluding middlemen in his operation where possible and about “little guys” working together, he also sees the benefit of working with larger corporations, like Kinney Drugs, which has made a deal with him to sell his Tappin’ & Sappin’ products. Even then, though, Shane says, “I naturally want to support the local Kinney stores.” KEEPIN’ IT VINTAGE

As for plans for more D&D Meats stores, Shane said it’s something that’s been discussed. If it were to happen, he imagines that any additional store would function like a satellite, with all of the products still being processed at the home-base location. And anything attached to the D&D Meats brand would have to be “old school.” That’s a non-negotiable. “I’m a vintage person. I like old school. I like to bring back traditions. So, I would do a satellite store and set it up like an old, custom butcher shop,” said Shane. His insistence isn’t just rooted in an affinity for vintage aesthetics. He believes it fosters a unique, homey environment for customers that he’s seen at work at his parents’ D&D Meats store for 35 years, where Adrien says his biggest advantage is knowing all of his customers by name. It’s an atmosphere Shane is keen to hold onto. “You walk in and it feels like you matter,” he said. “And you remember.” CSN


Same C-store Channel. Different C-store Businesses.

DIRECTORY OF CONVENIENCE STORES Chains often take a more global view of things and look for products, services, and resources that impact their total enterprise.

DATABASE OF SINGLE STORE CONVENIENCE OWNERS Single store owners, along with their distribution partners, often don’t have the level of business support that chains bring to their stores. They’re always on the lookout for new products and solutions to compete in an increasingly complex market.

In C-store retailing, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Chains and single-store operators occupy the same channel, but they have very different challenges.

Reach All the Right Retailers in All the Right Ways Visit www.Retailbuyers.net, call 813-713-4301 or contact klopez@ensembleIQ.com for more information or product demonstrations. POWERED BY


CSNEWS

TOP 100

The View From the Top Continuing consolidation puts more stores in the hands of the biggest c-store chains

T

By Melissa Kress he latest numbers put the U.S. convenience channel store count at nearly 155,000. The majority of the stores are owned by single-store operators, but the chain retailers on the 2017 Convenience Store News Top 100 ranking hold a sizable amount as well: 63,368 stores to be exact — a number that has grown incrementally over the past five years. Things get interesting when you fine-tune the microscope and realize that the top 10 chains, led by 7-Eleven Inc., account for a whopping 40,725 of those stores. The top 10, which also includes Alimentation CoucheTard Inc., Shell Oil Co., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Chevron Corp., controls 64.3 percent of the Top 100 store count and 26.3 percent of the total U.S. c-store industry store count. Just five years ago, the top 10 chains accounted for 35,292 stores, equating to 58.9 percent of the Top 100 and 23.7 percent of the industry. These staggering numbers are proof-positive of the

THE TOP 10 CHAINS: Consolidation in Action 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013

TOP 10 TOTAL U.S. STORE COUNT

% OF INDUSTRY

% OF TOP 100

40,725 38,541 42,396 36,827 35,292

26.3% 24.9% 27.7% 24.3% 23.7%

64.3% 63.1% 63.7% 60.7% 58.9%

Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017

28 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

consolidation movement that has gripped the c-store industry in recent years and seen the biggest chains get even bigger. In fact, the top 10 chains account for more of the Top 100 this year than they have in the past five years. But these numbers also raise a question: Is the convenience channel getting too top heavy? Industry merger and acquisition (M&A) experts say no — at least, for now. “The convenience store industry could become more top heavy. But too top heavy now? No, I don’t think so,” said Ken Shriber, managing director of Petroleum Equity Group in New York. The size of the overall convenience channel currently helps balance out the industry. “I think what keeps the top chains honest is that there are about 155,000 convenience stores, so they cannot really control the market,” said John Flippen, managing director of Petroleum Capital & Real Estate LLC. “Where the issue will come is when they start to control the market.” Major oil companies used to control certain sections of the market. Their exit has opened up avenues for growth among all the top chains. “They are basically trying to replace the major oil companies,” Flippen explained. And the consolidation trend is expected to continue. Though, according to Shriber, the acquisition sizes might be smaller going forward. “You generally don’t


Cover Story

“Is there room for other players to come in? One have those 100-, 200-, 500-store chains anymore, with hundred percent,” Shriber said. “We are currently some exceptions,” he explained. “But there are still working on deals with relatively new entrants to the portfolios in the 10- to 50-site range that will still be industry, and in some cases brand-new, who have attractive and will continue to trade.” never owned a chain of retail gas staWhile the larger entities have access tions before.” to more, and cheaper, capital and are 63,368 The convenience channel continues able to purchase assets readily, the The number of U.S. convenience to be an attractive market. Demand door is open for other retailers to stores in operation by the Top in the convenience and gas industry move up the ranks, Flippen observed. 100 chains is stable, with 268 million passen“There are a few chains that can ger vehicles on the road. The c-store break into the Top 100. We work 40,725 industry is also benefiting from the with clients that may only have 20, The number of U.S. convenience slowdown in other retail channels. 25 or 50 stores, but they really want stores in operation by the Top 10 chains “This [convenience and gas] space to grow their businesses and they is an area where I have seen more will be more aggressive in buying 40.9% interest from non-traditional players assets — moving them into the Top The percentage of total U.S. because, from a real estate standpoint, 100,” he said. c-store industry stores controlled you have a lot of companies that have “I also think those that are in the by the Top 100 chains been in the traditional shopping mall Top 100 may not continue to operate and strip center space. Retail playtheir assets forever. There are a lot of 26.3% ers that fill these storefronts continue third generation run-businesses that The percentage of total U.S. to fold or close dozens of locations,” don’t have someone to take over,” c-store industry stores controlled by the Top 10 chains Shriber said, pointing to companies Flippen added. like Sports Authority, Payless Shoes, “You will find other companies Radio Shack and Eastern Outfitters. merging and doing deals, and they will get into the Top 100,” he said, noting not all sales “With no other retailers readily to fill the void, you have real estate companies that are interested in other will go to the larger, quasi-publicly traded entities. retail spaces.” There is room for brand-new players to crack into Consolidation in the industry may be making the c-store industry, too.

WWW.CSNEWS.COM | JULY 2017 | Convenience Store News 29


CSNEWS

TOP 100

Cover Story

c-stores more appealing to consumers as well. “In some ways, they may be positively impacted because they are able to see more of a consistent product offering, more of a consistent image,” Flippen said. “I think one of the reasons why we are seeing more consumers going to convenience stores is because they are not concerned about going to some stores that they may have been a little worried about [in the past].” METHODOLOGY

The Convenience Store News Top 100 is the indus-

TOP 100 2017 2016 Rank Rank

Company, City, State

Annual ACV* ($000)

try’s longest-running accounting of the largest convenience store chains by store count. The annual report is compiled in partnership with TDLinx, a service of Nielsen. TDLinx defines a convenience store as a small-format store of at least 800 square feet; with 500 to 1,500 SKUs; that operates at least 13 hours a day; and carries a limited selection of grocery items, including at least two of the following: toilet paper, soap, disposable diapers, pet food, breakfast cereal, tuna fish, toothpaste, ketchup and canned goods.

Total U.S. CompanyFranchise/Licensee Primary Store Count Operated Stores Stores Store Names

1

1

7-Eleven Inc., Irving, Texas

$27,209,832

8,391

1,604

6,787

7-Eleven, Tedeschi Food Shop, White Hen Pantry

2

2

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec, Canada1

$23,022,584

5,333

4,713

620

Circle K, Dairy Mart, Gas Express, Kangaroo Express, Petro Express, Quick Stop

3

3

Shell Oil/Motiva Enterprises LLC, Houston

$12,221,872

4,670

14

4,656

Shell

4

8

Marathon Petroleum Corp., Findlay, Ohio

$16,940,820

4,363

2,712

1,651

Marathon, Rich Oil, Speedway

5

4

Chevron Corp., San Ramon, Calif.

$24,668,176

3,816

302

3,514

Chevron, Chevron ExtraMile, Texaco

6

5

BP North America, Houston

$13,575,120

3,682

0

3,682

Amoco, ampm, Arco, Arco Thrifty, BP, BP Connect, BP Shop

7

6

Exxon Mobil Corp., Irving, Texas

$8,911,708

3,379

0

3,379

Exxon, Exxon On The Run, Exxon Tiger Mart, Mobil, Mobil Mart, Mobil On The Run

8

7

Sunoco LP, Dallas

$18,012,020

3,007

1,309

1,698

APlus, Aloha Island Mart, Coastal, Menehune Food Mart, Sac-N-Pac, Stripes, Sunoco, Tiger Market

9

12

CST Brands Inc., San Antonio2

$10,040,160

2,115

1,219

896

10

9

Casey’s General Stores Inc., Ankeny, Iowa

$7,467,720

1,969

1,969

0

11

10

CITGO Petroleum Corp., Houston

$3,566,784

1,477

0

1,477

CITGO

12

13

Phillips 66, Houston

$3,301,792

1,194

0

1,194

76, Phillips 66, Conoco

13

21

Cumberland Farms Inc., Westborough, Mass.

$6,201,000

943

566

377

14

17

GPM Investments LLC, Richmond, Va.

$2,317,900

942

941

1

Admiral Petroleum, Apple Market, Breadbox, FasMart, Jiffi Stop, Li’l Cricket, Next Door Store, Roadrunner Market, Scotchman, Shore Stop, Village Pantry, Young’s

15

14

The Kroger Co., Cincinnati

$5,444,660

795

795

0

Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb, Turkey Hill Minit Mart, Loaf ‘N Jug, Quik Stop, Kroger Express

16

16

Wawa Inc., Media, Pa.

$9,141,080

756

756

0

Wawa

17

15

QuikTrip Corp., Tulsa, Okla.

$9,367,800

754

754

0

QuikTrip

18

19

RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., Atlanta

$5,584,280

720

444

276

19

18

Military, Arlington, Va.

$4,138,836

680

680

0

20

20

Pilot Flying J, Knoxville, Tenn.

$2,731,300

660

633

27

21

23

Sheetz Inc., Altoona, Pa.

$6,741,020

550

550

0

22

39

Western Refining Inc., El Paso, Texas

$2,029,820

543

426

117

23

22

Kwik Trip Inc., La Crosse, Wis.

$3,900,520

534

534

0

24

24

Holiday Cos. Inc., Bloomington, Minn.

$3,512,600

524

375

149

25

25

TravelCenters of America LLC, Westlake, Ohio

$4,463,940

485

457

28

26

11

CHS Inc., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

$1,004,380

454

84

370

30 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Corner Store, Flash Foods, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe Casey’s General Store

Cumberland Farms

RaceTrac, RaceWay Coast Guard Mini Mart, Marine Corps Shoppette, NEXCOM Mini Mart, Shoppette, Troop Store Flying J, Mr. Fuel, Pilot Food Mart, Pilot Travel Center Sheetz Giant, Howdy’s Foodmart, Mustang, Sundial Deli Mart, SuperAmerica Kwik Star, Kwik Trip, Kwik Trip Express Holiday Stationstore Minit Mart, Petro Stopping Center, TravelCenters of America Ampride, Cenex, CHS, Zip Trip


CSNEWS

TOP 100 2017 2016 Rank Rank

Company, City, State

Cover Story Annual ACV* ($000)

Total U.S. CompanyFranchise/Licensee Primary Store Count Operated Stores Stores Store Names

27

27

Love’s Country Stores Inc., Oklahoma City

$1,179,100

423

423

0

Love’s Country Store, Love’s Travel Stop

28

26

Kum & Go LLC, West Des Moines, Iowa

$2,221,440

418

418

0

Kum & Go

29

n/a

COPEC Inc., Brentwood, Tenn.

$1,670,500

348

348

0

Delta Express, Discount Food Mart, East Coast, Favorite Market, Mapco Express, Mapco Mart

30

30

Stewart’s Shops Corp., Ballston Spa, N.Y.

$1,557,140

338

338

0

Stewart’s Shop

31

28

Dunne Manning/CrossAmerica LP, Allentown, Pa.

$1,069,328

330

192

138

32

31

Allsup’s Convenience Stores Inc., Clovis, N.M.

$276,848

320

320

0

Allsup’s

33

37

Maverik Inc., Salt Lake City

$589,680

297

297

0

Maverik

34

32t

E-Z Mart Stores Inc., Texarkana, Texas

$789,880

282

282

0

E-Z Mart

35

35

United Refining Co. of Pennsylvania, Warren, Pa.

$1,333,020

279

279

0

Country Fair, Kwik Fill, Kwik Fill & Smokers Outlet, Red Apple

36

36

Tesoro Petroleum Corp., San Antonio

$1,604,200

274

0

274

37

34

Murphy USA Inc., El Dorado, Ark.

38

38

United Pacific, Gardena, Calif.

39

41

40

42

41

Choice, Express Lane, Freedom Valu Center, Hy-Miler, Joe’s Kwik Mart, One Stop, Rocky Top Market, Uni-Mart, Zoomerz

Tesoro, USA Fuel Center, USA Gas, USA Mini Mart, USA Petroleum

$432,120

256

256

0

Murphy Express, Murphy USA

$1,177,540

254

250

4

C Stop, My Goods Market, Rapid, We Got It Food Mart

Jacksons Food Stores Inc., Meridian, Idaho

$294,060

230

230

0

Jacksons Food Store

Fikes Wholesale Inc., Temple, Texas

$244,400

227

227

0

CEFCO Food Store, Food Fast Store

43

Landmark Industries Inc., Houston

$501,540

210

210

0

Timewise Food Store

42

40

Alliance Energy Corp., Waltham, Mass.

$616,200

203

203

0

Alltown, Fast Freddie’s, Mr. Mike’s, Xtra Mart

43

45t

Thorntons Inc., Louisville, Ky.

$686,400

187

187

0

Thorntons

44

47

Meijer Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

$1,612,260

179

179

0

Meijer Gas Station

45

45t

United Dairy Farmers, Cincinnati

$510,380

178

178

0

United Dairy Farmers

46

48

Two Farms Inc., Baltimore

47

49

Giant Eagle Inc., Pittsburgh

48

44

49

$374,920

178

178

0

Royal Farms

$1,571,960

164

164

0

GetGo

Getty Realty Corp., Jericho, N.Y.

$491,400

163

28

135

Getty, Kwik Farms, Lukoil

50

Clark Brands LLC, Naperville, Ill.

$388,960

148

0

148

Clark

50

52

QuickChek Corp., Whitehouse Station, N.J.

$1,040,780

147

147

0

51

53t

Convenient Food Mart Inc., Mentor, Ohio

$260,520

143

66

77

52

51

Sinclair Oil Corp., Salt Lake City

$317,668

142

0

142

Sinclair

53

55

Kwik Stop Inc., Plantation, Fla.

$300,820

139

0

139

Kwik Stop

54

56

Hy-Vee Food Stores Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa

$344,240

139

139

0

55

53

Krauszer’s Food Store, North Brunswick, N.J.

$265,980

134

0

134

56

59

Blarney Castle Oil Co., Bear Lake, Mich.

$602,160

126

126

0

E Z Mart

57

57

Go Mart Inc., Gassaway, W.Va.

$597,220

123

123

0

Go Mart Food Store

58

58

Englefield Oil Co., Heath, Ohio

$494,000

120

120

0

Duchess Shoppe

59

60

Martin & Bayley Inc., Carmi, Ill.

$659,880

116

116

0

Huck’s

60

61

7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City

$232,180

112

112

0

7-Eleven

61

62

Plaid Pantries Inc., Beaverton, Ore.

$226,980

112

112

0

Plaid Pantry

62

64

Terrible Herbst Inc., Las Vegas

$124,280

108

108

0

Terrible Herbst

63

77t

Mirabito Energy Products, Binghamton, N.Y.

$346,320

107

107

0

Convenience Express, Mirabito

64

63

Little General Stores Inc., Beckley, W.Va.

$499,980

106

106

0

Little General

65

98t

Stinker Stations, Boise, Idaho

$308,724

106

106

0

Stinker Store

66

65t

Town Pump Inc., Butte, Mont.

$298,740

98

98

0

Town Pump Food Store

67

67t

Sam’s Food Stores, Rocky Hill, Conn.

$176,540

93

93

0

Chucky’s Food Store, Hess/Aldin Associates, Sam’s Food Store

68

67t

True North Energy, Brecksville, Ohio

$211,640

91

91

0

True North

69

70

Panjwani Energy LLC, Houston

$193,440

90

90

0

Star Stop

70

72t

Tri Star Energy LLC, Nashville

$289,900

90

90

0

Twice Daily

32 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

QuickChek Convenient Food Mart

Hy-Vee Gas Station Krauszer’s Food Store


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CSNEWS

TOP 100 2017 2016 Rank Rank

Company, City, State

Cover Story Annual ACV* ($000)

Total U.S. CompanyFranchise/Licensee Primary Store Count Operated Stores Stores Store Names

71

80t

Express Mart Franchising Corp., Syracuse, N.Y.

$154,700

90

90

0

Express Mart

72

74t

M.M. Fowler Inc., Durham, N.C.

$230,360

87

87

0

Family Fare

73

n/a

Reid Stores Inc., Brockport, N.Y.

$143,520

87

87

0

Crosby’s

74

72t

Victory Marketing LLC, Ridgeland, Miss.

$139,360

87

87

0

Sprint Mart

75

65t

C.A.R. Enterprises Inc., Upland, Calif.

$403,520

86

86

0

2 Go Mart, Rebel Plus

76

74t

Gulshan Enterprises, Sugar Land, Texas

$152,620

85

53

32

Handi Plus, Handi Stop

77

84t

Toot N Totum Food Stores, Amarillo, Texas

$207,220

82

82

0

Toot ‘n Totum

78

77t

The Spinx Co. Inc., Greenville, S.C.

$268,320

81

81

0

Spinx Store

79

84t

Johnson Oil Co., Rock Falls, Ill.

$161,200

80

80

0

Express Lane

80

80t

Buchanan Oil Co., Omaha, Neb.

$344,500

80

80

0

Bucky’s Express

81

76

C.N. Brown Co., South Paris, Maine

$163,540

80

80

0

Big Apple

82

77t

FKG Oil Co., Belleville, Ill.

$320,580

79

79

0

Moto Mart

83

87

Newcomb Oil Co., Bardstown, Ky.

$254,800

78

78

0

Five Star Food Mart

84

80t

Sampson Bladen Oil Co. Inc., Clinton, N.C.

$134,160

78

78

0

Handee Hugo’s

85

88

Jet Pep Inc., Holly Pond, Ala.

$140,140

77

0

77

86

n/a

Croton Holding Co., Pittsburgh

$297,180

76

76

0

Par Mar Food Store

87

84t

MFA Petroleum, Columbia, Mo.

$134,420

76

76

0

Break Time, MFA Oil, Petro Card 24

88

91t

Gate Petroleum Co., Jacksonville, Fla.

$171,080

71

71

0

Gate

89

93t

Southwest Georgia Oil Co., Bainbridge, Ga.

$185,380

71

71

0

Inland Sun Stop, S&S Food Store, Sun Valley Market & Deli

90

96t

Family Express Corp., Valparaiso, Ind.

$154,440

68

68

0

Family Express

91

102 CHR Corp., York, Pa.

$107,120

67

67

0

Rutter’s Farm Store

92

90

Fast Stop, Bloomington, Ill.

$98,540

66

0

66

Fast Stop

93

91t

7-Eleven Hawaii Inc., Honolulu

$86,060

65

65

0

7-Eleven

94

n/a

BW Gas & Convenience LLC, Beverly, Mass.

$179,140

65

65

0

Yesway

95

96t

Flash Market, West Memphis, Ark.

$146,640

64

64

0

Flash Market

96

n/a

Walters Dimmick Petroleum Inc., Marshall, Mich.

$159,640

64

64

0

Johnny’s Markets

97

101 Weigel’s Stores Inc., Powell, Tenn.

$168,740

64

64

0

Weigel’s, Jug O Milk Store

98

98t

Dandy Mini Marts Inc., Athens, Pa.

$139,360

64

64

0

Dandy Mini Mart

99

93t

Certified Oil Co., Columbus, Ohio

$39,572

63

63

0

Certified

100t 103t BFS Foods Inc., Morgantown, W.Va.

$173,940

62

62

0

BFS Foods

100t 106 Southeast Petro Distributors Inc., Cocoa, Fla.

$157,560

62

48

14

Jet Pep

Sunshine Express, Sunshine Food Mart

Source: Nielsen TDLinx, April 2017 *All Commodity Volume (ACV) is provided by Nielsen TDLinx. ACV is an annualized range of the estimated retail sales volume of all items sold in a store that pass through the retailer’s cash registers. Lottery sales are not included; gas sales are included where applicable. The Nielsen TDLinx ACV is an estimate — a directional measure to be used as an indicator of company size. 1 Only 2

Alimentation Couche-Tard’s U.S. stores are included in this ranking. Only CST Brands’ U.S. stores are included in this ranking.

ON THE CUSP (Nos. 101-110) 2017 2016 Rank Rank

101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110t 110t

80 98 105 110t 108t 89 n/a 93t 108t n/a 107

Company, City, State

Sunmart Inc., Spring, Texas MNS Ltd., Honolulu The Wills Group, La Plata, Md. Byrne Dairy Inc., Lafayette, N.Y. Hollingsworth Oil Co., Goodlettsville, Tenn. Farm Stores Grocery Inc., Miami, Fla. Clarks Pump N Shop Inc., Ashland, Ky. Enmark Stations Inc., Savannah, Ga. BellStores Inc., Massillon, Ohio OnCue Marketing LLC, Stillwater, Okla. Pester Marketing Co., Denver

Source: Nielsen TDLinx, April 2017

34 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Annual ACV* ($000)

$163,540 $61,620 $183,820 $122,980 $105,820 $106,600 $164,060 $338,520 $128,440 $27,352 $237,380

Total U.S. CompanyFranchise/Licensee Primary Store Count Operated Stores Stores Store Names

61 61 61 61 59 59 59 59 56 56 56

35 59 61 61 59 29 59 59 56 56 56

26 2 0 0 0 30 0 0 0 0 0

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CSNEWS

TOP 100

Cover Story

Mid-Sized Momentum

Stinker Stations’ latest acquisition earns it the title of this year’s Biggest Mover

T

he big deals grab the big headlines, but there is more to the merger and acquisition activity in the convenience channel. With smaller deals, little by little, some convenience store chains find themselves moving up the Top 100 ladder. Notching the largest move in this year’s ranking is Stinker Stations Inc. In 2016, the Boise, Idaho-based retailer squeaked onto the Top 100 list, tying for the No. 98 spot. Fast forward to 2017 and Stinker Stations flew up 33 spots to take the No. 65 position with a total 106 stores in its 100-percent companyoperated portfolio. Stinker Stations grew by purchasing 41 c-stores from Bradley Petroleum Inc. and Sav-O-Mat Inc. All of the stores are in Colorado, except for one in Wyoming. Like Stinker Stations, Mirabito Holdings Inc. is another example of mid-sized momentum on this year’s Top 100 list. In 2016, Binghamton, N.Y.-based Mirabito was tied for the No. 77 spot. Then, last summer, Mirabito acquired 30 gas stations and convenience stores in New York and Pennsylvania from Global Partners LP. As a result of the $40-million transaction, Mirabito boosted its total store count — all companyoperated — to 107 locations and jumped 14 spots on this year’s ranking to stand in the No. 63 spot. Western Refining Inc. also made a notable climb, moving up 17 spots year over year from No. 39 to No. 22 this year. The El Paso, Texas-based company grew in store count mainly from its June 2016 acquisition of Northern Tier Energy LP that included 170 convenience stores operated by Northern Tier in the

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

Stinker Stations grew by purchasing 41 stores.

K

Midwest primarily under the SuperAmerica banner. Western Refining won’t be holding onto its spot for long, however. It will disappear from the Top 100 in 2018 once the company’s acquisition by Tesoro Corp. is completed.

BIGGEST MOVERS 2017 2016 RANK RANK

65 22 26 63 91 75 71 13 77

98t 39 11 77t 102 65t 80t 21 84t

COMPANY

Stinker Stations, Boise, Idaho Western Refining Inc., El Paso, Texas CHS Inc., Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Mirabito Energy Products, Binghamton, N.Y. CHR Corp., York, Pa. C.A.R. Enterprises Inc., Upland, Calif. Express Mart Franchising Corp., Syracuse, N.Y. Cumberland Farms Inc., Westborough, Mass. Toot ‘n Totum Food Stores, Amarillo, Texas

Source: Nielsen TDLinx, April 2017

36 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

SPOTS MOVED

+33 +17 -15 +14 +11 -10 +9 +8 +7

CMY

Mirabito acquired 30 gas stations and convenience stores.


CSNEWS

TOP 100

Cover Story

Joining the Ranks

New players make headlines in the convenience channel

T

he majority of the names on the 2017 Convenience Store News Top 100 ranking are familiar to industry insiders, and even to anyone who has ever visited a convenience store. But this year’s edition did see some notable new companies make their way onto the list. Compañía de Petróleos de Chile COPEC S.A. (COPEC) entered the U.S. market when its subsidiary acquired MAPCO Express Inc. and certain related affiliated companies from Brentwood, Tenn.-based Delek US Holdings Inc. in November. With the $535-million deal, COPEC earned a ticket straight to the No. 29 spot on the Top 100 with a company-operated footprint of 348 stores primarily in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, with an additional presence in Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Store banners include MAPCO Express, MAPCO Mart, East Coast, Fast Food and Fuel, Favorite Markets, Delta Express and Discount Food Mart. Yesway’s planned expansion includes stores in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.

38 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

NEW ADDITIONS TO THE LIST • BFS Foods Inc., Morgantown, W.Va. • BW Gas & Convenience LLC, Beverly, Mass. • CHR Corp., York, Pa. • COPEC Inc., Brentwood, Tenn. • Croton Holding Co., Pittsburgh • Reid Stores Inc., Brockport, N.Y. • Southeast Petro Distributors Inc., Cocoa, Fla. • Walters Dimmick Petroleum Inc., Marshall, Mich. • Weigel’s Stores Inc., Powell, Tenn.

COPEC has an existing convenience store industry presence with the largest c-store network in Chile — 626 company- and dealer-operated service stations, 82 Pronto-branded stores, and 220 Punto-branded stores — and approximately 53 percent of Chile’s gasoline market. In addition, COPEC has a majority ownership stake in Organizacion Terpel S.A., which is based in Bogota, Colombia, and accounts for approximately 45 percent of Colombia’s fuel market share. Terpel has 1,949 Terpel-branded gas stations in Colombia and 233 c-stores in Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico under store brands Altoque and Deuna selling Terpel-branded fuel. Another new addition to this year’s Top 100 is Croton Holding Co. Inc., which has been slowly building its profile in the convenience channel over the past four years. Croton’s 2016 acquisition of Par Mar Oil Co. propelled the Pittsburgh-based retailer onto the


CSNEWS

TOP 100

Top 100 list — specifically, into the No. 86 spot with a total of 76 stores. The Par Mar deal consisted of 52 stores and several car washes in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, along with 16 quick-service restaurants. The new player making the most noise in the market during the past 12 months, however, has been BW Gas & Convenience Holdings LLC, based in Des Moines. The affiliate of Brookwood Financial Partners LLC appeared on the convenience store scene in late 2015 when it bought a 10-store portfolio in western Iowa. In the roughly 18 months since, BW Gas & Convenience introduced its Yesway store banner and stepped outside of its home state to welcome customers in Kansas and Texas. Nearterm plans also call for the Yesway banner to wave in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. CSN

BONUS CONTENT Is the Top 100 just not enough for you? Want to know the Top 200 convenience store chains? Go to the Special Features section of CSNews.com for our countdown of “The Next 100.”

40 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Cover Story

Drop-Offs From Last Year Admiral Petroleum Co. Acquired by GPM Investments LLC

MNS Ltd. Dropped in rank this year to No. 102

Delek US Holdings Inc. Sold MAPCO assets to U.S. subsidiary of Compañía de Petróleos de Chile (COPEC)

Mountain Empire Oil Co. Acquired by GPM Investments LLC

Enmark Stations Inc. Dropped in rank this year to No. 108 Farm Stores Grocery Inc. Dropped in rank this year to No. 106

Northern Tier Energy LP Acquired by Western Refining Inc. Sunmart Inc. Dropped in rank this year to No. 101


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Grace Killelea Career guru and executive coach

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Mita Mallick Director, D&I Unilever

Avis Jones-DeWeever Terrence Gargiulo Career strategist and Chief Storyteller diversity consultant Accenture

Tracey Wood Vice President Mars Chocolate NA

Natalie Nixon Design thinking expert and author

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OPERATIONS

Store Ops + Labor + HR + Real Estate + Financial + Field Ops

Attract, Train & Retain

With turnover a continual industry issue, there are tactics c-store retailers can apply to hire and keep top-quality talent By Tammy Mastroberte

A

ttracting top-quality employees who are looking to stay with a company for the long haul is the ultimate goal for any retailer, but many continue to struggle with turnover — especially when it comes to entry-level positions. According to the Convenience Store News 2016 HR & Labor Study, the turnover rate for store associates in the convenience store industry stands around 54 percent, with many reporting this number increased over the previous year. Also, in the past year, a number of c-store chains have announced hiring sprees, including some of the biggest and best-known names in the industry: Speedway LLC, Wawa Inc., Sheetz Inc., Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc., and more. Sheetz also invested $15 million to increase employee wages in an effort to remain competitive and attract top talent. “The investment was to raise wages for our hourly staff — our front-line workers — who helps us execute our customer service every day,” Stephanie Doliveira, vice president of human resources at Sheetz, told Convenience Store News. “We are a couple of dollars above minimum wage, and we did it to remain competitive in attracting the best people, but it ended up helping us retain as well.” It is the store-level employees who engage with cus-

42 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

tomers and create the sales experience. C-store chains want their front-line employees to provide excellent customer service, from knowing someone’s name to remembering their habits, desires and purchase behavior. They need to pay a premium to attract this type of talent, said Trudy Bourgeois, founder of The Center for Workforce Excellence. “You are not going to get that from someone who you pay $7 an hour,” she explained. “You have to take care of your internal customer, which is your employee, if you want the external customer to have a great shopping experience.” HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

The first step in employee retention is hiring the right people for your organization, and this starts with attracting top-quality talent. Benefits, wages, schedule flexibility and growth are some of the things employees are looking for from a company today. It’s also important to diversify where a company looks to recruit talent. “If I was a CEO of a chain, I would start partnering with universities and change my recruitment strategy completely,” Bourgeois said. “I would start positioning myself as a developmental opportunity, and be out there with a campaign saying, ‘We will afford you these opportunities.’”


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OPERATIONS

Store Ops + Labor + HR + Real Estate + Financial + Field Ops

Sheetz announced plans last year to hire 8,000 new people for its growing company, which opens approximately 30 new stores each year. This hiring push was not only to address company growth, but also to fill turnover, Doliveira explained. The chain’s investment in wages has helped them attract a “great applicant flow,” and the chain is now hiring for summer business, which always sees an increase in traffic. “We know the most successful candidates have been customers. They love Sheetz and coming into our stores, and so they consider employment,” she said. “We do a lot of recruitment through our current customer base, and are also using more social media channels to get the word out and find great people.” Most organizations start recruitment efforts where they have been successful in the past, yet this should only be step one in a strategic hiring plan, according to Bruce Tulgan, founder of RainmakerThinking Inc., a management research, training and consulting firm. Employers also need to look at places that seem likely to produce good sources, but where they have not tried before so they can ignite a flow of new talent. “If you’ve sought new employees only from top schools in the past, but these sources are not yielding enough applicants now, perhaps it’s time to consider looking at top students from second-tier schools,” he suggested. “If you’ve poached talent only from K-Mart in the past, maybe you should consider poaching talent from supermarkets and restaurants.” Some key considerations in order to attract the right people to the company start with an investment in wages and hours, but also includes offering a total package. This means benefits, a good work environment, and training and development.

44 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

“C-stores need to be intentional about building a path, and a talent management approach is needed,” Bourgeois said. Sheetz invested heavily in increasing its wages for hourly employees, but also took into consideration the number of hours given to employees, which is just as important, according to Doliveira. “You could pay $20 an hour, but if you only give someone five hours a week, they can’t make ends meet,” she explained. “It’s about paying a better wage and giving enough hours to attract and ultimately retain.” The total employment package needs to appeal to candidates, and top talent is looking for opportunities to learn and advance on a career path, as well as training and experience, said Bourgeois. “People like to change jobs every couple of years because they want to be challenged and want to learn something new, but you can have them change jobs within your organization,” she noted. An overall strategy to aim for is to attract people into the lower-level talent pool and then have a talent management process that moves people into an intermediate range, Tulgan pointed out. The goal is to build a sufficiently large applicant pool so that a company can be selective, he said. INVEST IN TRAINING

Training is another key component in retaining employees, according to the 2016 Best Workplaces in Retail report released by research and consulting firm Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine. The study showed part-time retail employees who receive ongoing professional development are twice as likely to look forward to coming to work each day, and are twice as likely to describe their company as a great place to work. This past year, the National Retail Federation (NRF), along with a number of retailers — including c-store industry players Pilot Flying J and The Kroger Co. — launched a new program called RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills & Education), aimed at assisting people in securing jobs in retail and getting the training needed to advance in their careers. The RISE Up program includes a 15-module formal training program for entry-level retail associates, designed to provide a wide range of skills and training. “RISE Up helps the people who need it the most, and helps retailers address recurring talent challenges — including reducing the time needed to hire and train new associates and decreasing turnover,”


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OPERATIONS

Store Ops + Labor + HR + Real Estate + Financial + Field Ops

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay stated in a press release. Training employees not just in the current job they apply for, but in other facets of the business — including training to promote their growth within the organization — leads to happier employees and better retention, according to the Great Place to Work study on the best places to work in the retail industry. “People at all levels want to feel they have something valuable to offer the team, and training helps to provide that,” Great Place to Work Executive Vice President Tony Bond said in Fortune’s report. “The Best Workplaces offer clear management tracks, as well as routine ways for front-line employees to improve their skills. These can be as simple as one-on-one check-ins with supervisors or bite-sized training opportunities in the form of apps and web videos that fit within retail coworkers’ sporadic downtime.” At Sheetz, every employee is provided training, and the company believes in investing in training and development to help workers advance further. At the entry level, employees receive 40 hours of training, both online and hands-on, and are provided with a mentor. Management staff gets an additional 24-plus weeks of training and development, while a store manager is trained for six months. “We invest heavily in training components,” Doliveira said.

“We talk a lot about engagement here and have a strategic focus on it because happy employees stay, deliver better customer service, and produce and perform better.” — Stephanie Doliveira, Sheetz Inc.

“Both wages and training and development is an investment in people, and they are smart investments in my opinion.” Sheetz also believes in promoting from within and is always looking to identify internal candidates who have the potential to grow into management roles. More than 95 percent of Sheetz’s store managers are promoted from within.

46 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Engaging employees with training that’s broken down into smaller, more digestible parts or even gamified is another tactic, especially useful with the younger generation, according to Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam, which offers an employee engagement mobile app for hourly workforces that includes communication and training components. The WorkJam solution is used by Shell. “A lot of training is very heavy — big binders and 15-minute tests and assessments — and for an hourly worker, particularly the younger generation, it’s not taken as seriously as it should be,” Kramer said. “Safety training, for example, can be mundane and boring, so why not break it up and gamify it to allow employees to earn digital badges and points around it.” Onboarding and up-to-speed training is the No. 1 thing that impacts six- to 12-month retention, RainmakerThinking’s Tulgan said. This includes a manager who offers “coaching style” training, helping employees navigate their ability to get the things they want, such as more control over their schedule, and preventing cliques from forming. “Developing the manager and the management team of the store is important because often people will leave because of their manager,” Doliveira agreed. “You combat that by investing in the development of leadership.” TACKLING TURNOVER

The majority of convenience store industry turnover comes from entry-level store associates. Length of employment increases as people move up the ladder. Store associates stay for an average of 2.2 years, assistant managers for 3.2 years, and store managers for 6.4 years, according to the CSNews 2016 HR & Labor Study,


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OPERATIONS

Store Ops + Labor + HR + Real Estate + Financial + Field Ops

which also found turnover was attributed to competing businesses, wages, benefits, and dismissal for cause. Turnover costs companies time and money. Retailers incur the additional cost of recruiting and replacing that employee, and they lose the training dollars they invested in that person, Tulgan pointed out. Still, he acknowledged, not all turnover is bad. “Your goal should not be to eliminate turnover among potential employees. That’s never going to happen. Your goal should be to take control of the turnover among potential employees. You want the high performers to stay and the low performers to go,” he said.

At Sheetz, the retailer’s data showed the chain was losing people because employees couldn’t make a living on part-time hours. The thinking was that if they could get more people working full-time hours, they could hopefully retain them, Doliveira shared. “We also invest a lot in culture and engagement to ensure we have a great work environment for our employees, and we recognize them for tenure in several different ways,” she said. For example, Sheetz offers an employee stock ownership program for those who have been with the company for one year. When they meet certain requirements, employees have the opportunity to gain ownership. And every team member is eligible for a bonus, which is aimed at retention. “The bonus is related to company profitability and key operational metrics, such as food safety and customer service,” said Doliveira. One of the best ways to learn what employees want and what needs to be changed in order to increase job satisfaction is to listen to current and former employees, she advised. This is done at Sheetz through engagement surveys, asking how everything is going so

48 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

far, what they like, and if they intend to stay. For those who leave the company, it’s also important to find out why — wages, training, their boss, etc. “You also need to act on what your employees tell you,” she noted. “Diagnosing the causes is critical, and then making the improvements.” Employees should be asked what is needed from the organization on the first day of employment and then throughout their employment, Tulgan said. They need to know there is someone who knows what they want and need, and that someone cares. “Start talking with potential employees about retention on day one, and keep talking about it. If you are talking with them about how to meet their needs and wants on an ongoing basis, they are much more likely to talk with you at those key points when they are trying to decide whether to leave or stay,” he said. “If you are willing to work with them, you can be flexible and generous. That’s how you make them want to stay and work harder, at least for a little while longer,” Tulgan continued. “Years from now, the potential employees who turn out to be long-term employees will be the ones who decided over and over again that they wanted to stay a little while longer.” The WorkJam app, used by Shell and other retail companies, is focused on engagement and empowering the employee. It includes tools to communicate between headquarters and store associates, digital badges for recognition, leaderboards for friendly competition, and self-service tools for employees to check schedules, pick up open shifts, and more. Employee engagement can have a significant impact on retention, and can create brand advocates who will recruit for the company, according to Kramer. “A more engaged employee will service customers better,” he explained. “Gartner came out with a report on the main contributors to employee happiness and engagement, and it was when the employee understood what was expected of them, had tools to do their best every day, and felt as though they had a voice in providing feedback to the organization.” Sheetz, too, is well aware of the importance of employee engagement. “We talk a lot about engagement here and have a strategic focus on it because happy employees stay, deliver better customer service, and produce and perform better,” Doliveira said. “Also, keeping a great culture and a fun work environment [is crucial]. People tend to stay in a job that is fun and rewarding.” CSN


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FOODSERVICE

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Grabbing Customers Before They’re Gone

With most c-store visits lasting just a few minutes, grab-and-go foods can open the wallets of those who don’t want to wait for made-to-order items By Angela Hanson

W

ith the average convenience store customer shopping for just three to four minutes, c-stores need to offer them fast food — in the literal sense. To get their business and keep them coming back, a solid strategy is to offer an appealing mix of grab-andgo foods. In convenience foodservice, made-to-order programs have become more commonplace in recent years as retailers work to ensure customer satisfaction by giving them exactly what they want. But what many busy consumers want is something more than a product; they want to save time. Loop Neighborhood Convenience Stores aim to provide customers, particularly millennials, with “The hot hold customer is a different customer from the made-to- healthy and fresh snack options. order customer,” according to Ryan Krebs, director of foodservice for York, Pa.-based Varish Goyal said his chain of stores was “absolutely Rutter’s Farm Stores. While the two may be interested created with millennials in mind as one of our target in similar products, such as hamburgers or toasted profiles.” Owned by AU Energy of Fremont, Calif., subs, “the made-to-order customer has trained themLoop currently has 23 stores in Northern California’s selves to pad in that extra 5-10 minutes.” Bay Area where customers can find smoothies, organic In contrast, those who stop by the hot hold area fruits and veggies, sushi, a soup bar, and a frozen still want quality, but they want it immediately. Cold yogurt stand. items, too, are expected to be tasty and fresh, not lan“We know millennials like to snack so much [that] guishing in a cold case for days. they may have six meals a day, so we want to make The “snackification” of younger consumers’ eating sure they have different healthy options and fresh habits is playing a role in the grab-and-go foodservice products to snack on when they shop our stores,” world. More c-store operators are taking pains to Goyal told Convenience Store News. appeal to these consumers by making their grab-andOther c-store operators are teaming up with thirdgo offering more than an afterthought. party partners to develop their grab-and-go offering, Loop Neighborhood Convenience Stores President such as Brentwood, Tenn.-based MAPCO. The chain

50 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM


forged a partnership with FreshOne LLC, which provides prepackaged, custom-designed, fresh food programs nationwide to convenience stores, grocery stores, and college campuses. HEATING UP THE SEGMENT

Grab-and-go has the advantage of requiring less employee labor than made-to-order programs, which call for experience and training. Still, grab-and-go isn’t as simple as set-it-and-forget-it. While these items may not be customizable, they still need to be what customers desire. “By offering a wide variety of convenient snack and beverage choices made with unique and high-quality ingredients that consumers are drawn to and desire, retailers will be well-positioned to drive repeat visits and repeat sales,” a spokesman for PepsiCo Inc. noted. The first step, according to Krebs of Rutter’s, is reexamining how and when certain grab-and-go products are available to customers. Hot grab-andgo, in particular, can be a point of differentiation for retailers, as these items have a temperature that conveys freshness. Traditionally, hot grab-and-go items see the best sales in the morning, when retailers can capitalize on heavy morning foot traffic and the popularity of items like breakfast sandwiches. But morning isn’t the only time of opportunity. Many retailers offer fewer hot hold items as the day goes on — with some even putting the unit away — but this is a potentially costly mistake, as lunch and dinnertime still offer worthwhile opportunities for sales. “I’m convinced the category is growing in other dayparts,” Krebs said. However, he cautions that if

Quality, variety and packaging are the three key aspects of any successful grab-and-go program.

hot items haven’t been readily available at lunch and dinnertime in the past, beginning to stock them won’t make a sudden difference. “You’ve already trained that person that hot hold doesn’t exist after breakfast.” The second step is to have patience. This is easier said than done in the margin-driven convenience retail business, but retailers must be aware that customers are unlikely to shift their regular purchase habits just because a new choice is presented. Marketing and promotions can help this along, but as a group, customers are not going to make a quick change; it’s a longerterm initiative. Patience and timing also come into play when introducing new flavor profiles, especially for small operators and regional chains. Product innovation is a good thing, but certain markets may be less likely to embrace new things without a larger interest. Krebs recounted an occasion when Rutter’s launched an upscale fish product, mahi-mahi bites, with great optimism. It underperformed due to what the company saw as the Pennsylvania market’s hesitation to embrace the unfamiliar fish. Similarly, overly spicy items used to be a hard sell, but recently, as the use of sriracha grew trendier and customers became more accustomed to products like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Rutter’s saw more success in that area. “Our customer base became more open and willing to participate in a spicier profile,” Krebs explained.

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FOODSERVICE

Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages

WHAT TO OFFER

Each c-store’s specific mix of grab-and-go products should depend on the market and what resources are available. In general, though, quality, variety and packaging are the three key aspects of any successful graband-go program. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean premium ingredients with a price to match. It means items should be available in an optimum state; not pushed into an extended shelf life. Some products are technically good for four hours in the hot hold, but see a sharp decline in quality after two hours. “How many times have you gotten something out of a hot hold and the bread had turned crispy, or the wings are wet and soggy?” Krebs posed. A hungry cus-

Once quality items are available, packaging can be used to prove it to customers. “It really does make a difference what you wrap that item in,” Krebs said. “The customer is looking for a visual experience.” Foil and paper might be cheap and easy to use, but neither one tells consumers anything about the product, or whether it’s fairly fresh or has sat there for hours. This January, Rutter’s launched a breathable, microwavable and resealable hot hold bag that shows off its contents through a clear window, hopefully attracting customers who happen to see it and hadn’t even been intending to make a grab-and-go purchase. Packaging can also help sell a product if it’s functional in a way that makes it easier for customers to

Earlier this year, Rutter’s introduced a breathable, microwaveable and resealable hot hold bag.

tomer will likely accept the low quality and move on, but a single sale is not enough. “You might get that customer in the first time, but they won’t be a repeat,” he said. It’s important to plan grab-and-go stock to minimize spoilage, while keeping in mind the existence of it is “the cost of doing business.” Retailers must be careful not to let quality standards slip just because items aren’t made to order. When it comes to grab-and-go product selection, consumers are most interested in “unique and high-quality ingredients,” according to PepsiCo. While it might seem like increasing the variety available in grab-and-go would make it harder to maintain quality standards, small differences can have a big effect, according to experts. Using different kinds of bread, such as biscuits and croissants, or different types of wraps can result in different kinds of meal experiences for consumers, despite being paired with the same type of meat or egg to make a sandwich. This also gives consumers the feeling of choice, even though the choice is limited to what is available in the grab-and-go cases.

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take with him or her and eat while on the move. For instance, PepsiCo points to its Top N’ Go line that turns bags of Doritos, Fritos and other chips sideways so that cheese and other toppings can be placed on top and held by the buyer as a walking taco. The snack was first offered at a mobile truck and has expanded to c-stores and other retailers. Once a c-store takes steps to improve its grab-andgo program, marketing the changes can be as simple as directing customers into those parts of the store. Pumptoppers at fueling stations or advertisements on the glass at the front of a store can alert customers to the existence of whatever new product is currently being promoted and compel them there. Inside, signage placed on cold vault doors, at the coffee station or at a grab-and-go case can advertise combo deals, such as a discount on a breakfast sandwich and coffee. Not only is this an upsell, but “it leads them along the way right at the point of decision,” Krebs said. “It will direct them to where you have these things.” CSN


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FOODSERVICE

Category Trends + Insights from

TRENDSIGHTS

Snack Food Is in Demand as Part of Meals The fastest-growing snack item throughout the day is breakfast sandwiches

H

ealth consciousness, more solo households and convenience are among the reasons more U.S. consumers, particularly young adults, are eating snack foods as part of their main meals. Although most snack foods are eaten between meals, snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eatings, which is up from 21 percent By Bonnie Riggs Restaurant Industry Analyst, five years ago, according to NPD’s The NPD Group continual tracking of U.S. consumer www.npd.com snacking attitudes and behaviors. The trend toward eating snack foods at main meals is being driven by Gen Zs and millennials. Older Gen Zs and millennials are more comfortable eating alone than are previous generations, and snack foods offer a lowcost, smaller-portioned alternative that fits that lifestyle. They are also shifting toward fresh foods and foods with a healthy halo, which is why fresh fruit and refrigerated yogurt are among the top snack foods included in main meals. As Gen Zs and millennials age and move through life stages, their interest in consuming snack food at main meals is expected to continue. Annual eatings per capita of snack food at main meals is fore-

casted to grow by 12 percent by 2024, according to NPD’s Generation Study: The Evolution of Eating. SNACK FOODSERVICE VISITS ARE 12 BILLION STRONG

There are 12 billion snack visits made to foodservice outlets, including convenience stores. When snacking replaces an away-from-home meal, the meal is most often lunch. Forty-eight percent of foodservice snack visits occur during the lunch timeframe. Morning snacks represent 23 percent of foodservice snack visits, and evening snacks 30 percent. Consumers’ snack choices are mixed between main meal and traditional snack items. The fastest-growing snack item throughout the day is breakfast sandwiches. With the introduction of McDonald’s all-day breakfast, the popularity of breakfast sandwiches has increased by double-digit rates across all meal occasions. THERE ARE MANY REASONS TO MARKET SNACKS

Changing lifestyles and time pressures are often cited as the catalyst for this shift in consumer behavior. However, consumers snack for many different reasons: lack of time or money, hunger, diet, boredom, stress and energy, to name a few. The bottom line is that consumers today expect snacks to work for them; the snack is no longer just a reward. When choosing to focus on offering your customers more More Snack Food Eaten Between Meals, but Main snack-related items, keep in mind Meal Occasions Growing Share that while there are currently many With Meals Between Meals Snack Food Eatings Share snack items for purchase, consum100% ers are always looking for new 90% 21 22 23 24 24 21 22 80% alternatives. For foods, they want 70% more variety, something different in 60% 50% terms of taste, and snacks that can 40% satisfy a craving. For beverages, 79 79 78 77 76 76 78 30% they want them to be tasty, refresh20% 10% ing and thirst-quenching. 0% Snack foods also need to offer 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 your customers flexibility on price, Source: The NPD Group/SnackTrack, year ending March 2016

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FOODSERVICE

Category Trends + Insights from portion size and portability; and allow them to compose an eating occasion that fits their specific needs

at the time — whether they look at it as a snack, meal replacement or part of a main meal occasion. CSN

Importance of Snack Foods & Beverages to Millennials (in rank order)

MORNING SNACK

AFTERNOON SNACK

EVENING SNACK

Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Breakfast Sandwiches Granola/Cereal/Energy Bars Chips, Pretzels, Crackers Bagels Burgers Fruit Muffins

Chips, Pretzels, Crackers Burgers French Fries Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Cookies Granola/Cereal/Energy Bars Ice Cream Pizza

Ice Cream Burgers Chips, Pretzels, Crackers French Fries Chicken Sandwiches Pizza Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Cookies

Cappuccino/Espresso/ Latte – Hot Traditional Coffee Iced/Frozen/Slushy Coffee Carbonated Soft Drinks Bottled Water Juice Iced Tea Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks

Carbonated Soft Drinks Bottled Water Iced Tea Cappuccino/Espresso/ Latte – Hot Juice Traditional Coffee Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks

Carbonated Soft Drinks Bottled Water Iced Tea Cappuccino/Espresso/ Latte – Hot Iced/Frozen/Slushy Coffee Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks Juice Shakes/Floats/Malts

Source: The NPD Group/CREST, year ending September 2016

Importance of Snack Foods & Beverages to All Consumers (in rank order)

MORNING SNACK

AFTERNOON SNACK

EVENING SNACK

Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Breakfast Sandwiches Bagels Granola/Cereal/Energy Bars Muffins Burgers Cookies

Burgers French Fries Ice Cream Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Potato Chips Candy/Candy Bar Cookies Chicken Sandwiches

Ice Cream French Fries Burgers Candy/Candy Bars Doughnuts/Sweet Rolls Cookies Pizza Potato Chips

Traditional Coffee Carbonated Soft Drinks Iced/Frozen/Slushy Coffee Cappuccino/Espresso/ Latte – Hot Bottled Water Iced Tea Juice

Carbonated Soft Drinks Bottled Water Iced/Frozen/Slushy Coffee Iced Tea Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks Traditional Coffee Frozen/Slushy Soft Drinks Juice

Carbonated Soft Drinks Iced Tea Bottled Water Shakes/Floats/Malts Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks Frozen/Slushy Soft Drinks Beer Traditional Coffee

Source: The NPD Group/CREST, year ending September 2016


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Guide to Candy & Snacks

Welcome to Modern-Day Snacking Please keep hands and legs inside at all times; it’s going to be a long ride

W

hen I think about modern-day snacking, one particular commercial comes to mind. In 2014, Bel Brands USA’s The Laughing Cow asked television audiences: “What’s happened to snacking? How did it become absent-mindedly eating?” The Laughing Cow even uses words like “predictable” and “unsatisfying” to describe snacking. Little did Bel Brands — maker of individual and shareable cheese snacks — know that within just a few years’ time, snacking would become purposeful and intentional for consumers, retailers and manufacturers — and usher in a whole new era of consumption. Modern-day snacking has become ubiquitous. According to The Hartman Group’s Future of Snacking 2016 study, 91 percent of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day. Of these consumers, 8 percent forego meals altogether in favor of all-day snacking. Additionally, a net total of 50 percent of all eating occasions today are snacking. When it comes to where snackers are making their purchases, among the top five destinations for snack purchases identified by The Hartman Group is none other than convenience stores. C-stores are uniquely positioned to satisfy snack occasions. In fact, Danielle Romano, Associate Managing more than 65 percent of consumers surveyed in this year’s Convenience Editor Store News Realities of the Aisle study said they shopped at a c-store to buy snacks — the third-highest percentage of all in-store categories behind purchasing a beverage and fueling up their vehicles, respectively. Today’s snackers are drawn to c-stores to make a purchase for a number of reasons. When asked to think about the reason behind their last snack purchase, 37.9 percent of consumers said they wanted to satisfy a craving, while 29.3 percent sought to indulge or treat themselves, according to a survey by EIQ Research Solutions, sister company to CSNews. As a female, millennial c-store shopper, I can attest that my last several c-store visits were to either satisfy a salty craving or indulge in something sweet. A quarter of consumers also cited purchasing a snack to hold them over until their next meal. Interestingly, only 7.5 percent bought a snack as an impulse buy. Nowadays, snacks are boundless — with new flavors and formats being introduced every day — and this means opportunities in the category are aplenty for convenience store retailers. Read on for our 2017 Guide to Candy & Snacks and find out more about the makeup of today’s snackers, how modern-day snacking became the paradigm that it is, plus a rundown of the latest tips and trends every c-store retailer should know. No purchase necessary.

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Snackification Takes Hold Consumers are looking for snacks to satisfy both need and want states, while on the go By Danielle Romano

G

one are the days of traditional, three-mealsa-day consumption. Today’s consumers are riding a new wave called snackification. Eating and drinking what they want, when they want and anywhere they want, today’s consumers are forging a fresh landscape of snacking that works best for their complicated lifestyles. With 21 percent of consumers snacking more today than they were five years ago, snacks are playing an increasingly diverse role in people’s food lives and food culture. Modern-day consumers have a checklist when it comes to their snacks, which must fit multiple criteria, like convenience, portability, innovation, versatility and variety. Snacks provide today’s consumers with the ability to fill up before their next big meal, or simply serve as the meal itself. “Modern-day snacking is driven by the on-the-go, time-starved lifestyle of today’s shopper. They don’t have the time to carefully plan, prepare and then sit down to eat a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Brooke Steeneck, senior manager, category strategy and insights, c-store, for The Hershey Co., told Convenience Store News. “Instead, they have to grab convenient, easy and widely available snacks through-

out the day to supplement their smaller main meals.” However, that’s not the only contemporary purpose snacks serve. Snacking still carries with it a customary undertone, like satisfying an afternoon pick-me-up, indulging in a late-night sweet tooth craving, or serving as a special daily treat for consumers. In fact, Steeneck guarantees that confection will remain one of the largest and advantaged snacking categories. “The growth of indulgent snacks and our own consumer research give us confidence that this category remains relevant,” she concluded. WHAT MAKES UP MODERN-DAY SNACKING?

The modern-day snacking spate can be akin to asking William Shakespeare’s legendary question: “What’s in a name?” With shifts in lifestyle, culture and values, the makeup of modern-day snacking is increasingly blurring. Existing outside the boundaries of meals in a more fluid space, snacks can be anything and found anywhere, according to today’s consumers. A whopping 91 percent of modern-day consumers partake in snacking multiple times throughout the day, revealed the Future of Snacking 2016, the latest snacking report from Bellevue, Wash.-based The Hartman Group. Additionally, a net total of 50 percent of all eating occasions today are snacking. “In turn, the structure of meals is changing, creating new gray spaces,” explained Tamar Barnett, vice president of strategic insights for The Hartman Group. For instance, 50 percent of “mini meal” eaters say the occasion replaced a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner, while 20 percent say the occasion is in addition to a meal. Future of Snacking also found that today’s associations with meals are: normative daypart occasions that mark the beginning

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Guide to Candy & Snacks

and end of the day; being shared (ideally) with other people; and satisfying a balance of nutrition, calories and quantity. On the other hand, snacks have fewer cultural underpinnings. Snacks are seen as: in-between meal fillers; not required for nutritional balance; happening fluidly; and an individualized and personalized experience. Paving their own way in the shifting snacking paradigm, more consumers are incorporating a snack food as part of a main meal. The latest research from The NPD Group, based in Chicago, found that although more snack foods are eaten between meals, snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eatings, which is up from 21 percent five years ago. In fact, by 2024, annual eatings per capita of snack food at main meals is forecasted to grow by another 12 percent, according to NPD’s Generation Study: The Evolution of Eating. “Although consumers are not adding new snacking occasions to the day, there is a shift in what’s eaten at main meals and how snacking is viewed. Consumers today expect snacks to work for them; the snack is no longer just a reward,” said David Portalatin, vice president, industry analysis, NPD Group. “Snack foods that offer consumers flexibility on price, portion size, and portability allow them to compose an eating occasion that fits their specific needs at the time, whether they look at it as a snack, meal replacement or part of a main meal occasion.” Some consumers choose to forgo meals altogether in favor of all-day snacking. This is especially true of millennials. A survey commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, a division of Concord, Mass.-based Welch Foods Inc., found that 92 percent of snackers aged 18-35 said they often eat a snack instead of having breakfast, lunch or dinner at least once a week. Half of these consumers said they replaced a meal with a snack at least four times a week, while 26 percent said they do so at least seven times a week. Among the top drivers for millennials to snack are taste (80 percent), nutrition and health (52 percent), and convenience (49 percent). But another factor is seeking whole food ingredients like whole grains (43 percent), real fruit (42 percent) and nuts (39 percent). No matter the snack, transparency plays a signifi-

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cant role in consumers’ snacking choices. With an emphasis on better-for-you snacking, consumers are conscious of a snack’s ingredient list and check to see if the list is recognizable and easy to read. This holds true for even indulgent snacking, according to research from General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. HOW C-STORES CAN CAPITALIZE

By 2020, snacking will be a $200-billion industry, according to predictions from IRI, a Chicagoheadquartered market research company. This opens many doors of opportunity for convenience stores, which remain a snacking destination for consumers. One tip The Hershey Co.’s Steeneck has for c-store operators is to not send customers on a wild goose chase when they’re looking for a snack. “Don’t make your customer search the entire store to see your snack offering. Organize your store so that snacking categories are located together and on the shopper’s path to purchase,” she advises. According to the supplier executive, c-store snacking solutions should also reflect the modern-snack model consisting of snacking throughout the day. With 56 percent of snacking purchases being made from a secondary location in the store, it is imperative retailers have the right snack categories on the right displays. “Having a variety of snack categories represented for every daypart ensures the display will be shopped through the day,” Steeneck expressed. C-store operators should also take advantage of seasonal products and promotions. Steeneck noted that seasonal offerings represent an important opportunity for retailers to present additional usage occasions, and drive incremental sales. “Household penetration peaks for categories like snacks and confection during seasonal periods, expanding the shopper base and bringing infrequent users into the category. Many shoppers make several trips throughout the season, so having products on display early each season is important to maximizing the opportunity,” she stressed. “Letting your shopper know that you are ‘in the season’ with signage and dedicated seasonal display locations will help drive excitement for the shopper and growth for the category.”


CANDY

Bite-Sized Insights The Sweeter Gender. When shopping at convenience stores, women are heavier candy purchasers, according to the annual Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle study. In 2017, females out-purchased males 68.8 percent to 60.2 percent, respectively. Similar purchase patterns were seen in 2016, when 72 percent of female shoppers said they made a candy purchase in the last month vs. their male counterparts at 61.6 percent. Just a Bite. 2016 appeared to be the “it” year for bite-sized candy. Appearing on the scene in the small snacks arena throughout the year were: The Hershey Co.’s Hershey Bites, Pinkberry Bites by Big Sky Brands Inc., Mars Chocolate North America’s Twix Bites, Hot Tamales’ Licorice Bites, and Lindt Crunch Cookie Bites from Lindt & Sprüngli USA Inc., to name a few. There was also goodnessknows bars and Snickers Crisper, both from Mars Chocolate, which feature two and four pieces of bite-size fun, respectively. Still in the Game. “Confection is still one of the largest and advantaged snacking categories,” Brooke Steeneck, senior manager, category strategy and insights, c-store, for The Hershey Co., told CSNews, adding, “the growth of indulgent snacks and our own consumer research give us confidence that this category remains relevant.” A Change of Heart. Following a year of lower expectations, convenience store retailers are more willing to count on candy. The percentage of c-store operators who expect their candy sales to increase in 2017 rose to 57.1 percent, a jump up from the 46.2 percent who said the same one year ago, according to the findings of the 2017 Convenience Store News Forecast Study. Going Into Battle. The average U.S. consumer eats confectionery items twice a week, and the category makes up less than 2 percent of their caloric intake, according to research presented by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) at the 2016 State of the Industry Conference. Although obesity remains a major societal concern, rather than abolish sugar from their diet entirely, consumers recognize candy is always a treat. “There is a war on sugar, but there isn’t a war on candy,” according to NCA President and CEO John Downs.

THE FIVE-YEAR TREND Bagged/repackaged peg candy and novelties/seasonal candy have been the top-growing segments in the candy category at convenience stores for the last five years. On the other end of the spectrum, non-chocolate bars/packs has been in decline every year since 2013.

DOLLAR SALES (% CHANGE) 2016

2015

2014

2013

Total Candy

0.8 3.6 3.2 3.2 5.4

Bagged or Repacked Peg Candy

5.5 8.4 14.5 3.3 4.1

Chocolate Bars/Packs

2012

-2.2 -0.5 -2.6 15.7 15.5 -4.0 0.1 -2.1 -7.0 -4.9

Gum

8.9 9.9 8.1 6.0 18.8

Novelties/Seasonal

-1.9 6.5 Candy Rolls, Mints & Drops

-0.2 -3.7 2.2

Non-Chocolate Bars/Packs

-13.3 -6.7 -4.0 2.6 8.5

Source: Nielsen

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Guide to Candy & Snacks

SALTY SNACKS

Bite-Sized Insights The New Comfort Food? Research by Mintel found that 62 percent of consumers are eating salty snacks as a stress reliever, compared to 16 percent of American snackers who attributed stress as a reason for snacking one year ago. As the researcher pointed out, the portability of salty snacks allows consumers to alleviate their stress on the go, with one-third of salty snackers eating them away from home and 26 percent eating them at work. Need It Now. Salty snacks remain an impulse-driven category. According to a General Mills Convenience & Foodservice survey, 68 percent of c-store food and beverage purchases are unplanned and purchased on impulse once seen in the store. Additionally, 85 percent of shoppers eat c-store snacks quickly after purchase. Making Alterations. Strong growth in sales of alternative vegetable-based snacks — particularly salty snack versions — was the largest contributing factor to the rise in alternative-ingredient snack sales in 2016, according to Packaged Facts. The market research firm estimates the salty snack segment carried the alternative-ingredient snack market in 2016 with 7-percent growth — a faster growth rate than what was seen by salty snacks as a whole. Chipping In. When it comes to the specific kinds of snacks consumers are enjoying, Nielsen convenience store data shows potato chips dominate salty snacks, while meat snacks lead alternative snacks, and muffins and doughnuts top sweet-snack picks. A “Hot” Category. If the snacks category could be defined by convenience store retailers in one word, it would be “hot,” according to the 2017 Convenience Store News Forecast Study. Sales of salty snacks are forecasted to increase 5.7 percent this year. The popularity of potato chips and price hikes in salty snacks are anticipated to drive a boost in dollar sales per store.

THE FIVE-YEAR TREND Unit volume growth has not kept pace with dollar sales growth, indicating the likelihood of price increases in salty snacks. Tortilla/ corn chips has been the only salty snacks segment to remain a steady performer in both dollar sales and unit volume.

DOLLAR SALES (% CHANGE) 2016

2015

2014

2013

2.6 5.8 6.5 5.9 10.6

Total Salty Snacks

4.8 3.5 6.7 1.5 7.4

Potato Chips

2.0 5.1 9.6 7.1 13.8

Tortilla/Corn Chips

3.6 7.3 7.0 9.4 7.2

Other Salty Snacks

-2.7 Nuts & Seeds

7.2 7.9 5.9 6.8 5.0

Puffed Cheese

-1.7 Mixed

Crackers

Ready-to-Eat Popcorn

-0.7

-1.3

-4.5 Pretzels

Source: Nielsen

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11.3 8.1 6.1 14.4

1.2 1.7 8.0 17.6 4.6 2.1 3.7 10.7 4.0 6.6 4.5 17.4 7.2 11.0 15.7 18.0

2012


ALTERNATIVE SNACKS

Bite-Sized Insights Ample Space. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky CEO Bart Silvestro advises convenience store retailers to “lean in” and expand space allocations in their stores to offer customers a broader variety of the meat snacks and other alternative snacks they’re looking for. The Right Product Mix. Tracking which key flavors, brands and formats consumers purchase will help c-store retailers determine what product mix to carry, according to David Lakey, senior vice president of marketing at Oberto Brands. “With limited space, [retailers] have to decide how to not over-SKU. Shoppers want to come to a section they see is for them — offer a variety not strictly based on velocity, like offering 15 items from a traditional brand. Don’t miss out on new users and new occasions.” Raising the Bar. Purchasers of health bars have the potential to be lucrative c-store shoppers. When asked what products they’d be most likely to buy, more than three-quarters of everyday c-store shoppers (77.5 percent) said health bars, according to a survey of 589 c-store shoppers conducted by EIQ Research Solutions, sister company of Convenience Store News.

THE FIVE-YEAR TREND 2016 was the weakest year in the last five years for alternative snack dollar-sales growth. However, granola/yogurt bars and other alternative snacks — which includes rice cakes, trail mix, yogurt raisins, and chocolate/yogurt pretzels — outperformed the overall category.

DOLLAR SALES (% CHANGE) 2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

1.7 9.0 Total Alternative Snacks

9.9 4.9 12.8 1.0 7.8

Meat Snacks

11.8 3.6 11.7 1.8

Let the Good Times Roll. C-store retailers can expect the alternative snacks category to see significant growth as consumers continue their quest for wholesome, between-meal fillers and portable, on-the-go snacks. In 2017, alternative snacks are predicted to grow 4.7 percent in industry dollar sales, according to the 2017 Convenience Store News Forecast Study. The Rise of Better-for-You Snacks. Research has shown that 33 percent of consumers are snacking on healthier foods, cited Steve Montgomery, president of consulting firm b2b Solutions LLC. “Better-for-you snacks are expected to grow 8 percent by 2018. This is great news for our industry as we are America’s snacking headquarters,” he stated.

13.0 Health/Energy/Protein Bars

4.8 7.1 16.6 3.7 6.1

Other Alternative Snacks

14.3 8.0 13.1 7.0 4.5

Granola/Yogurt Bars

9.6 4.4 6.6

Source: Nielsen

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Guide to Candy & Snacks

SWEET SNACKS

Bite-Sized Insights Evening Treat. Broken down by segment, sweet snacks are consumed the most after 6 p.m., while consumption of savory and better-for-you snacks peaks at lunchtime, or around 12 p.m., according to research from Mintel. Sweet snacks are also consumed on the go, with muffins and doughnuts serving as top contenders in the portability arena. Sweet Start to the Day. A recent Sweet Snacking Segmentation Survey conducted by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice found that c-store shoppers segment sweet snacks into three occasion groups, one being “Sweet Start Mornings.” These a.m.-focused products meet two specific customer needs. One is a.m. bakery-fresh and wholesome, which are baked goods with homemade cues and at least some nutritional value, such as fruit pieces, whole grains or fiber. The other is a.m. bakery-indulgence, which are bakery-fresh and taste-first sweets that are eaten for enjoyment and while on the go. Look Who’s Snacking? The 2017 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle study found that packaged sweet snacks are more popular among women (40.6 percent) vs. men (31.7 percent). Shoppers in the 35-44 age range are also more likely to make a sweet snack purchase (42.9 percent) than consumers of any other age bracket. Getting Crafty. “Craft” no longer applies to just beer. According to Michael Strauss, director of marketing at Cookies United LLC, as more consumers look for less mass-produced snacks, they are willing to pay for premium, craft products. To capitalize on this trend, Cookies United recently introduced a more gourmet, bakery-type cookie line called Big Shop Bites. The Year of the Wafer. Not exactly a cookie and not exactly a cracker, wafers made a statement in 2016. Opting to go bite-size to appeal to the health-conscious consumer, Dolcetto Wafer Bites come packaged in 100-calorie grab-and-go bags and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, or artificial colors or flavors. Meanwhile, Keebler by Kellogg Co. and Daelmans looked to satisfy chocolate and wafer lovers with their respective introductions of Keebler Chocolate Sugar Wafers and Daelmans Chocolate Caramel Stroopwafels.

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THE FIVE-YEAR TREND The packaged sweet snacks category has grown in c-store industry dollar sales every year for the past five years, with the exception of 2013. Last year, cookies was the standout segment, whereas the previous year it was muffins and doughnuts.

DOLLAR SALES (% CHANGE) 2016

2015

2014

2013

2.2 7.7 9.4

Total Packaged Sweet Snacks

-1.5 6.1

0.2 10.9 6.9

Muffins & Doughnuts

-0.8 6.4

0.4 3.8 16.7

Snacks/Pastries/Desserts

-11.3 2.2

8.4 5.8 Cookies

6.2 10.3 11.3

Source: Nielsen

2012


EXPERT’SVIEW NEW Horizons

How to Avoid a Mid-Career Slump

Strategies for putting your career back on the fast track

W

omen in retail and consumer goods who have been putting the pedal to the metal and still find their career going nowhere fast should keep their eyes on the road — and take a quick look at the rearview mirror. Mid-career women often give much less thought to their career than they did By Nancy Krawczyk, early in their work life. Mid-career, a role Network of can become rote and women may fall into Executive Women the trap of thinking if they’re doing their job well, they’ll be promoted. “When women reach a point mid-career, they can stall out if they don’t have clarity,” says former Safeway and Jamba Juice executive Christy Consler, founder and CEO of Sustainable Leadership Advisors. Asking yourself the hard questions can make even a slight shift in your thinking a significant one — and help put you back in control of your career. Consler tasks her global clients with a list of queries. Chief among them: What do I want and how do I get there? What are my skills? What am I passionate about? Where are those opportunities and how can I make it happen? “It requires knowing yourself well and what’s

Convenience Store News is pleased to continue this series of exclusive educational columns by the Network of Executive Women (NEW), coinciding with the annual CSNews TOP WOMEN IN Top Women in Convenience CONVENIENCE awards given out each fall. Fifty female managers, executives and directors who work in the convenience store industry will be honored in our 2017 program. In addition to being a presentation sponsor for the Top Women in Convenience program, NEW and

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important to you and your values,” she says. Here’s one caveat when considering your place in your organization, opportunities for advancement, and other career options: Be sure to keep the emphasis on you. “Women tend to do the comparison game and that can be dangerous,” notes former Starbucks and PepsiCo Inc. executive Cecilia Carter, founder of The Strategy Chick coaching firm. “Plan for yourself, your unique situation, your life.” A mid-career slump often coincides with “the sandwich years,” that stage when caring for children or elderly parents takes precedence, Carter explains. “We use all of our energy to address those external challenges and fail to address our own.” An outside perspective can help. Carter’s mentor, Ann Fudge, former chairman and CEO of Young &

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Rubicam Brands and one of the first African-American women to run a major corporation, was instrumental in how Carter took control of her career. “I was a single parent with two young girls and struggling with all that I had to manage; emotionally, I wasn’t in a good place. Ann said to me, ‘You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.’” Somehow, that candor gave Carter the permission she needed to step off the corporate ladder for a while before remaking her career in retail and consumer goods. “I never stopped working,” she says. “I just worked differently. I decided to follow my passion and took a job in the music industry. That change allowed me to build my skills, while giving me the flexibility I needed to care for myself and my little ones.” REV UP YOUR INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

Outside mentors can be career-changing, but equally vital is having a network of supporters inside your organization. Don’t think of internal networking as wasting time — it’s valuable to your career and your team’s success. For Consler, learning this lesson early in her career was invaluable. “My first boss out of business school told me I’d never get promoted just for doing my job; I needed to add value beyond my job description,” she recalls. Consler quickly saw that by being of greater value to him, he could meet his goals. “From the very beginning, be proactive about learning and growing,” she advises. “Add to your professional toolkit constantly.” My career has been driven, in part, by fostering relationships with key stakeholders. My advice? Learn what they need from you. Carter, for example,

recommends developing a communication strategy for each person, one level up and one level down. What you don’t want to do is create a dynamic that feels forced and unnatural. “Seek to make a genuine connection,” Consler agrees. “Be focused and make it easy for them to say ‘Yes.’” Have a specific question or request for stakeholders at the ready, such as ‘How did you make the move from sales to marketing?’” I started my career at McCormick & Co. and spent years in brand management and sales strategy at Campbell Soup Co. Along the way, I learned you can’t accelerate your career if you’re not aligned with your company’s values, goals and culture. A good starting place is setting smart goals with your boss. Also, don’t be afraid to look to the new, younger talent coming in. “When you’re mid-career, you’ve been in the same mindset for a while and can benefit from a fresh perspective,” Carter counsels. In bridging the generation and knowledge gaps, you come out ahead. “To be a leader, you have to lift up others. Take your energy and focus it on someone else,” she adds. “By elevating your top talent and concentrating on their development, you strengthen your own leadership style and effectiveness.” CSN Nancy Krawczyk is vice president, corporate partnerships and engagement, for the Network of Executive Women, Retail and Consumer Goods, a learning and leadership community representing more than 10,000 members, 950 companies, 109 corporate partners and 20 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at newonline.org. Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.

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STORESPOTLIGHT American Natural

A New Culture of Convenience American Natural offers its customers fuel for their cars and their bodies By Danielle Romano

C

reating “the convenience store of the future” is no easy undertaking for any industry operator or branding team, but Jennifer Pomerantz, founder and CEO of Pittsburgh-based American Natural, and King-Casey, a retail consulting and design firm, were up for the challenge. Setting out to become the “c-store of the future,” American Natural’s business model is dedicated to offering choice in both fuel for people’s vehicles, as well as fuel for their bodies. This model was created from Pomerantz’s belief that today’s convenience store shopping experience has become a “seemingly less human and unnatural experience,” where customers have traded good food for what’s convenient, she told Convenience Store News. “American Natural was driven to create a new culture of convenience, a more natural culture. An accessible culture built on the belief that, despite your busy lives, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice what is important to you and your family,” Pomerantz explained. “Better food. Better service. Better choices. All delivered with a great sense of community.” ZONING IN ON IMPROVEMENT

The American Natural brand was introduced in 2011 by parent company Cleopatra Resources. With an acquisition of operating fueling stations and a whole-

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American Natural worked with design firm King-Casey to improve brand positioning.

sale petroleum distribution fleet in 2012, the company established a growing footprint around its Pittsburgh base. Today, American Natural has 13 stores operating across Pennsylvania and Ohio. Seeking a new store prototype for the American Natural brand, the chain enlisted Westport, Conn.based King-Casey to bring its vision of a “new culture of convenience” to life. Together, the two organizations cultivated a project objective: to create a nextgeneration c-store design that optimizes sales of freshly prepared food and beverages, according to Howland Blackiston, a King-Casey principal who worked on the American Natural project. American Natural and King-Casey also had four


sub-objectives for the project: • Develop a redefined concept definition for a world-class c-store; • Develop an enhanced brand positioning and new store design for American Natural; • Create a new interior layout that optimizes operations and products, including 3-D branded design concepts; and • Develop strategies for visual zone merchandising and customer communications. To begin, King-Casey used its proprietary COZI (Customer Operating Zone Improvement) methodology to audit American Natural’s existing stores and determine how well they represented its desired brand positioning and attributes. COZI is an analytical assessment process that focuses on the customer and how retailers utilize “zones” to create an effective environment. Looking at American Natural’s stores through the COZI lens, King-Casey identified several areas in need of improvement and, thus, opportunities for the new prototype. For starters, the American Natural logo had a distinctive font for the name, but used a range of shapes, including ovals and rectangles, on an inconsistent background. Also, the company’s identity was distinctive, but skewed to a male image, therefore neglecting a fresh food and female focus. Lastly, American Natural had a molecular icon to represent its compressed natural gas (CNG) offering, which was distinctive yet underleveraged. At the Approach Zone and Forecourt, King-Casey found that American Natural’s primary signage only supported the fuel side of the business, without addressing its highly critical “The Eatery” program. Additionally, the CNG differentiator on its primary sign and at the pumps did not stand out from other fuel choices, merely blending in. American Natural — which operates a wholesale petroleum distribution fleet — offers gasoline and diesel in addition to CNG. Moving into the Food Service Zone, King-Casey identified the need for a major upgrade. Upon walking into “old” American Natural stores, the first thing customers saw was the same thing they’d see in every c-store: racks of candy and potato chips. This zone needed to become the showcase and center of attention for the new store prototype, Blackiston explained. “Foodservice should be the first thing you see when you enter the store because American Natural is all about fresh, delicious food,” he said. “We even recommended that they showcase food equipment that

The new store design incorporates a lounge area that entices customers to stay awhile.

underscores the ‘fresh choice’ concept, such as espresso machines, a rotisserie grill, and pizza ovens.” ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

American Natural’s new prototype debuted just outside Pittsburgh last September. The chain plans to roll out the new store design with future locations, and has begun implementing King-Casey’s recommendations at its existing stores, too. “New” American Natural stores highlight The Eatery’s bevy of fresh foodservice options. Taking an upscale approach, the offer includes made-to-order premium sandwiches, gourmet salads, baked-fresh pizzas, and toasted paninis. There’s an in-store barista as well, while sweeter fare includes homemade ice cream and hand-scooped milkshakes. “The core value of American Natural is choice, which the new prototype offers not only in types

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STORESPOTLIGHT American Natural

American Natural’s new prototype highlights the chain’s CNG offering.

of food, but in freshness, quality and diversity,” Blackiston stated. “American Natural’s goal is to make its stores dining destinations in their own right.” Taking on a more café-style design, new American Natural stores feature counter and tabletop seating for sit-down dining, plus an upholstered lounge area for customers who want to enjoy their barista-made beverages. There is also exterior patio dining. “The feeling you come away with is that this is a restaurant/dining concept that also happens to offer fueling options. That dining impression is so acute, and the food is so good and popular, that a store manager in the new prototype said that they received a call from a customer asking, ‘Do you take reservations for lunch?’” Blackiston shared. As the final piece of the puzzle, American Natural launched a new, easy-to-navigate website, americannatural.com, which showcases the new branding and gives visitors an opportunity to view available services, from The Eatery to its multi-fuel offering and wholesale fuel supply.

Blackiston describes the difference between American Natural’s new prototype and its old model as “night and day.” The chain is now aiming to reach a higher percentage of female customers, and has already seen truckingfleet operators taking advantage of American Natural’s choices in fuel, as well as its in-store amenities. He expects passenger-car drivers will not be far behind. “This is a client who really understood the value of branding and design in making a company’s vision a reality… never doubting that these were concepts that would help them realize their business objectives,” Blackiston said, praising American Natural. CSN

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New Perspectives on Consumers’ Eating and Drinking Behavior September 12-13, 2017 Donald E. Stephens Conference Center, Rosemont, IL

The ONLY Foodservice & Beverage Event for Convenience Store Category Managers and Executives The 2017 Convenience Foodservice & Beverage Exchange will look at today’s hottest food and beverage trends and what they mean for the future of c-store retailing. Key topics that will be addressed are: • • • • • • •

Developing tactics and strategies to overcome consumer bias of c-store foodservice Placing priority on food safety procedures Achieving restaurant margins within the c-store menu constraints Managing increased labor, spoilage and marketing costs Understanding the importance of beverage selection of build foodservice sales Analyzing sales and customer counts by daypart Trends in beverages and convenience dining

PLUS valuable time set aside for meeting with solution providers and peer networking.

For more information, visit: csnews.com/food-beverage Retailers, please contact: Don Longo, dlongo@ensembleIQ.com

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REPUTATION MANAGEMENT Star Ratings and Reviews Keep Customers Coming Back for More When you think of reputation management, you may consider it something of a calculated band-aid for brands overcoming a public relations nightmare. Now that consumers, and not marketers, are the owners and mouthpieces of brands, the need for businesses to actively monitor, assess and manage how they are perceived in the retail space should be considered an integral part of any organization’s day-to-day operations.

Beyond the 12 million drivers who use GasBuddy every month, your star ratings are prominently featured in results on search engines such as Google. In fact, having a star rating and customer content associated with your location elevates your brand to the first page of search results, so it’s especially important to keep that rating strong.

Why is Reputation Management So Important? Reputation management is a relatively new concept for the fuel and convenience store industry. Vocal consumers, such as GasBuddy’s app users, armed with smartphones and constantly on-the-go, are sending compliments and complaints alike through public outlets, bringing a new and unprecedented flow of feedback. The fuel industry in general has been behind in both soliciting feedback and using it to drive business decisions, so it’s important for retailers to employ a tool, such as GasBuddy Business Pages, to meet—and exceed—customer expectations. Consistency and a superior customer experience are just the starting points for reputation building. The largest and most successful organizations have mastered managing their reputations. Their reputations precede them when entering new markets and serve as an asset when capturing consumers, who already believe they will receive a quality product or experience based solely on word of mouth. How GasBuddy is Changing the Fuel Industry Status Quo Once a tool for drivers to find the best gas prices in their area, the GasBuddy app is not just about fuel anymore for on-thego convenience store consumers. Through the ratings and reviews capability within the app, GasBuddy gives drivers a forum to share their customer experiences with fellow travelers. The app now boasts nine million ratings for stations all over the country, and our users have stated that star ratings and written reviews (and consumer/brand interaction) are important to them when determining where to fuel up and shop. Results of a recent GasBuddy consumer survey found: 74% of GasBuddy users actively rate stations and c-stores; 75% find ratings and reviews helpful when choosing where to stop. 69% of users wouldn’t consider visiting your store if it had less than three stars. 80% would consider returning to a store if they received a personal response to their complaint. 72% would consider revisiting a store if their complaint was resolved quickly.

GasBuddy Business Pages Offers Solutions for Retailers GasBuddy understands the growing need for fuel retailers and convenience store chains to monitor their online presence and seamlessly become part of the conversations that their customers are already having. With GasBuddy Business Pages, you can keep an eye on your ratings and reviews in real time and respond to inquiries that require attention. Responding to reviews by taking action is a great way to learn from and build goodwill with your most vocal customers. You also have the opportunity to leverage custom ratings in the app to test new products or services, or inform and enhance your existing mystery shopping programs to ensure brand compliance. The platform also provides in-depth data and reporting on customer interactions and feedback, competitor benchmarking, foot traffic and more, empowering departments across your organization to make data-driven decisions and create a better customer experience. How is this changing the game? Before ratings and reviews became prevalent, unhappy customers just wrote off a store or a whole brand, as customers can churn on a single poor experience. Even if they had an outlet to voice their complaints, retailers had no way to manage their reputation with a direct response to the customer, or to communicate that they are taking appropriate action to fix the problem. It doesn’t have to be complicated—check out the infographic on the following page for five steps your brand can take to build and manage its online reputation.


5 Steps Toward Building & Managing Your Online Reputation 1

Monitor Your Online Presence Your customers define your brand’s reputation based on their experiences at your stations. Spend some time reading what they are saying and looking for common themes in their reviews.

2

Solicit Feedback Regularly You’ll find that many customers are willing to leave a review for your business if asked. Capture and enlist the voice of the customer to deliver star ratings and reviews on factors that are critical for hitting your business goals.

3

Respond to Customers (Especially the Unhappy Ones) Win back a dissatisfied customer with a courteous, personal response to a negative review. If possible, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and offer a special incentive to get them back into your store.

4

Take Action Your job isn’t done when you respond to customers online. Deliver on your promises to clean the dirty restroom, retrain the cashier or fix the broken fuel pump.

5

Build Your Brand Around Good Reviews Are you consistently finding that your ratings and reviews reflect exceptional customer service? Use these positive reviews to inform your marketing strategies, and let those who aren’t in the know about your station or store experience what they are missing.


OUTABOUT &

Spotlighting major industry events

Bringing Foodservice to the Forefront

Eby-Expo 2017 featured a dedicated foodservice hall for the first time By Angela Hanson

E

by-Brown Co. LLC made two major changes to its annual Eby-Expo trade show this year. Along with dividing into two shows to better accommodate its customers — one in Cleveland and the other in Rosemont, Ill. — the convenience distributor also opened a second show floor focused solely on foodservice. The company’s goal is to leverage its understanding of both prepared food programs and general retail to help c-stores improve on both fronts. While broadline foodservice distributors may be experts in their area, Eby-Brown executives noted that those suppliers accustomed to servicing restaurants do not have experience catering to customers who visit in search of both food and non-food items. In its dealings with manufacEby-Expo 2017 turers, Eby-Brown’s message is April 4-5, Cleveland to “Get creative, have fun with April 27-28, Rosemont, Ill. it,” while its message to retailers is “How can we make you unique?,” representatives shared at Eby-Expo Midwest, held April 27-28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. The foodservice show floor featured a number of Eby-Brown’s proprietary programs. The new Savory Corner Café, which combines a roller grill, a rack for side snacks and toppings, and a tablet showing a video of ways to prepare the available offerings was on display to garner feedback. Eby-Brown also continues to develop its Wakefield Sandwiches line, which added color-coding for ingredients in the past year and is undergoing a packaging change. The foodservice show floor included a stage and seating area, where attendees could view demonstrations, including an Iron Chef-style cooking challenge performed by chefs and sales managers using convenience store products and ingredients. The expo also highlighted solutions Eby-Brown offers in other categories, from category management,

76 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

The participants in an Iron Chefstyle cooking challenge could only use convenience store ingredients.

to technical help in the form of its Eby SourcePoint 360 mobile app. As for the distributor’s manufacturer partners, vendor highlights included: • f’real foods introduced its first small-footprint, behind-the-counter B7 blender, designed for foodservice retailers with restricted space. The unit is not self-serve, so it requires operation by store employees, but one-touch blending allows c-stores to provide fresh-made milkshakes and smoothies in less than 60 seconds. The blender does not require measuring, scooping or pouring; drain or water line; or the use of an ice machine. • C-store operators who aren’t ready to invest in new equipment purchases, particularly small operators, can still add smoothies to their menu with the Yoplait SmoothiePro, which provides preblended smoothie mixes in sealed bags. The mix must be served fresh due to the two-day shelf life, but employees can cup the smoothies they need and store the rest. • C-store employees who are new to the foodservice world should be able to easily operate the ventless fryers from Perfect Fry, which sit on the countertop and function nearly as simply as “a frying vending machine,” according to the company. Along with their small size, the units cater to small-footprint locations because they do not require a hood. CSN


September 26, 2017 • Rosemont, IL Co-Located with the Path to Purchase Expo!

Get the data and information you need to reach America’s fastest growing consumer segment: Multicultural Shoppers! We’ll cover these topics, with ample time for networking and connecting with other marketers, merchandisers and company executives: • Breaking Through the Clutter: The Importance of Multicultural Local Markets • The United States of Multicultural America: Threat or Opportunity? • Maintaining Relevancy with New Mainstream Consumer • Leveraging “People”-based Insights to Reach Hispanic Millennials • Think Like a Customer: How Retailers Are Changing to Meet the Needs of an Evolving Customer Base • The Cross-Cultural Shopper of Tomorrow: Gen Z • Connecting with the Passion Points of African-American and Hispanic Consumers

Sign up for the Summit and get admission to the Path to Purchase Expo show floor and keynotes! To discuss how this event can help you reach key brands and retailers interested in multicultural consumers, contact Katie Brennan at kbrennan@ensembleIQ.com

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OUTABOUT &

Spotlighting major industry events

A Time of Change & Frustration

Tobacco Merchants Association Conference navigates the new normal By Melissa Kress

T

he Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA) held its 102nd Annual Meeting and Conference in May with a new president and CEO, Chris Greer, at its helm. And it seems only appropriate that the tobacco group moves forward with new leadership as the tobacco industry and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — which regulates it — face changes of their own. “Change is the focus of our conference, relative to our members and the environment they work in,” Greer told attendees, pointing to several new developments in the first few months of 2017 such as elections in the United States and Europe, Tobacco Merchants and confirmation of Scott Association 102nd Gottlieb as FDA commissioner. Annual Meeting Keynote speaker Mitch & Conference Zeller, director of the FDA’s Chantilly, Va. Center for Tobacco Products May 10-12, 2017 (CTP), agreed that this year’s theme, “Understanding, Navigating and Embracing Change,” was timely. “What does the change in government mean for all of us? The answer is TBD,” Zeller said. “It’s still very early days; the new commissioner is being sworn in today.” New leadership aside, the CTP is continuing its work regulating tobacco products, adding newly deemed products to its roster. Since the Aug. 8 effective date of the final deeming rule, the Center has issued several guidances to help the industry grapple with the changes — including guidances on Premarket Tobacco Applications, cigar warning labels, and vape shop activities. Additionally, in May, the agency issued a guidance delaying some deadlines set in the final deeming rule by 90 days, beginning with May 10, 2017 deadlines. The move, made in accordance with the FDA’s agreement in a legal challenge brought by the cigar industry, does not apply to deadlines that went into effect before May 10. As for the deeming rule, the CTP director acknowl-

78 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

Mitch Zeller, director of the Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, served as keynote speaker.

edged backlash. “To state the obvious, there was a lot of reaction to what the agency did,” Zeller said. One of the key components for manufacturers of newly regulated products under the deeming rule is getting FDA approval to keep their offerings on the market — a move that can come either through Substantial Equivalency (SE) or Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA). During the TMA event, Matthew Holman, the new director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ Office of Science, outlined the pathways, noting that the SE process — for products that are substantially equivalent to those on the market before the Feb. 15, 2007 predicate date — “is evolving and getting more mature.” Calling the SE pathway “still very new,” he acknowledged it’s a work in progress. “Our goal is to make the process more transparent and more predictable,” Holman said. The evolving process, however, is causing frustration among tobacco companies, with some manufacturers voicing concerns over the agency’s approval process. Gerry Roerty, vice president and general counsel at Swedish Match North America, noted that it “troubles” him to hear the FDA and CTP say they have learned as they go. “It should be let’s learn, then go; not let’s go, then learn,” he said, adding that there was time to get meaningful feedback and issue meaningful guidance before finalizing the deeming rule. CSN


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ADINDEX Advance Pierre Foods ............................................................................92 Altria Group Distribution Company .....................................................2-3 Anchor Packaging ..................................................................................5 Boston Beer/Samuel Adams .................................................................40 Cash Depot..............................................................................................72 Coca Cola ................................................................................................23 Cookies United .......................................................................................67 Del Monte Fresh Produce ......................................................................33 FGX International ...................................................................................17 Forte Products .........................................................................................16 Gas Buddy ...............................................................................................74-75 Heineken .................................................................................................11,39 Hershey’s ................................................................................................7 Home Market Foods ...............................................................................91 InLine Plastics.........................................................................................20 JTM/JJ’s Bakery......................................................................................53 John Middleton.......................................................................................27 Krispy Krunchy Chicken........................................................................25 Liggett Vector Brands ............................................................................31 McLane Co. .............................................................................................15 Nestle Professional/Coffee-Mate..........................................................19 New Leadership Summit .......................................................................41 Perfetti Van Melle...................................................................................59 PFSbrands ...............................................................................................56-57 Procter and Gamble ...............................................................................43 RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company ...........................................................9 Save-A- Lot .............................................................................................21 Subway....................................................................................................47 Swisher International, Inc. ...................................................................35,37 Tillamook Country Smoker, Inc. ...........................................................55 Tyson .......................................................................................................13 Universal Merchant Services ................................................................Outsert White Castle ...........................................................................................45

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Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by EnsembleIQ, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield, IL 60015. Copyright © 2017 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. Subscriptions: One year, $93; two years, $152. One year, Canada, $110; two years, Canada, $175. One year, foreign, $150. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds. Single copies, $10, except foreign, where postage will be added. Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Convenience Store News, P.O. Box 1842, Lowell, MA 01853.

WWW.CSNEWS. WWW.CSNEWS.COM | JULY 2017 | Convenience Store News 89


GETTINGTOTHECORE

Tech Talk C-store shoppers find checkout-free stores and drones appealing

I

n the quest to offer time-pressed consumers the fastest, most convenient shopping experience possible, retailers are turning more and more to the latest advances in technology. EnsembleIQ Research, sister company of Convenience Store News, recently surveyed roughly 500 U.S. consumers who shopped at a convenience store in the past month on their technology views. One interesting finding: C-store shoppers consider themselves tech-savvy. A mere 6 percent of those surveyed said they would describe themselves as not tech-savvy at all.

25.1%

The percentage of c-store shoppers who consider themselves very tech-savvy.

Amazon recently launched a checkout-free store concept called Amazon Go. How would you rate the appeal of such a concept? Very appealing Somewhat appealing Neither appealing nor unappealing Somewhat unappealing Not at all appealing

Amazon Go has younger c-store shoppers intrigued: More than 70 percent of those aged 18-44 rate the concept very or somewhat appealing.

TOTAL

BY AGE: 18-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

26.7% 35.9% 17.5% 11.2% 8.8%

33.3% 37.0% 12.8% 11.5% 5.3%

28.0% 43.0% 16.0% 7.0% 6.0%

18.6% 37.3% 16.9% 13.6% 13.6%

10.2% 28.6% 40.8% 10.2% 10.2%

17.6% 21.6% 21.6% 15.7% 23.5%

Base: 502 consumers who purchase food or beverages from a c-store at least once a month Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017

7-Eleven recently started testing delivery by drones. How appealing is this service to you? Very appealing Somewhat appealing Neither appealing nor unappealing Somewhat unappealing Not at all appealing

Opinions are split on 7-Eleven’s drone delivery: 45 percent find it very or somewhat appealing, but nearly 38 percent say it’s somewhat unappealing or not at all appealing.

TOTAL

BY AGE: 18-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

17.3% 24.5% 20.5% 12.2% 25.5%

21.8% 31.3% 19.8% 12.3% 14.8%

22.0% 26.0% 19.0% 13.0% 20.0%

11.9% 18.6% 25.4% 3.4% 40.7%

6.1% 8.2% 32.7% 14.3% 38.8%

3.9% 11.8% 9.8% 17.6% 56.9%

Base: 502 consumers who purchase food or beverages from a c-store at least once a month Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017

How “tech-savvy” do you consider yourself? TOTAL

Not at all tech-savvy Somewhat tech-savvy Moderately tech-savvy Very tech-savvy Want to collaborate and share expertise with your peers? The Council of Retail Experts (CORE) is an exclusive network of convenience store retail leaders who do just that. For more information on how to join CORE, please visit www.cvcoreinsights.com.

Survey respondents sourced via ProdegeMR, a leading provider of data collection solutions for the research industry. Visit www.prodegemr.com for more info.

90 Convenience Store News | JULY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

BY AGE: 18-34

35-44

45-54

5.8% 3.3% 3.0% 6.8% 34.3% 25.9% 36.0% 44.1% 34.9% 37.4% 40.0% 23.7% 25.1% 33.3% 21.0% 25.4%

55-64

65+

10.2% 17.6% 53.1% 41.2% 26.5% 33.3% 10.2% 7.8%

Base: 502 consumers who purchase food or beverages from a c-store at least once a month Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017

C-store shoppers aged 18-34 are the most likely to say they are very tech-savvy. However, the highest percentage in this age group say they are moderately tech-savvy.

Food and beverage delivery by drone is especially appealing to male c-store shoppers. Among those surveyed, more than 45 percent find this option very or somewhat appealing.


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CSN - July 2017  

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