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W H AT ’ S N E X T I N C O N V E N I E N C E A N D F U E L R E TA I L I N G

3 steps 3to higher profits Look inside to find out how successful retailers sell over 100 bottles of 5-hour ENERGY per week. ®

©2019 Living Essentials Marketing, LLC. All rights reserved.

NOVEMBER 2019 CSNEWS.COM

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With its impressive gross profit and brand recognition 5-hour ENERGY is one product you want to sell more of. ÂŽ

Look inside to find out how some retailers are maximizing profits with 5-hour ENERGY shots. ÂŽ

$


W H AT ’ S N E X T I N C O N V E N I E N C E A N D F U E L R E TA I L I N G

MEET THE 2019 CLASS OF FUTURE LEADERS IN CONVENIENCE

FOCUSED ON PEOPLE Retailer Retailer Executive Executive of of the the Year Year Brian Brian Hannasch Hannasch cites cites rejuvenation rejuvenation of of the the Circle Circle K K global global brand brand and bringing in new talent among his most satisfying satisfying achievements. achievements.

NOVEMBER 2019 CSNEWS.COM

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The future of our industry is about innovation, products with the potential to reduce harm and adult consumer choice. Through our companies and strategic partners, we’ve invested in the most compelling portfolio of non-combustible products. We strive to give adult consumers the choices they want today — and invest and develop products for tomorrow.

Servicing: Philip Morris USA U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company John Middleton Nu Mark Nat Sherman

©2019 Altria Group Distribution Company | For Trade Purposes Only

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VIEWPOINT

The Industry Buzz NACS Show 2019 showcased product innovation and opportunities for growth YOU COULDN’T LEAVE last month’s NACS Show in Atlanta and not be upbeat about the growth opportunities in the convenience store industry.

Our team of editors spoke with retailers, suppliers and distributors, and here are some of our observations about the state of the c-store business: Vaping concerns were the talk of the show. Retailers were nauseous just thinking about the potential of new regulations to restrict the use of vape products. Juul Labs seems to be doing all the right things — pulling popular flavors (as required) and fighting underage use with a new POS system. It was pointed out by numerous people that not a single death or illness to date has been tied to a Juul product and hopefully it stays that way. Alternative tobacco is hot. On the positive side, other alternative tobacco products were all the rage. Altria’s IQOS heat-not-burn product and on! nicotine pouches; Reynolds’ non-combustible vapor/nicotine products like Alto, Revel and Velo; and other new products in the oral nicotine category are attracting retailers’ interest. The energy category is reenergized. Coke Energy will add new zing to a hot category that is seeing lots of innovation. Caffeine-free, natural, no-sugar, fitness/ performance attributes and more were all on display by the various beverage companies. There was also lots of buzz about the impact Bang has had on the energy drink category. Going crazy in the cold vault. In addition to the

above-mentioned energy category, the entire cold vault is undergoing tremendous change. We’re seeing continued shrinkage of space for traditional carbonated colas, new offerings in flavored and sparkling waters, new Generation Z targeted flavors (Gomega Mango Passionfruit, anyone?) and new sports drinks. The CBD boom is real. Despite no clear scientifically documented benefits, CBD in products ranging from health and beauty (tinctures, creams, lotions, pills) to food (gummies, beverages) have captured retailers’ attention. It’s already being dubbed the “next hot category” for c-stores. Mainstream focus on technology. The technology section of the NACS Show has become one of its hottest areas, as retailers look for the solutions they need to stay competitive in today’s fast-changing market. Frictionless, digital transformation, mobile and network connectivity were among the buzz words heard throughout the tech section. Premiumization and clean labels boost foodservice. Better-for-you options haven’t replaced traditional favorites or indulgent items in prepared foods, but demand for premium products and clean-label ingredients was evident on the show floor. Hot and spicy also remains a major food trend. In coffee, new bean-to-cup equipment and single-origin brews had a significant presence, while cold brew has reached mainstream status. For comments, please contact Don Longo, Editorial Director, at (201) 855-7606 or dlongo@ensembleiq.com.

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS (2013-2019)

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Brett Atherton Bolla Management

2018 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Editorial Use of Data, June 2017

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

Laura Aufleger OnCue Express

2018 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Website Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2017 Business to Business, Editorial Use of Data, June 2017 2017 Eddie Awards, Folio: magazine Winner, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, May 2017 Honorable Mention, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, June 2016 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

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Bronze, Best Original Research, June 2015

2014 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2013 Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2013

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Silver, Best Original Research, June 2015

2013 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2012

Chris Hartman Rutter’s Ray Johnson Speedee Mart Jack Lewis GPM Midwest

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best Special Supplement, November 2014 Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014

Ruth Ann Lilly GPM Investments Danielle Mattiussi Maverik Inc. Vito Maurici McLane Co. Inc. Richard Mione GPM Southeast Jonathan Polonsky Plaid Pantries Inc. Greg Scriver Kwik Trip Inc. Bill Stein Core-Mark Roy Strasburger Strasburger Retail

2016 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Silver, Front Cover Illustration, June 2015

NOV

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Edward Davidson ER Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Jim Hachtel Eby-Brown Co.

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014

2013 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Bronze, Best Editorial/Commentary, July 2012

Rick Crawford Green Valley Grocery

Joe Lewis ExtraMile Convenience Stores

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CONTENTS NOV 19

VOLUME 55 N UMB ER 11

28

22 76

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

COVER STORY

VIEWPOINT

NEW HORIZONS

28 Focused on People Retailer Executive of the Year Brian Hannasch cites rejuvenation of the Circle K global brand and bringing in new talent among his most satisfying achievements.

3 The Industry Buzz NACS Show 2019 showcased product innovation and opportunities for growth.

78 What Does Gen Z Mean for Our Workplaces? Gen Zers differ from previous generations — and we can learn a thing or two from them.

8 CSNews Online INSIDE THE CONSUMER MIND

FEATURE

36 Rising Stars Fifteen accomplished young professionals are honored as Future Leaders in Convenience. FEATURE

60 7-Eleven Delivers Convenience Store News honors the chain for its cutting-edge technology initiatives. FEATURE

62 NACS Show 2019 Empowers The industry is encouraged to tell their stories and share ideas with one another.

18 New Products SMALL OPERATOR

22 Finding Success With Your Supplier Partners The most robust partnerships are founded on two-way communication and shared commitments.

94 Technology-Powered Shopping Ironically, c-store shoppers are experiencing new convenience services in other channels.

STORE SPOTLIGHT

76 Southern Style Parker’s Kitchen is designed to be a foodservice store that offers convenience.

60

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CONTENTS NOV 19

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10

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax: (773) 992-4455 www.csnews.com Direct Mailing Address for Convenience Store News: 11-43 Raymond Plaza West, 16th floor, Newark, NJ 07102 BRAND MANAGEMENT Vice President/Group Brand Director Paula Lashinsky (917) 446-4117 plashinsky@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Editorial Director (201) 855-7606

Don Longo dlongo@ensembleiq.com

Editor-in-Chief (201) 855-7608

Linda Lisanti llisanti@ensembleiq.com

Senior News Editor (201) 855-7618

Melissa Kress mkress@ensembleiq.com

Associate Editor (201) 855-7619

INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

10 Yesway Inks Its Largest Acquisition Deal

FOODSERVICE

12 CrossAmerica Partners Exits Retail Operations 12 Fast Facts 14 Eye on Growth 14 People on the Move 16 Retailer Tidbits 16 Supplier Tidbits

54

52 What’s Hot on Today’s Menus? Warm flavors and hearty callouts connect with consumers for the fall. FOODSERVICE

54 Building the Best Plans to Combat the Worst Situations Technology innovation and advanced planning help retailers build up their food safety defenses. TOBACCO

56 Falling Out of Flavor The Food and Drug Administration may remove flavored vapor products from the market, but similar moves at the state level are facing legal roadblocks.

Angela Hanson ahanson@ensembleiq.com

Associate Managing Editor (201) 855-7604

Danielle Romano dromano@ensembleiq.com

Contributing Editor (303) 741-3377

Renée M. Covino reneek@aol.com

Contributing Editor (201) 280-2614

Tammy Mastroberte tmastroberte@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Associate Brand Director & Northeast Sales Manager (508) 385-2524

Rachel McGaffigan rmcgaffigan@ensembleiq.com

Associate Brand Director & Western Sales Manager (330) 840-9557

Ron Lowy rlowy@ensembleiq.com

Associate Publisher & Midwest Sales Manager Kelly Fischer (773) 992-4464 kfischer@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 EVENTS Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several (860) 830-8321 eseveral@ensembleiq.com AUDIENCE List Rental (847) 492-1350 ext.318

MeritDirect Elizabeth Jackson

Subscriber Services/Single-Copy Purchases Omeda (847) 564-1468 CVN@Omeda.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production (877) 687-7321 Creative Director (973) 607-1320

Derek Estey destey@ensembleiq.com Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com

Advertising/Production Manager (773) 992-4418

Ed Ward eward@ensembleiq.com

Art Director (973) 607-1321

Lauren DiMeo ldimeo@ensembleiq.com

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several

CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS AFFILIATIONS Premier Trade Press Exhibitor

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

Convenience Store News (ISSN 0194-8733; USPS 515-950) is published 12 times per year, monthly, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: $125 for U.S. addresses; $190 for Canadian addresses; $275 for all other addresses. Single copies (pre-paid only): $20 in the U.S. Foreign single copy sales (pre-paid only): $85.00. Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL 60631, and additional mailing addresses. Copyright 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Convenience Store News,, PO Box 3200, Northbrook IL 60065-3200.

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Ignite your customers’ passion with a unique taste in a quality smoke. This limited edition is an exotic blend of the subtle tartness of passion fruit and the tropical sweetness of mango that will be an instant hit. Available in a variety of market-driven price points and only for a limited time. Don’t miss the chance to puff up your sales with passion and stock up today.

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CSNEWS ONLINE

TOP VIEWED STORIES

1

Couche-Tard Enters Year Four of Circle K Rebranding Campaign

In September 2015, the retailer embarked on a journey to unite its convenience stores across the globe under the Circle K umbrella. The company has placed the new banner on more than 5,800 stores in North America to date. The rebranding in Europe is now complete.

2

Altria Officially Launches IQOS in the U.S. Market

Five months after the Food and Drug Administration gave IQOS the greenlight in the United States, Altria Group Inc. introduced the heat-not-burn product to the market. The unveiling took place in Atlanta in early October.

3 4

Juul Labs CEO Steps Down Kevin Burns stepped down on Sept. 25, handing the reins to K.C. Crosthwaite, effective immediately. Crosthwaite most recently served as chief strategy and growth officer at Altria Group.

The Hartley Co. Exits C-store Industry With Sale of Starfire Stores

The Hartley Co. closed on a deal to sell its convenience store and gas station assets to Campbell Oil Co. & BellStores Inc. Cambridge-based Hartley operated 16 Starfire locations, and distributed wholesale fuels to 15 company-owned and dealer-operated locations.

5

J. Polep Distribution Services Acquired by Private Equity Firm

Palm Beach Capital’s investment creates the fifth largest c-store distributor in the United States. J. Polep has been in the distribution business for more than 120 years.

EXPERT VIEWPOINT: High-Octane Changes to the Gas Station Customer Experience

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Scenes From the 2019 Top Women in Convenience Awards Gala More than 300 members of the convenience store industry joined in the celebration of Convenience Store News’ 2019 Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards gala, which honored 42 of the c-store industry’s top female leaders, mentors and up-and-comers. The 2019 TWIC honorees included five Women of the Year, 17 Senior-Level Leaders, 15 Rising Stars and five Mentors. Download and share your favorite moments from this year’s prestigious event. For more exclusive stories, visit the Special Features section of csnews.com.

MOST VIEWED NEW PRODUCT

Swisher Sweets Purple Swish Swisher Sweets Purple Swish is a new Special Blend cigarillo from the brand that delivers a flavorful combination of the subtle sweetness of raspberry with the classic punch of grape. Available in a resealable two-count pouch with the “Sealed Fresh” guarantee, Swisher Sweets Purple Swish cigarillos are ready for shipment to stores nationwide. Available for a limited time, the product is being offered in “2 for 99¢”, “Save on 2” and “2 for $1.49” options. It is also available in a “2 for $1.29” option for select markets. Swisher International Jacksonville, Fla. swishersweets.com

Gas prices aren’t the only thing in flux in the fuel retailing industry. The next generation of technologies is driving digital transformation across the marketplace, writes Dave Conroy, senior vice president of Petro Solutions at Fiserv Inc. Digital transformation efforts in this space have largely focused on improving the speed and convenience of the customer experience but, more recently, the industry has begun to look at how digital technologies can help drive more business into stores. There is no doubt disruption is already underway in the industry. How fuel retailers respond to the changes and new opportunities will be crucial in the months and years ahead.

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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Yesway Inks Its Largest Acquisition Deal The convenience store retailer is adding the Allsup’s chain to its portfolio By Melissa Kress a series of smaller acquisitions over the past four years, Yesway is preparing for its largest integration to date with the Allsup’s brand.

AFTER COMPLETING

On Oct. 8, Yesway reached a definitive agreement to purchase Clovis, N.M.based Allsup’s Convenience Stores and its portfolio of 304 stores in New Mexico, West Texas and Oklahoma. “They are an incredibly well-run c-store chain,” Yesway Chairman and CEO Thomas Nicholas Trkla told Convenience Store News at the time of the announcement. Yesway entered the U.S. convenience channel in late 2015 with the intention of expanding its business. It reached approximately 150 stores by mid-2019. During its M&A journey, the company began talking with Mark Allsup, president of the Allsup’s chain, and the Allsup’s family after founder Lonnie Allsup passed away in January 2018. Together with his wife Barbara, Lonnie Allsup opened the family’s first location in Roswell, N.M., in 1956. The company remained a private, family-owned business throughout its six-decade history. “We are very excited to have selected Yesway as the acquirer of our company and the future custodian of our brand and legacy,” said Mark Allsup. “We chose Yesway as a partner because

their values are truly aligned with ours. They share our commitment to support the local communities we serve, our unwavering pledge to our customers to provide them with a terrific shopping experience, and our dedication to the success and well-being of our employees.” Once the deal is finalized, the Allsup’s brand will not be disappearing from the convenience store landscape. “We are going to keep the Allsup’s banner,” Trkla explained. “This is a 63-year iconic chain with very good brand equity and very good brand awareness in the marketplace.” Yesway, which is operated by BW Gas & Convenience, an affiliate of Beverly, Mass.-based Brookwood Financial Partners, has hired post-merger integration and branding experts to assist in the integration process. “We are keeping the Allsup’s name where Allsup’s stores exist and are looking at possibly rebranding some existing Yesway stores to Allsup’s stores — certainly in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma,” Trkla shared. The integration process will be “slow and deliberate,” according to the chief executive. Part of the integration process will be looking at the best practices each chain brings to the table. “Over the past three and a half years, we spent a great deal of time and money growing our portfolio and building out our systems, including state-of-the-art technologies. Allsup’s has a destination foodservice operation with a very loyal following, which we intend to expand into our Yesway stores, and we believe that we can implement many of the programs and systems we have created into the existing Allsup’s stores,” Trkla explained. “There are tremendous synergies between the two organizations. It is also a great fit geographically.”

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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

FAST FACTS

86

%

of consumers aged 18-34 say they would be likely to order menu items that they can customize, and 83 percent say they are willing to wait for a customized sandwich instead of buying a packaged one. — Y-Pulse

6-11 a.m.

Two-thirds of c-store retailers say the morning daypart (approximately 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.) is the most important daypart for merchandise sales, and 50 percent say it’s the most important time for fuel sales. — NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey

20

%

Approximately 20 percent of shoppers will enter the confectionery aisle and browse it, but only 17 percent of them end up making a purchase. — Mars Wrigley U.S.

CrossAmerica Partners Exits Retail Operations With the closing of a deal with Applegreen, the company turns its focus to wholesale began a new chapter as it turned its focus solely to wholesale operations in early October. The move came as the Allentown, Pa.-based company closed on an agreement with Applegreen plc to turn over operations of 46 company-operated retail stores in the Upper Midwest.

CROSSAMERICA PARTNERS LP

“This is a significant milestone to simplify our business focusing on our strengths, and expanding our collaboration with a world-class convenience retail operator to continue to deliver value to our customers and unitholders,” said Gerardo Valencia, CEO and president of CrossAmerica. CrossAmerica and Applegreen reached the deal for the Upper Midwest stores in June. CrossAmerica retains the sites, and entered into master fuel supply and master lease contracts with Applegreen. This followed a previous agreement with Dublin, Ireland-based Applegreen to operate 43 locations in Florida. Prior to that deal, Applegreen operated 20-plus sites for CrossAmerica in the Northeast. During CrossAmerica’s second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 6, Valencia expressed confidence in the company’s future goals and preparation to exit direct retail operations. “We are very excited to expand our relationship with [Applegreen],” Valencia said during the call. “They are a very strong operator and we expect to finish the year with over 100 sites by the end of 2019.” Allentown-based CrossAmerica is a distributor of branded and unbranded petroleum for motor vehicles in the United States. It distributes fuel to approximately 1,300 locations, and owns or leases more than 1,000 sites, with a geographic footprint covering 34 states.

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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Eye on Growth

Wawa Inc. intends to open 40 convenience stores in northern Virginia over the next 15 years. The company’s plans call for two to three new store openings per year, at a reported investment of $240 million.

Wawa recently celebrated the opening of its 200th Florida store.

Campbell Oil Co. & BellStores Inc. acquired the retail and fuel assets of The Hartley Co. Campbell Oil will convert the 16 Starfire stores included in the deal to its BellStores brand. EG Group completed its acquisition of Cumberland Farms. The purchase brings EG Group’s U.S. network to 1,680 c-stores and gas stations across 31 states.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores reached a milestone with the recent opening of a travel stop in Edon, Ohio, on Oct. 10. The Edon store is Love’s 500th location. Atlantis Management Group LLC acquired Americana Petroleum Corp. and Major Fuel Carriers Corp. The deal includes convenience stores, gas stations and a wholesale fuels business. All of the assets are in Suffolk County, N.Y.

GPM Investments LLC is acquiring Riiser Fuels and its portfolio of 63 convenience stores and gas stations in Wisconsin. The transaction is on track to close in the fourth quarter.

People on the Move

Veteran c-store industry executive Rich Mione is retiring from GPM Investments LLC at the end of the year. The senior director of marketing began his 46-year career at Open Pantry Food Marts in Michigan. He joined GPM in 2013 when the company acquired the Southeast division of VPS Convenience. GPM Investments promoted Ruth Ann Lilly to vice president of marketing and merchandising. She will lead the category management function for all categories in the store with the exception of foodservice, fresh food, fountain drinks and coffee.

Parker’s celebrated the grand opening of two Parker’s Kitchen convenience stores in South Carolina — one in Moncks Corner and the other in Summerville. They are the company’s 59th and 60th stores, respectively. Clifford Fuel Co. Inc. purchased Reilly’s Dairy convenience store and car wash located in Sauquoit, N.Y. The store was rebranded to a Cliff’s Local Market.

Kum & Go LC appointed Reed Rainey as chief operating officer. The retailer also appointed Jeff Shamburger as vice president of foodservice.

Brennan’s experience includes 11 years with 7-Eleven Inc. in leadership roles in merchandising, category management, store development and operations.

Casey’s General Stores Inc. named Tom Brennan as chief merchandising officer. He will lead the chain’s overall merchandising and prepared foods strategy.

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INDUSTRY ROUNDUP

Retailer Tidbits

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Circle K chain plans to roll out the GetUpside platform at more than 4,000 locations in the United States. The technology solution provides personalized consumer offers.

Kum & Go LC reached a three-year Kum & Go also has committed to increasing the number of commitment with Partnership for a locations that participate in its Healthier America. The retailer will food rescue program. offer special price promotions on healthier items and include healthier options in its &Rewards loyalty program. Casey’s General Stores Inc. is launching Service Management Group’s customer experience management solution. This will allow the retailer to capture location-level feedback at the point-of-sale. Rutter’s is adding plant-based items to its menu. It will be the first c-store chain to offer products from JUST and Dr. Praeger’s with the launch of plant-based egg patties and burgers, respectively. Raymer Oil Co. teamed with NCR Corp. to introduce self-checkout at its Fast Phil’s stores. NCR Fastlane software will roll out to 46 Fast Phil’s locations.

Sheetz Inc. is creating a technology and innovation hub in Pittsburgh. The facility will focus on developing, testing and implementing transformative products and services.

Supplier Tidbits

Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc. ended merger talks, deciding against joining forces. The two tobacco leaders will continue to focus on jointly commercializing IQOS in the United States.

Juul Labs suspended the sale of its non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors in the United States, pending Food and Drug Administration review. Mango, Creme, Fruit and Cucumber flavors have been available online only since November 2018. Palm Beach Capital Fund III LP invested in Consumer Products Distributors LLC,

The Toot’n Totum chain entered into a partnership with Xcel Energy that will reduce its lighting expenses. Select Toot’n Totum stores in the Amarillo and Texas Panhandle area now feature LED lighting.

which does business as J. Polep Distribution Services and Rachael’s Food LLC, collectively known as J. Polep. Coupled with its previous investment in Harold Levinson Associates, the move creates the fifth largest c-store distributor in the United States.

Medterra CBD will serve as the exclusive CBD brand of Convenience Valet. Medterra is one of the first 13 companies to receive the U.S. Hemp Authority’s Certification Seal. The Kellogg Co. won a 2019 Shopper Marketing Effie Award in the Multi-Retailer Program (Silver) category. The supplier received the global recognition for its Pop-Tarts convenience and mass merchant promotion.

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Your competitors are selling 100+ units of 5-hour ENERGY shots per week. How do they do it? ®

with a whopping 50% gross profit, generating $1.58 to $1.64 per bottle. That’s the kind of gross profit you need more of.

Here's how... These are the best practices of the most successful 5-hour ENERGY shot retailers:

Top 5-hour ENERGY shot retailers sell an average of 127 units per week. That’s around $11,000 per year in gross profit just from 5-hour ENERGY shot sales. ®

®

1. Multiple locations in-store. One 15-box rack at each register plus at least one secondary location such as an endcap, a floor display, or next to the coffee station. These retailers have learned that if the consumer sees 5-hour ENERGY they buy it. It is one product which sells well from all four locations in your store. ®

2. Keep displays full and clean looking. Out of stocks on any flavor have a huge negative impact on sales. 3. Clearly advertised pricing and multi-unit discounts.

®

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NEW PRODUCTS

3

3

4

1

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1. Rich’s Maple Waffle Flatbread

2. Milky Way Salted Caramel

3. Jack Link’s Wild Heat

4. Celsius Grapefruit Melon Green Tea

Rich’s Maple Waffle Flatbread is made with all-natural maple chips and maple flavor for a delicious and healthy twist on breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner. Using this whole grain flatbread, convenience stores can create a platform of sandwiches featuring a variety of fillings and flavors — from the traditional chicken and waffles combo, to a breakfast sausage sandwich, to bold offerings like a Cajun chicken waffle sandwich, Buffalo chicken waffle sandwich, or maple barbecue street taco. Each 1.1-ounce flatbread contains 1 gram of fiber. The thawand-serve product arrives 192 per case and has a frozen shelf life of 180 days. Rich’s Foodservice Buffalo, N.Y. richsfoodservice.com

Milky Way Salted Caramel is a sweet-and-salty twist on the classic Milky Way bar. It showcases rich milk chocolate, creamy caramel and smooth nougat with the addition of crunchy salt, taking consumers to a whole new galaxy of flavor, according to the maker. The new product will hit shelves in January 2020 and be available in multiple sizes: single (1.56 ounces), share size (3.16 ounces) and fun size six-packs (3.38 ounces). Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. Hackettstown, N.J. mars.com/made-by-mars/ mars-wrigley

Jack Link’s Wild Heat beef jerky delivers the perfect balance between complexity of flavor and heat, according to the company. The new product marks the hottest flavor in Jack Link’s portfolio and is designed to capitalize on the substantial growth of hot flavored meat snacks. Jack Link’s Wild Heat offers retailers the opportunity to engage consumers who are partial to adventurous ingredients. The new variety will be available in January 2020. Jack Link’s Minong, Wis. jacklinks.com

Grapefruit Melon Green Tea is the newest non-carbonated variety from global fitness drink brand Celsius. The fruit-forward flavor debuted at the 2019 NACS Show. Grapefruit Melon Green Tea capitalizes on consumer shifts toward healthier, better-foryou, functional energy. The new variety meets consumer demand for healthier energy drinks that offer vitamins without the sugar and calories found in traditional energy drinks, the company noted. Celsius Inc. Boca Raton, Fla. celsius.com

5. GetUpside C-Store Product GetUpside officially launched its new c-store product at NACS Show 2019. Using personalized offers delivered through the GetUpside mobile app, the solution incentivizes new customers 5 to visit gas stations on the platform, and incentivizes existing customers to visit more often. Once a customer is at the pump, the app sends real-time notifications to capitalize on moments to bring him or her into the store, where GetUpside’s machine learning platform recommends bundles to further increase basket size. The platform uses anonymized card information to help retailers personalize each customer’s experience. Upside Services Inc. Washington, D.C. getupside.com 18 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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6. Van’s Kitchen New & Improved Roller Grill Egg Rolls

7. Digital Media 8. Old Trapper Marketing Cooler Quarter-Pound Door Display Handle Big Bag

9. FUNacho Chili/ Cheese Sauce Dispenser

Van’s Kitchen introduces new and improved Roller Grill Egg Rolls that utilize a new proprietary process that enables the egg rolls to continuously move on a roller grill, heating them evenly to maintain a crisp texture. All of the brand’s egg rolls are crafted in artisan batches using only fresh, whole ingredients. They make an ideal mini-meal or quick snack, the company noted. The new and improved Roller Grill Egg Rolls are available in Chicken, Pork, and Southwest Chicken varieties. Van’s Kitchen Dallas vanskitchen.com

Whether installed on inline cooler glass doors or standalone refrigeration units, the IoT-powered Digital Media Marketing Cooler Door Display Handle from CSE Products Inc. presents retail stores and refrigerated product manufacturers with opportunities to design and display powerful ad campaigns to effectively promote products and influence consumer buying decisions. The handle is a digital media marketing device that provides space for revenue-generating point-of-sale. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ready for network configuration and media download. Additional enhancement options include touchscreen capability, data acquisition, camera and video. CSE Products Inc. Norton Shores, Mich. cse-pd.com/handles

FUNacho, a global supplier of concession food dispensers and products including cheese, chili and condiments, introduces its new patented chili/ cheese sauce dispenser. The dual-head, gravityfed dispenser utilizes bottle-type cartridges for product containment and produces superior extraction rates compared to bag-type dispensers, according to the company. Food products contained in FUNacho cartridges are shelf-stable with zero pathogenic concerns. The dispenser holds a total of 300 ounces of product in a 10-inch-wide footprint. FUNacho Hebron, Ky. (800) 386-2246 funacho.com

Old Trapper debuted a new “Big Bag” version of its popular beef jerky at the 2019 NACS Show. Weighing in at a quarter-pound, the Big Bag features clearview packaging that lets consumers see exactly how much more beef jerky they are getting for their money. Old Trapper offers naturally smoked meat snacks using only the best lean strips of beef, the highest quality seasoning ingredients, and real wood-fired smoke, the company noted. Old Trapper Smoked Products Inc. Forest Grove, Ore. oldtrapper.com

10. Peet’s Blended Coffee The new Peet’s Blended Coffee line features four ready-to-drink varieties: Chocolate Truffle, made with real cocoa; Caramel Dulce, an elevated, rich caramel that delivers a dulce de leche profile; Vanilla Créme, a smooth and creamy Madagascar vanilla; and Coffee & Cream. Each variety is made with 100 percent single-origin Colombian coffee, real cream and real sugar. The beverages come in 13.7-ounce glass bottles for a suggested retail price of $2.99 to $3.49. Peet’s Coffee Berkeley, Calif. (800) 999-2132 10 peets.com 20 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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SMALL OPERATOR

Finding Success With Your Supplier Partners The most robust partnerships are founded on two-way communication and shared commitments By Renée M. Covino SMALL DOESN’T

have to mean small-minded.

It’s no secret that because the convenience store industry’s singlestore owners and small operators are lacking the big marketing and technology departments of the larger chains, they rely heavily on their supplier and wholesaler partners for up-to-date information and insights. So, how can they make the most of these relationships? Here are some big-minded best practices, according to industry experts who recently spoke with Convenience Store News:

Talk the Talk One of the core basics that seems obvious, but isn’t always followed through on, is to talk to your supplier partners on a regular basis and build a good relationship with each supplier representative, said Lynn Swanson, director of sales, mass markets at McLane Co. Inc. Temple, Texas-based McLane is one of the largest supply chain services leaders, providing grocery and

foodservice supply chain solutions to convenience stores, mass merchants, drugstores and chain restaurants throughout the United States. “Have open lines of communication with your supplier partners,” agreed Juli Lassow, founder and principal of JHL Solutions, a retail consultancy in Minneapolis with expertise in partnerships. “They are some of your strongest assets when it comes to having the products and experiences that your customers will love.” Vendors are able to share what they are developing in terms of new products and offerings, and bring unique value for retailers via exclusive offerings or unique sets, according to Carlos Castelán, managing director of The Navio Group, a retail business consulting firm in Minneapolis. These days, consumers are able to increasingly access products conveniently through e-commerce, so identifying unique offerings or services that will bring people into your convenience stores is critical, Castelán said.

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GO WITH WHAT YOUr customers KNOW

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SMALL OPERATOR

By meeting regularly with vendors, retailers can quickly identify partners that seek to work on opportunities together vs. those who simply want to sell more product.

convenience stores can gain an edge on the market by leaning in with their partners.”

Be Transparent Specifically, be open about your growth strategies so that your supplier partners can help you achieve them. “You also want to be sure that your growth strategies align with your suppliers. You need to be confident that you can grow together,” noted Lassow. She also believes it is wise to share challenges in order to find creative solutions together. “Your partners may serve a variety of markets and other clients. They can see different approaches and share their learning with you,” she explained. Transparency also means asking any questions you have about the industry, your consumers, or trends. “You need to be curious and seek out answers to compete in today’s changing retail landscape,” she said. “Your most reliable supplier partners will be interested in helping you find solutions.”

Plan Jointly

“By identifying key vendors that can help elevate the business — particularly during times of change — convenience stores can gain an edge on the market by leaning in with their partners.” — Carlos Castelán, The Navio Group

“Many retailers elevate strategic vendors by conducting joint business planning, as well as providing additional opportunities for vendors to connect with retail leaders through meetings or events,” Castelán told CSNews. “By identifying key vendors that can help elevate the business — particularly during times of change —

Another core strategy is Joint Business Planning (JBP), whereby trended sales and units for all category/brand items are integrated with trends and opportunities into regular sessions, according to Don Stuart, managing partner of Cadent Consulting Group in Wilton, Conn. He also advises small operators to consult with their vendors on retail merchandising — essentially, assessing display merchandising success given placement in the store, and capitalizing on seasonal trends and weather patterns. Category management for a single-store owner or small operator is obviously more difficult than for a large chain operator because they do not have the luxury of having a team of their own to assist. “This is where the supplier relationships are being leveraged today, to assist these operators in sophisticated category management processes that are designed to provide the smaller retailers with information and resources to help them drive sales and profitability from a category perspective,” said Swanson. During joint planning sessions, it’s important to set expectations. The

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SMALL OPERATOR

retailer and vendor should assess: What are your key performance measures? How will you track them? What is the acceptable level of performance? How often will you discuss results, share feedback and, if needed, review action plans? Ultimately, small operators should know that their suppliers share their priorities and values, according to Lassow. “Like with personal relationships, the most robust relationships are founded on shared commitments. Ensure that your vetting and onboarding approach allows for this discussion,” she advised.

Set Up for the Future Looking ahead, small operators should consider that an increase in branded merchandise will facilitate stronger vendor alliances. “In an environment where retailers are continuously shifting to private label, and increasingly demanding more from their vendors, there is an opportunity for convenience stores to forge closer relationships with vendors,” Castelán stated. Technology has to be considered, too. Like the large convenience store chains, the single-store owner or small operator must be able to market to today’s mobile customer, said Swanson. She believes utilizing

technology and developing a loyalty program can set them up for future success by driving more foot traffic into their store(s). Tapping into shopper behavior will also play into the future success of smaller operators, Stuart noted. “Large c-stores have their own shopper card/loyalty databases. Small operators can rely on supplier and wholesaler partners utilizing aggregated shopper card data, panel data, or services such as Numerator to understand purchase patterns over time, affinities, basket ring, annual spending, etc.,” he relayed. Tied into this is an understanding of the shopper path to purchase, addressing the who, what, when, where, why/why not, and how of product purchase behavior, according to Stuart. Shopper segmentation and targeting is part of this as well. As the c-store industry’s single-store owners and small operators will continue to rely on supplier and wholesaler partners for information, it’s critical they make the most of these relationships. “Partners who provide simple, turnkey recommendations — supported by shopper insights and quantitative data — will go far with these operators,” Stuart said. CSN

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COVER STORY

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FOCUSED ON PEOPLE RETAILER EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR BRIAN HANNASCH CITES REJUVENATION OF THE CIRCLE K GLOBAL BRAND AND BRINGING IN NEW TALENT AMONG HIS MOST SATISFYING ACHIEVEMENTS BY DON LONGO

Brian Hannasch has led the tremendous expansion of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ACT), driving organic growth while executing and integrating multibillion-dollar acquisitions of such companies as The Pantry, Statoil, CST Brands and Holiday Stationstores. Since being named president and CEO of ACT in September 2014, Hannasch has seen the organization become the largest company in Canada in terms of revenue, and one of the largest convenience store groups in the world. EBITDA has grown by an average of 17 percent per year during his tenure. Recently, he’s led a multiyear global rebranding campaign to bring the company’s diverse brands together under one global Circle K banner. This includes most of the company’s 16,000 stores across the world, except those in Quebec, which continue to display the Couche-Tard banner. Accomplishments like these have earned Hannasch the recognition of being the 2019 Convenience Store News Retailer Executive of the Year. In an interview with CSNews, Hannasch made clear that his focus is on ACT’s employees, ensuring they are growing together to fulfill the company’s mission of “Making our customers’ lives a little easier every day.” Couche-Tard, based in Laval, Quebec, is the leader in the Canadian convenience store industry. In the U.S., it is the largest independent convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores and the second largest in total stores. In Europe, ACT is a leading convenience and fuel retailer in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), as well as in Ireland, and has an important presence in Poland.

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COVER STORY

Read on for our interview with the Retailer Executive of the Year: CSNEWS: When

did you start working in the convenience store industry? HANNASCH: When I was 16, I started working in a local convenience store in Iowa after school and on weekends. Back then, it was pumping full-serve gas, changing tires and selling a very narrow selection of products. I went to college, got a degree in finance and really had no plans in terms of industry. I joined Amoco in a finance role and after about 18 months, found it a bit boring and asked to have a role in retail operations. I left that job when I was asked to move to London — I wanted to stay closer to my family as my dad had just been diagnosed with cancer, and so I walked away without a plan. Luckily, I was not unemployed for long. Dick Johnson, an Indiana businessman whose family owned a small chain of service stations and convenience stores under the name Bigfoot, knew me and asked me to manage the business. Less than a year later, Bigfoot was bought by Alimentation Couche-Tard. As they say, the rest is history.

Couche-Tard operates the largest number of independent company-operated c-stores in the U.S.

CSNEWS: What

subsequent positions have you held and what other companies have you worked for? HANNASCH: Only three companies, starting with Amoco, which merged with BP. At BP, I had a number of positions in operations, pricing, and strategy groups. I was at Bigfoot for less than a year when it was purchased by Couche-Tard. We started our U.S. journey with 165 or so stores. I was responsible for this business and within a year, we purchased Dairy Mart and had over 500 stores in what we still call the Midwest Business Unit. From there, I became vice president of integration when we purchased Circle K in 2003, and from 2004 to 2008 was senior vice president, western North America. Following that, I became senior vice president of U.S. operations from 2008 to 2010, and then chief operating officer before being appointed president and CEO five years ago. CSNEWS: What

attracted you to working in the c-store industry? HANNASCH: As I said, I kind of fell into it at Bigfoot, but once part of the industry, I came to love it. The c-store industry is closer to its customers than any other retailers and, as I often say, if you don’t like being with customers, you shouldn’t work in c-stores. It is also important to me that along with selling fuel and snacks, we sell time to our customers. Our mission is rather humble — to make our customer’s lives a little easier every day — and that humbleness and pride is what attracted me to the work and has

Hannasch has led a multiyear campaign to bring the company’s diverse brands together under one new global Circle K banner. 30 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

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CONGRATULATIONS

BRIAN HANNASCH President and CEO, Alimentation Couche-Tard

FOR BECOMING

CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS’

RETAILER EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR THANK YOU FOR BEING A GAME CHANGER

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Making new employees feel welcome and that they are a part of the company’s shared culture is a priority for Hannasch.

kept me engaged now for nearly two decades. I am also attracted to the immense growth possibilities for people in our industry.There are a lot of people like me in our industry who started in stores and had a lot of both personal and professional growth opportunities — from a small farm community in Iowa to leading a business in 27 countries with 16,000 stores. This company, which started 40 years ago with a single store in Quebec, is now a Fortune 200 global company. Who would not be attracted to that growth? CSNEWS: What

has been the most personally satisfying achievement of your career? HANNASCH: I never dreamed that we’d have a company like this. I grew up modestly in an Iowa farming community, was the first in my family to go to college, where I paid my way by working in the cafeteria. Leading a multinational company in Quebec was far from my mind.

most satisfying achievements. But even more so is the success we have had bringing so many new and talented people from many different companies into the Couche-Tard family and making them feel welcome, a part of the company, and a part of our shared culture. CSNEWS: Your

previous positions at ACT have been in operations. What is it about operations that gets you excited? HANNASCH: Operations is the heart and soul of our company and of our industry. It’s where we meet our customers each and every day. Early in my career, I was more than excited to get out in the field. I’m not an office guy. Even now in my current role, I spend very little time in my office. Our leadership team spends a big part of the year visiting all parts of the network on “Pride Tours,” meeting our great store managers and associates, seeing our store and fuel court layouts, spending time with our customers, and learning best practices from around the globe to share with other regions.

Being a part of the ACT story has been thrilling! In particular, rejuvenating and growing the global brand Circle K has been one of my The CEO celebrated the achievements of ACT’s Top Women in Convenience honorees at last month’s awards gala.

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THE BAR JUST GOT HIGHER CONGRATULATIONS! to the Convenience Store News Retail Executive of the Year

Brian Hannasch

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As the business grows, I am focusing more on strategic issues and leading our global functions, but I will always keep close to operations as it is vital to the business and to my leadership of it. CSNEWS: What

are the key growth initiatives for ACT in the coming year? HANNASCH: In fiscal 2019, we publicly stated our goal to double the financial performance of the company within five years. In a nutshell, we want to double the company profitably through both organic growth and network expansion. We have done it several times in the past, but this time around, our goal is to put even more emphasis on organic growth. As per our strategic plan, more than 50 percent of our growth should be organic. We have based our strategic plan on a thorough understanding of our existing customer needs, and on educated views of our future needs and of current and future market dynamics. While we can never be certain of the future, we have created a diversified portfolio of actions that we believe will serve us well in this rapidly changing retail environment. CSNEWS: What

is the most significant change you’ve seen occur in the industry during your career? HANNASCH: No doubt, advances in digital and the ability of technologies to make information available, remove friction from so many facets of life, and consequently disrupt many longstanding business models. The very definition of convenience is literally being redefined almost daily. The mass adoption of smartphones, social media, gaming, etc., has fundamentally changed the way we live, the way we work, the way we play, and has created multi-industry disruption at an incredible pace. The pace of change has never been faster and the impact technology is having on driving business performance has never been greater. It will only deepen with artificial intelligence, robotics and mobility, and while this is exciting, it means we can never rest — as we grow, we must simplify, standardize and, at the same time, innovate and take risks. CSNEWS: Were

there any leaders or role models who particularly helped you during your career? HANNASCH: I have been fortunate to work with a lot of great people over the last

Hannasch’s goal is to double the company’s financial performance within five years through organic growth and network expansion.

30 years and would like to think I am a product of all of those people. That said, the founders of ACT have been hugely important to me both personally and professionally. They are each very different and bring different skills and strengths to the partnership. It’s likely they would not have been successful without each other and they recognized that. They worked together with tremendous respect for each other, listened to each other and made sure they were all aligned before moving forward. Forty years later, they are still partners and friends. That speaks volumes, and I would like to think it has helped shape me from someone who focused a lot of time on trying to be right to someone focused on building teams, nurturing culture and giving people space to be their best. CSNEWS: Looking

ahead, what changes do you foresee happening in the c-store industry? HANNASCH: We sell time and I believe time will continue to increase in value. I also believe great customer service and clean bathrooms will always be important. We need to continue to embrace the rapidly changing digital world, as well as the generational changes in snacking patterns and mobility. As a result, we need to keep innovating solutions and developing the convenience and mobility offer of the future — whether it’s for food, coffee, snacks, car wash, fuel, charging or frictionless payments. At the same time, we need to always focus on the fundamentals. CSNEWS: Personally,

looking ahead, what is the most important change you’d like to see at either ACT or in the c-store industry in general? HANNASCH: What I want most is for the c-store industry to stay relevant in our customers’ lives. We have a unique product that gives our customers back time in their day by being able to fuel up quickly and satisfy their drinking and snacking urges. We need to stay true to our place in the market while, at the same time, recognizing how advances in technology and mobility can make us even better at what we do, both for our employees and our customers. And, most of all, we need to stay authentic to our culture — at all times, humble, customer-centric and ambitious to grow the brand as we become the world’s preferred destination for convenience and fuel. CSN

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Top 4 Vaping Myths: SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION IN THE VAPING INDUSTRY Vaping is a hot news topic right now, so it’s crucial to uncover the most damaging vapor myths in the headlines. Vapor continues to be a rapidly evolving industry. But make no mistake — education is key to category success.

1 2

MYTH: The federal government plans to ban e-liquid flavors from the U.S. market.

MYTH: Removing e-liquid flavors from the market would not significantly impact current adult e-cigarette users and smokers.

3

MYTH: Recent lung injury patients have all reported that they used nicotine-containing vapor products.

4

MYTH: E-liquid flavors are the leading reason for e-cigarette usage among young people.

VS

FACT: The FDA states that it plans to temporarily withdraw e-liquid flavors from the market by stopping its enforcement discretion, until individual flavors obtain marketing orders via the PMTA process.1

VS

FACT: A 2019 survey of adult vapor consumers found that most respondents “strongly oppose” banning flavors in all nicotine vapor products. Nearly all respondents also believe that the government over-regulating nicotine products is taking away an adult consumer’s choice to use an important alternative to cigarettes.2

VS

FACT: According to the CDC, the vast majority of lung illness patients indicated they used THC products. Most cases of lung injury are also linked to THC products that were obtained off the street or from other informal sources.3

VS

FACT: In the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, out of all student respondents, more cited “friend or family member used” e-cigarettes as a reason for personal use compared to the availability of flavors “such as mint, candy.”4

Learn more at EAlternativeSolutions.com SOURCES: 1 U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce (https://energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearingon-sounding-the-alarm-the-public-health-threats-of-e-cigarettes) 2 McLaughlin & Associates (https://vaportechnology.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ MEMO-Battleground-Vapor-Consumers-10-25-19.pdf) 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html) 4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/surveys/nyts/data/index.html) ©2019 EAS

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FEATURE

RISING STARS Fifteen accomplished young professionals are honored as Future Leaders in Convenience By Tammy Mastroberte

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LEADERSHIP IS NOT DICTATED BY AGE. While experience certainly has its advantages in the workplace, so does a fresh and youthful perspective — especially in the U.S. convenience channel where retailers are working to attract the next generation of shoppers. This year’s second-annual Convenience Store News Future Leaders in Convenience (FLIC) awards program honors a diverse group of 15 up-and-comers, as well young seasoned executives, from both large and medium-sized convenience channel retailers, who are making their mark on the c-store industry at an early age. They were chosen based on nominations from their peers that illustrated their accomplishments and achievements over the past 12 months. While their job responsibilities run the gamut — from a company president; to category managers; to financial managers; to fuels, marketing and human resources directors — these young convenience retail leaders (aged 35 and under) are all showing they already possess the traits of great leaders and are poised to be at the forefront of the industry’s future. The 15 honorees will be celebrated at the second-annual CSNews Future Leaders in Convenience Summit, being held Nov. 6 in downtown Chicago. Sponsored by RAI Trade Marketing Services Co., the FLIC Summit precedes CSNews’ 2019 Hall of Fame dinner, and is both an awards and educational event, providing a forum for talented young professionals to hone their leadership skills. Read on for profiles of this year’s Future Leaders in Convenience.

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FEATURE

Jeff Bush PRESIDENT Parker’s

In 2012, Greg Parker, founder of the Savannah, Ga.-based Parker’s convenience store chain, handpicked Jeff Bush from an economics class at the Armstrong Campus of Georgia Southern University to join the retailer as director of fuel management. He did this because he was “so impressed with his thoughtful engagement and smart questions” during a guest lecture there. After joining the company, it wasn’t long before Bush, a Presidential Scholar and cum laude graduate, received a promotion to director of operations and chief operating officer. In January 2019, he was promoted again to his current role of president. Throughout his six years with Parker’s, Bush has led the company’s District Manager Development Program, spearheaded community outreach efforts, expanded Parker’s store network into strategic markets throughout Georgia and South Carolina, and enabled the company to reach new levels of success under his leadership, Parker noted in his nomination. Bush’s daily responsibilities include overseeing the operations of Parker’s 58 stores, including personnel, fuel, pricing, supply, loyalty programs and logistics. He also

oversees the Fueling the Community charitable initiative, which donates a portion of the profit of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of the month to schools in the communities where the company operates. In fact, Bush regularly presents checks to school boards and community leaders, and has helped the company donate more than $100,000 during the 2018-2019 school year. He also recently launched Parker’s new DailyPay technology, designed to support the financial wellness of the company’s team members and to increase employee retention. Prior to joining Parker’s, Bush served the U.S. Army as a Forward Observer at age 19, and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. The Army’s Green to Gold program selected him to become an officer after only three years of service and during his tenure, he earned the Combat Action Badge, Iraqi Campaign Medal, and 14 other awards and medals. Additionally, he was selected as the Fort Stewart NonCommissioned Officer of the Year and received the Maj. Gen. Aubrey Newman Award for Leadership Excellence.

Bush has expanded Parker's store network into strategic markets throughout Georgia and South Carolina, and enabled the company to reach new levels of success under his leadership.

Kala Capolunghi HUMAN RESOURCES & PAYROLL SPECIALIST QuickChek Corp. Kala Capolunghi’s career at QuickChek started with a part-time job while attending Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. She was working toward a degree in biology, but realized her passion was in psychology. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, along with a minor in health and wellness, and certification in child and adolescent welfare. Although she accepted a full-time job as a direct support professional for a group home, she continued to work part-time at QuickChek. “I quickly realized how much I loved QuickChek and the team I worked with, so I decided to leave my full-time job to start working full-time at QuickChek,” she recalled. Capolunghi started training as a shift leader and then, an

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opportunity at the chain’s Support Center became available. In 2016, she started an internship as part of the customer service team, and then another internship in the human resources department. A few months later, she became a permanent human resources associate. Since then, she has continued to take on more responsibility and eventually became a human resources senior associate. Today, she is the human resources and payroll support specialist, and was even named Support Center Team Member of the Year in 2018. Her primary responsibilities in her current role include processing corporate payroll monthly and managing multiple areas of the payroll process. She also maintains, manages and audits I-9s; coordinates and administers leader development assessment processes; and assists with the processing of team member name badges. In addition to these duties, Capolunghi assists in the training department to administer and track ServSafe program certifications, and help prepare other training classes. Outside of her full-time job at QuickChek, Capolunghi works part-time at ShopRite, and enjoys participating in long-distance running and marathons.

David Cole

CATEGORY MANAGER, FRESH FOOD & GENERAL MERCHANDISE Plaid Pantry Inc. Plaid Pantry CEO Jonathan Polonsky first heard about David Cole from his daughter, who met him through mutual college friends. Cole graduated with honors in economics from the University of Oregon and, at the time, was working at Colombia Distributing as a beer buyer and logistics coordinator. He showed interest in Plaid Pantry and once the c-store chain had an opening for a category manager, Polonsky’s daughter reached out to Cole. He started with the company as a general merchandise and fresh food category manager in July 2017. Coming from beverage distribution, the retail side of the industry was new to Cole, but he worked with other category managers and the chain’s operations team to learn

Cole has analyzed Plaid Pantry's general merchandise sets, eliminating dozens of underperforming items and replacing them with more relevant ones. about the opportunities in his categories. After several months of talking to customers and trusted vendors, he identified the opportunity of expanding the grab-and-go offering in the chain’s 108 stores. Specifically, he identified the need for an additional 4-foot reach-in deli case, and lobbied to have them placed in all stores to allow for a better mix of products. Several months after his proposal, Plaid Pantry installed an additional cooler in 70 of its 108 locations, with the cornerstone of the new product mix being a new sandwich offering. Cole also worked directly with the vendor to redesign how the sandwiches would be packaged, and upgraded all the ingredients — from the bread to the condiments. As a result, the chain increased the price of the sandwiches and saw a 22 percent increase in sandwich gross margin dollars. “Portlanders love their city and the localness of their food offerings. I keep this concept top of mind as I curate our packaged food assortments, and work with local companies as often as I can to bring their products into our stores,” Cole told CSNews. “We’ve seen great success in this venture with partners such as PDX Sandwiches, which represent our flagship sandwich line, as well as our PDX Muffin Tops, created by a locally treasured French bakery, Marsee Baking. Through these efforts, we’ve seen a healthy 10 percent sales growth in our fresh food category.” During his tenure, Cole also has analyzed Plaid Pantry’s general merchandise sets, eliminating dozens of underperforming items and replacing them with more relevant ones, which has produced double-digit growth. He continues, through trial and error, to add additional enhancements to this category, and is optimistic he will grow it even more in the future.

Drew Dickerson

CATEGORY MANAGER, DISPENSED BEVERAGE & ROLLER GRILL OnCue Marketing LLC While attending Oklahoma State University in 2005 to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Drew Dickerson started his convenience store career at OnCue Marketing, based in Stillwater, Okla., and operating 60 stores. Because of his strong work ethic, he was quickly promoted to general manager of a high-volume store.

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However, he left the company, and the c-store market, to pursue sales and account management positions in other industries, while also earning his MBA from Oklahoma Christian University. After nearly 10 years away, he returned to OnCue Marketing as a merchandising assistant and the third member of the company’s merchandising team. While gaining experience, he became a certified convenience category manager through industry trade association NACS, and was promoted to category manager of dispensed beverage and roller grill in 2017. He has helped to open more than one-quarter of the stores in the chain, and works closely with retail operations, marketing, pricebook and vendors on a product mix that delivers profit. Dickerson is always evolving OnCue’s beverage and food offer to accommodate changing consumer trends and improve current practices, and looks beyond each store’s demographics to their purchase patterns to tailor the offer to each store. Additionally, he has gone above and beyond to improve the company’s roller grill and beverage practices, which has increased margins and decreased waste. He also provides category recommendations to support merchandising projects and planogram development in other categories throughout the chain. And when developing the chain’s offer for his catego-

ries, he partners with the creative team to ensure the right presentation not only for his categories, but also for the overall customer experience, according to his peers. Being active within every store, and listening to customers and employees to get their feedback, is just as important to Dickerson as reviewing data, spreadsheets and sales numbers. He often speaks at high schools to share his marketing experience and inspire the next generation.

Mike Gallagher

SENIOR PLATFORM MANAGER, PROPRIETARY BEVERAGES 7-Eleven Inc. After working in various positions within the wireless industry, Mike Gallagher joined the convenience store industry as a corporate store manager for 7-Eleven in Chicago. He gained an understanding of the day-to-day operations and obstacles that 7-Eleven franchisees face and, a year and a half later, was promoted to field consultant and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. In this position, he consulted with various franchisees to help them improve operations and maximize profitability, and oversaw the zone’s community relations on a volunteer basis. “During this time, I spent a considerable amount of time with schools, police and fire departments, and other public organizations across the Bay Area to improve community relations for 7-Eleven and the convenience store industry as a whole,” Gallagher recalled. He was recognized with a public service award from the Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Activity League for contributions toward its boxing and soccer programs, and was also awarded a Medal of Commendation by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern for public service. Gallagher also earned several awards from 7-Eleven, including the 2018 Merchandising and Marketing Demand Chain Leadership Award, the 2018 Heart Walk Team Captain Award, the 2016 Coin of Excellence Award, and the 2015 Field Consultant of the Year Award. 7-Eleven promoted Gallagher again in 2018; he relocated to the chain’s headquarters in Irving, Texas, to work in merchandising on the Alternative Retail Formats Team where he helped expand the company’s presence outside the physical stores. He also established an Office Coffee program, helping expand the chain’s reach and improve the consumer perception of 7-Eleven coffee. Gallagher’s most recent promotion occurred this past March, when he took on leading the company’s cold and frozen proprietary beverage strategy. He is responsible for expanding the programs and enhancing the customer experience, including the refresh of the Slurpee brand and image for 7/11 Day. He is in charge of both strategic and

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financial oversight nationally for fountain beverages, Slurpee, iced coffee and iced tea, and all cold beverage assortment decisions go through him. Today, Gallagher is focused on developing and implementing strategic merchandising initiatives, such as roles and intents of the cold and frozen proprietary beverage categories, segmentation, and vendor and product specific strategies. He not only manages and communicates the sales plan and promotional strategy, but also ensures marketing and signage is developed to support the vision of the category.

Brett Hughes

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & REAL ESTATE Mirabito Holdings Inc. As director of business development and real estate for Mirabito, a convenience store chain based in Binghamton, N.Y., Brett Hughes is responsible for the strategic leadership of land assets and real estate projects to assist in the continued profitable growth of the company, which currently owns and operates 108 locations throughout central New York. In his current position, he oversees all aspects of new site development, including permitting and approvals, and works closely with attorneys and engineers on site development. Reporting directly to Mirabito’s president and CEO, Hughes regularly attends and presents in front of town planning and zoning boards to seek approvals, and manages a pipeline of deals while maintaining broker and owner relationships across New York. He came to Mirabito with previous real estate experience. For 12 years, he worked for commercial real estate developers, brokerages and market research providers, and was named one of the “10 Under 40” real estate professionals by CSA Magazine in 2015. He also previously worked as director of real estate and IT for Fastrac Markets in Syracuse, N.Y. His professional expertise includes real estate development, asset and property management, brokerage, leasing and operations, financial planning, capital investment budgeting and pricing, strategic

planning, business development and market analysis, and recruiting, training and management of employees and subcontractors. Hughes is also well-versed in acquiring commercial property through fee-simple, ground lease and retail space for lease. Hughes is active in several professional groups, including being a candidate member of the CCIM Institute; a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers; and a member of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

"Melissa is a true rising star on the global marketing team. I have been deeply impressed with her collaborative work ethic, creativity, and knowledge of the brand and the value it brings to our customers." — Kevin Lewis, Circle K

Melissa Lessard

NATIONAL MARKETING DIRECTOR, CANADA Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K Melissa Lessard went straight from college into the retail industry, working for Anheuser-Busch InBev as a management trainee, and then spending four years navigating multiple departments within the organization before joining the convenience store industry in 2011, accepting a job at Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Over the years, she has held a number of positions in the company, including merchandising director, and director of operations and supply chain, where she oversaw the retail operations of 100 stores in Laval, while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Quebec Distribution Center — both the warehouse facility and transportation. Prior to her current role, she spent six years in the marketing department, where she delivered sales and margins on all categories and in 2016, became part of the special internal project team tasked with the global rebranding of Circle K. “As leaders, we are committed to recognizing and growing our talent from within, so when you come across a young, ambitious employee like Melissa who has great leadership skills, the ability to collaborate with colleagues, and drive results, we want to encourage and honor the innovation and engagement she brings to the company,” said Sophie Provencher, vice president of operations for Quebec West and Lessard’s former supervisor.

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Her recent promotion to national marketing director for the Canada market has her supporting all four of the company’s Canadian business units in building a promotional plan that includes a merchandising proposition and a marketing plan, including media, gamification and digital marketing. She also works directly with vendors to negotiate national promotions. “I’m so thrilled to be part of the global marketing team,” Lessard said. “I get to work with and impact all our Canadian business units on building a marketing and branding strategy that supports our traffic and sales growth strategy.”

Since her promotion, she’s already established the first national promotional calendar, and a highly successful national promotion called “Rock, Paper, Prizes,” which is driving excitement, traffic and engagement with the Circle K brand. “Melissa is a true rising star on the global marketing team,” said Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer for Circle K. “I have been deeply impressed with her collaborative work ethic, creativity, and knowledge of the brand and the value it brings to our customers. Melissa has a unique combination of skill sets — merchandising, marketing and operations — that makes her particularly effective and valuable.”

Thierry Lyles

DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Family Express Corp.

Lyles is responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns and initiatives across digital channels, including oversight of the new Family Express loyalty program, mobile app, website, social media, online ordering, and advertising.

As digital marketing manager for Family Express Corp., based in Valparaiso, Ind., Thierry Lyles is responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns and initiatives across digital channels, including oversight of the new Family Express loyalty program, mobile app, website, social media, online ordering, and advertising. He started with the company in 2015 as a social media manager, and grew into his latest role in the marketing department, playing an instrumental role in the launch of Family Express’ new website, online ordering, and other digital initiatives. He not only worked directly with the developers on the design and user interface of the new website, but also worked with the technology provider, Paytronix Systems Inc., to finalize the flow and user interface of the mobile app — which was the first custom mobile app in the c-store industry to integrate mobile ordering. He is currently working on version two of the app. “Nothing in this world would exist if it wasn’t imagined at some point,” Lyles said. “I am lucky to have leadership that puts an emphasis on imagining what our future looks like as a retailer. This has made me extremely passionate about continued learning and staying at the edge of innovation and industry development.” In the past year, Lyles has helped integrate Olo mobile ordering into the chain’s mobile app and website, and maintains the menu with any updates needed. Additionally, he is the point person for all marketing initiatives with Paytronix, including conceptualizing and implementing target marketing campaigns never before done by the chain. Outside of his duties at Family Express, he enjoys running several of his own businesses. He is an award-winning photographer, licensed realtor and e-commerce expert.

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Harry MacIntyre DIRECTOR OF FINANCE RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.

With a degree in economics and finance from Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., Harry MacIntyre joined Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum in 2011. He started as an intern in the finance department, and was promoted through the years to his current position as director of finance for the company’s Treasury and Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) groups. MacIntyre is responsible for approving RaceTrac’s financial forecast and plan, which includes raising capital, managing the company’s revolving line of credit, and cash management. He collaborates with others on the FP&A forecasting for the company, and manages relationships with all the banks the company works with, including lenders, potential lenders and treasury providers. Along with managing RaceTrac’s investment portfolio, his team of eight employees manage all daily and monthly reconciliation and accounting journal entries, as well as reconciliations for cash, in-house banking, debt, investments and swaps. MacIntyre also works directly with the retailer’s vice president of tax on Bolch family needs, such as GRAT loans, donations and day-today accounting. “Harry is thoughtful, analytical and inquisitive. Just as important, I feel like he is the kind of person who is willing to tell me and all other leaders when he sees something differently than we do or when he recognizes a hole in our analysis,” said Karla Ahlert, vice president of finance. “I value that greatly. He has built tremendous relationships at RaceTrac and with our bank community that positively impact the company daily. Harry has great influence over our business every day.” In his past eight years with the company, MacIntyre has helped RaceTrac achieve many goals, including leading it to obtain its first syndicated revolver and loan. He helped the company establish a credit department as well, as it expanded sales to third parties. MacIntyre is a member of the 401K Com-

mittee and Metroplex Trade Credit Committee, and he is a CFA charter holder, having passed all three parts of the CFA on his first attempt. Other memberships include NACS, National Petroleum Energy Credit Association, Association of Finance Professionals, and Charter Financial Analytics.

"Dana is a true go-getter. She quickly showed creativity, analytical acumen, and strong negotiation skills to deliver increased sales and margins." — Derek Gaskins, Yesway

Dana Renfro

CATEGORY MANAGER, PACKAGED BEVERAGES Yesway Hired in February 2018 as a category assistant at Yesway, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, Dana Renfro was expected to help out in all categories throughout the store. But in August 2018, she took over management of the tobacco and center store categories when a coworker went on maternity leave through October 2018, and then received a promotion to category manager of packaged beverages due to her strong work ethic and performance. Packaged beverages is Yesway’s second largest category across its more than 150 stores spanning nine states; it is a $100 million category. Renfro now oversees all packaged beverages, which includes liquor and wine, and is responsible for driving double-digit growth across the portfolio. She is also responsible for growing Yesway’s line of private label beverages, which she helped launch. The overall private label line includes bottled water, as well as baked goods, snacks and lighters. Renfro works with all brands in the category, and always goes “above and beyond with follow-through to deliver strong results,” said Derek Gaskins, senior vice president of merchandising and procurement at Yesway. “Dana is a true go-getter. She has quickly showed creativity, analytical acumen, and strong negotiation skills to deliver increased sales and margins.” Outside of her work at Yesway, Renfro is active in the Des Moines community, serving as a bible school teacher at her church, as well as the nursery coordinator.

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Darren Renwick

SENIOR FUEL PROCUREMENT MANAGER Yesway Working in the supply and distribution group at Pilot Flying J was Darren Renwick’s introduction to the convenience store industry. He held multiple positions at the company within the supply and distribution group, driving both value and bottom-line results through strong leadership, innovative thinking and determination to execute strategy at a high level. Two years ago, Renwick began working at Yesway as senior fuel procurement manager. His current responsibilities include the safe, efficient and cost-effective transportation of fuel to 150 Yesway stores. He not only sources product, manages third-party carrier relationships, and manages and maintains fuel brands, but he also oversees reporting on retail price performance, and budgets gallons and margin for fuel. Working under the guidance of industry veteran and senior advisor Joseph Petrowski, former CEO of Cumberland Farms, who joined Yesway in 2016, Renwick has helped the company achieve impressive growth and performance in fuel. He is particularly proud of the progress Yesway has made in the management of the fuel supply chain as a whole, including newly implemented technology that has resulted in a reduction of in-tank capital, lower common-carrier fees, and greatly improved visibility and agility to daily market conditions.

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Other major milestones he’s achieved during his time at Yesway are the successful integration of more than 75 newly acquired stores, management of a number of newly acquired brands and suppliers, and the implementation of PDI TelaPoint technology to manage the fuel supply chain.

Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, Brett Silva started his career in merchandising by working in a home improvement store while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduation, he accepted a corporate position at Safeway Inc., and held multiple positions of increasing responsibility in category management. After a few years, Silva left Safeway to join Chevron Corp.’s merchandising team, which is now ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC, based in San Ramon, Calif., operator of more than 850 stores in California, Oregon and Washington. He attended night school to achieve his MBA from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., and was then promoted to his current role of category manager of the center of store categories. Silva is responsible for nine categories, which include snacks, candy, general merchandise, automotive, health and beauty, frozen grocery, and more. He is tasked with driving profitable sales for the franchise network in each category by optimizing the item assortment and space allocation. He also works to identify merchandising solutions, negotiate pricing and promotions, and capitalize on market trends. Since taking on the role, Silva had an immediate impact on growth, increasing same-store sales every year for the last

Silva has had an immediate impact on growth, increasing same-store sales every year for the last three years.

Brett Silva

CATEGORY MANAGER, CENTER OF STORE ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC NOV

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three years. These increases have outpaced the competitive market performance. He’s been able to achieve this by implementing new programs and identifying the right supplier partners. Silva also played an instrumental role in developing ExtraMile’s private label brand, EXTRAGOOD. He launched the private label candy bars, beef jerky and doughnuts, all of which have been very successful. In fact, the three categories these new items fall into all outperformed the competitive market growth by double digits through May 2019. “This launch has been impactful due to Brett’s negotiations with the manufacturers, pricing and promotional decisions, and communication to the network,” said Brian Mulcahy, merchandising manager. “These programs are a great value for customers with the sizes and retails, as well as a great value for the franchisees’ penny profit compared to the national brands.”

"Emily has demonstrated the ability to lead multiple departments toward a common goal, all while maintaining her responsibilities managing fuel for the entire company." — Matt Clements, Enmarket

Emily Smith COORDINATING MANAGER, RETAIL FUEL PRICING Enmarket

For the past five years, Emily Smith has managed fuel pricing and supply for Enmarket, based in Savannah, Ga., with responsibility for the chain’s 124 stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. This includes developing retail fuel pricing and strategy, execution and analy-

sis. She also handles fuel logistics coordination, including dispatching, overseeing rack pulls, contract negotiations and more, and is the Ambest/NATSO point person. As a native of Elberton, Ga., Smith received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia. Before joining Enmarket, she spent time working in the finance department of Zaxby’s Franchising Inc., and later moved to the Savannah area where she started working as an accountant for Colonial Group Inc. while going to school for a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia Southern University. In 2012, she moved to Colonial’s subsidiary, Enmarket, as the fuel marketing and supply manager and in 2018, was promoted to her current role of coordinating manager where she serves in a project management capacity for a variety of Enmarket projects. This includes the company’s new loyalty program and mobile payment platform. She also continues to oversee fuel operations. “Emily has demonstrated the ability to lead multiple departments toward a common goal, all while maintaining her responsibilities managing fuel for the entire company,” said Matt Clements, vice president of marketing for Enmarket. Additionally, Smith serves as a Colonial Cares Champion, helping to coordinate volunteer and community outreach activities within Colonial Group. She and her husband, Troy, are active in their church, schools and local recreation department. She was recently nominated to serve on the school council for her local elementary school.

Tyler Tetzloff

DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Family Express Corp. With more than 10 years of hands-on information technology (IT) experience, Tyler Tetzloff joined Family Express Corp. in Valparaiso, Ind., in 2015 as director of IT, and served as the network systems administrator for a brief period as well. Since joining the retailer, he’s brought the chain’s technology “into the 21st century,” according to Family Express President and CEO Gus Olympidis, who noted that Tetzloff has brought secondary connections into all its stores, significantly improving uptime and customer experience. Tetzloff’s primary responsibility in his current role is to ensure that Family Express customers have a frictionless technology experience, and the stores and corporate associates have the services and tools they need to take care of the chain’s customers each day. He worked on converting Family Express from a fault prone server environment to a “very fault tolerant” server

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farm, according to Olympidis. Specifically, Tetzloff worked to expand Family Express’ server farm to the cloud, with the integration of a cloud provider. His other responsibilities include setup, creation and functionality of all the company’s internal and external data and network infrastructures; yearly PCI compliance planning maintenance, remediation and certification processes; and installation and management of the corporate virtualized desktop and server environments. Additionally, Tetzloff manages and configures the organization-wide cloudbased services, including Office 365, AWS and Azure; handles the endpoint security management including firewalls, VPN connectivity and anti-virus/anti-malware protection; manages mobile device setup and management for store tablets and employee mobile and handheld devices; and handles IT project management and end-to-end implementation of new IT services and software integrations. Professionally, Tetzloff belongs to the SpiceCorps of Northwest Indiana Technology Group, a group of IT professionals in the community who come together to share ideas, thoughts and tips on hot topics within the IT industry. Outside of work, he is a volunteer baseball and softball coach for his local little league organizations.

Alan Weaver DIRECTOR OF MERCHANDISING SOLUTIONS RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. During his final year of study at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, earning a degree in industrial and systems engineering, Alan Weaver began interning at RaceTrac in the category management department. His focus was on creating a way to capture various layouts and analyze which location of a product category was the most profitable. After graduation, he accepted a permanent position as an analyst on RaceTrac’s human resources solution team.

"He is forward-thinking and has the tremendous ability to bridge the gap between business acumen and technical hard skills." — Bart Stransky, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.

From there, Weaver assumed a role on the merchandising team to lead the implementation of the chain’s new PDI back-office platform from the merchandising and category side of the business. Today, he is responsible for the teams in merchandising that allow the chain to sell its products, including pricebook, demand planning and space management. These teams include 14 employees who either directly or indirectly report to Weaver. “In addition to the back-office solution, I have been able help lead the creation of a space management discipline, as well as our newest function, demand planning,” Weaver told CSNews. “These two functions, as well as our pricebook and retail solutions groups, are what make up my responsibilities today.” Additionally, he is responsible for the roadmap to leverage the company’s technology to automate many aspects of the inventory lifecycle of ordering, receiving, invoicing and auditing. These efforts help alleviate monotonous tasks from store teams and increase inventory accuracy fleetwide. Over the past couple of years, Weaver has helped RaceTrac create advanced store planning processes, and store-level inventory and invoicing automation. “He is forward-thinking and has the tremendous ability to bridge the gap between business acumen and technical hard skills,” said Bart Stransky, vice president of merchandising at RaceTrac. “He knows how to leverage data to enhance decision making for the organization, and has partnered with our IS and accounting functions to outline and execute a half-decade retail technology strategy to revolutionize how we do business.” CSN

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FOODSERVICE

What’s Hot on Today’s Menus? Warm flavors and hearty callouts connect with consumers for the fall FOR THE LATEST innovations to inspire convenience store operators, we’re looking to other channels this month to investigate the flavors, formats and styles that get consumers excited and form the foundation of innovation.

Maple Makes Its Mark in Breakfast & Beyond Maple moves out of the expected pancake and waffle space and makes its mark in a savory application. Wendy’s Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant pairs chicken breast with Applewood-smoked bacon and maple butter on a flaky croissant bun. Consumers approve with a high Unbranded OPERATOR: Wendy’s Purchase Intent (PI) score of 87 and an even higher ITEM TYPE: Limited-Time Offer Uniqueness score of 90. DATE: August 2019

OPERATOR: Cracker Barrel ITEM TYPE: Limited-Time Offer DATE: August 2019 PRICE: $8.99

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fried Sunday Homestyle Chicken drizzled with our maple glaze, topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sweet n’ smoky mayo on a bun. Served with a sampling of Cole Slaw and your choice of a Cup of Soup or any Country Side.

breast topped with Applewood-smoked bacon and maple butter on a flaky croissant bun.

“Handcrafted” and “homestyle” callouts naturally lend themselves to premium items, and also give the sense of heartiness that cooler weather calls for. Cracker Barrel’s Homestyle Chicken BLT features crispy, golden-fried Sunday Homestyle Chicken that is drizzled with a maple glaze and topped with the classic BLT fixings plus a sweet n’ smoky mayo on a bun. Consumers agree with the appeal of this homestyle moment with high Unbranded PI and Branded PI scores (both at 96). This sandwich is almost universally appealing with all consumer segments except for Generation Z. CSN

Cracker Barrel PRODUCT SCORES (Among: Total)

96

96 branded PI

uniqueness

frequency

86

83

78

definitely or probably would buy

definitely or probably would buy

extremely or very unique

would order the item all the time

60%

56%

43%

22%

would visit somewhere just for this item

excellent or good value for the dollar

47%

51%

unbranded PI

94

98

93

benchmark norms

--

--

70

norms reflect comparison to all items 100 = max possible score

96

75

73

79

versus other QSR items

85

90

draw

82

83

versus other sandwiches

84

87

71

uniqueness

would visit somewhere just for this item

draw

extremely or very unique

would order the item all the time

54%

53%

50%

21%

92

69

--

--

71

versus other QSR items

90

78

94

definitely or probably would buy

benchmark norms

79

77

frequency

definitely or probably would buy

83

85

norms reflect comparison to all items 100 = max possible score

90

branded PI

85

versus other items from Cracker Barrel

Wendy’s PRODUCT SCORES (Among: Total)

unbranded PI

value

87

94

70

versus other breakfast sandwiches

80

51% 54

91

97

89

versus other items from Wendy’s

Datassential, a Chicago-based food and beverage industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world insights on flavor trends, foodservice and consumer packaged goods, globally.

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FOODSERVICE

Building the Best Plans to Combat the Worst Situations Technology innovation and advanced planning help retailers build up their food safety defenses By Angela Hanson convenience stores invest in fresh food programs, the more challenges they will face: hiring and retaining skilled foodservice employees will get harder, competition will get fiercer as they battle with other retailers and restaurants for share of stomach, and customers will continue to raise their already-high standards for food quality.

THE MORE THAT

But there's one aspect of operating a fresh foodservice program that is not only critical to success, but also could be a brand's downfall if it isn't taken seriously enough: food safety. "I'm convinced that food safety starts at the top," Ryan Krebs, director of foodservice at York, Pa.-based Rutter's, said during an education session at the recent 2019 NACS Show. If company leadership understands its importance, that will affect the culture of the entire organization, he explained, including the in-store employees who are most likely to come face-to-face with any safety issues. "Food safety involves everyone in the chain." Food safety issues can arise at any point

in the foodservice chain — from sourcing to preparation to merchandising — making it vitally important that retailers plan for all potentialities. The good news is that more than ever, there is help available for operators to achieve this.

Traceability & Technology In April 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a "Blueprint for a New Era of Food Safety," which discusses food traceability, the use of digital technologies, and the evolution of how food gets from the farm to the dinner table. This signaled a shift in how the FDA expects technology to be leveraged in order to implement the requirements set forth by the Food Safety Modernization Act. "It's clear they're trying to move into the 21st century," said Kevin Otto, who leads the foodservice industry initiative at GS1 US, a nonprofit information standards organization whose members include companies like 7-Eleven Inc., McLane Co. Inc. and Subway. Achieving major improvements in traceability can remove major inefficiencies during a food recall process, Otto told Convenience Store News. Without knowing where a specific item came from and the path it took to the store, retailers will have to play it safe, which could result in unnecessary product waste and lost sales.

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"If they find out one of a particular product [is unsafe], they pull all of the products off the shelves everywhere to throw away," he said, describing a hypothetical food recall scenario. The organization believes it has a better way. GS1 Standards encode specific information, such as individual item identification, batch lot number and production date, at the manufacturing level as part of a product's virtual DNA, which is accessible via barcode. GS1’s fresh foods management solution combines unique product identification with a standardized exchange of data and traceability readiness at the store level, resulting in a fully known supply chain. The system has aided store employees in being able to identify issues at the point of preparation, keeping consumers safe and only disposing of the compromised product. "That's the level of granularity we've never had before," Otto said. In addition to supporting common standards and related initiatives, c-store retailers can shore up their food safety practices by making their own technology investments, too. "Automation is the No. 1 thing I would recommend as the most vital foodservice safety investment," said Ryan Yost, vice president of Avery Dennison, which offers the Freshmarx suite of food labeling, safety and compliance solutions. Freshmarx ensures accuracy by removing mistakes and food safety issues associated with poor handwriting, miscalculated expiration dates, and other problems associated with human error. Yost also points out that automation can quickly and easily capture and provide information such as nutritional content, ingredients, allergens and more, with both software and hardware offerings streamlining the process for store-level employees as much as possible. And small operators are not locked out of making food safety improvements based on lack of resources. "Small operators can scale the solution that works for them to address their most prevalent challenges, starting with labor efficiency and food safety first," Yost explained. "As their operation grows, they can add sustainability solutions such as food donation and waste tracking, using RFID for inventory visibility, and other safety-focused initiatives."

Becoming a convenience store operation that is a destination for trusted, fresh, wholesome, quick-serve and graband-go meals requires full transparency to the consumer, according to Yost. "Food-forward convenience operators provide nutrition, ingredient and expiry information because it is critical for the consumer to know that ingredients are prepped properly, and ingredients and prepared foods are held at proper temperatures to avoid spoilage or contamination," he said.

Prepping a Worst-Case-Scenario Plan Even a company that has the best food handling practices can be affected by recalls and other dangers. In 2018, c-stores were among the retailers affected by the outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce and vegetable tray contamination with the cyclospora parasite in separate incidents. Even if a particular chain is ultimately unaffected by an outbreak, a hesitation to act or inability to provide relevant, accurate information to customers will break down their trust in a brand. Responding appropriately in such scenarios all starts with employee training, according to Jay Ellingson, senior director of food regulations at La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc., who also presented at the 2019 NACS Show. At Kwik Trip, the company believes its safety-focused culture "has to be second nature" to employees, particularly since the convenience store chain's vertical integration gives it so much control over quality control. Ellingson identified five top risk factors for convenience foodservice: • • • • •

Purchasing food from unsafe sources; Failing to cook food adequately; Using contaminated equipment; Poor personal hygiene; and Holding food at improper temperatures.

These factors should serve as the building blocks of a food safety program, where the primary elements are prediction, prevention and reaction, advised fellow presenter Jeremy Zenlea, director of food safety at Westborough, Mass.based Cumberland Farms. Examples of preventative controls in the supply chain are a supplier compliance system, third-party audits, remote temperature monitoring in trailers and in stores, and ingredient and private label product testing. CSN

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TOBACCO

Falling Out of Flavor The Food and Drug Administration may remove flavored vapor products from the market, but similar moves at the state level are facing legal roadblocks By Melissa Kress

WHEN THE FOOD AND DRUG Administration (FDA) released its final deeming rule in 2016, many in the industry expected it to take on flavors — after all, a ban on flavored cigarettes was one of the agency’s first actions under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. However, it did not.

Fast forward to fall 2018, and the FDA did turn its focus to flavors, specifically in electronic cigarettes and vapor products, as it sought to tackle the rise in youth vapor use. At the center was Juul Labs, the San Francisco-based leader in the vapor space. As a result, Juul Labs removed its flavored products, with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol, from brick-and-mortar retail locations and moved them exclusively online in November 2018. Retail distribution of Juul products spiked at the time of the announcement, as retailers loaded up before the flavors moved online. Then, a month ago, the company announced it was suspending the sale of all its fruitflavored products all told in the United States, pending FDA review.

purchasing not be on the market,” Burke added. “It is really encouraging news that we saw when we did that analysis.”

Reports of Vaping-Related Illnesses This past summer, the cries against flavored vapor products reached a new level after reports of vaporrelated illnesses — and in a few cases, deaths — began to pop up across the United States. In early September, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teamed up with state and local health officials as states reported more cases. The following week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the FDA would make removing unauthorized non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market a priority. He explained that the agency intended to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks; the policy would include all flavors, including mint and menthol. However, as of press time on Oct. 31, the FDA had yet to reveal its new policy. All of this has spurred age 21 purchase legislation, product and flavor bans throughout the nation, and numerous headlines calling youth vapor use and reports of vape-related illnesses “an epidemic” — something

“Interestingly enough, while that business declined somewhat following the pullout of the flavors, we saw that Juul’s business, as well as the entire vapor category, came back very strong,” Don Burke, senior vice president of Management Science Associates Inc., said during a Sept. 18 Convenience Store News virtual retailer roundtable on the tobacco category. “When we analyzed the flavors, many consumers who were using the Mango or the fruit-flavored products had moved to mint or menthol and within a very short period of time, that business recovered and was as strong afterwards as it was prior to the pullout,” he explained. “That says to us that the vapor category is a very strong category and those consumers that are choosing to use vapor, they like it and they would like to continue to use it and are willing to purchase a different product should the product they are currently

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TOBACCO

State Vapor Bans to Date As of Oct. 31, 2019 Washington:

Montana:

Massachusetts:

120-day emergency rule banning the

Temporary statewide

sale of all flavored e-cigarette products,

ban on the sale of all

including flavored nicotine, THC and CBD

electronic cigarettes

vaping products, in-store and online.

and vapor products,

120-day emergency rule

active through Jan. 25,

prohibiting the sale of

2020. The directive also

flavored vaping products.

includes cannabis vaping products and devices.

Oregon: 180-day ban on all flavored

Rhode Island:

vaping products, as well as

Emergency regulations

other sources or additives as

prohibit the sale of

they are identified in cases

flavored e-cigarettes

of vaping-related lung injury

for 120 days.

or death.

Utah: 120-day emergency rule that restricts the

New York:

sale of flavored e-cigarette products to tobacco

90-day temporary ban

specialty stores, and requires tobacco retailers

on the sale of flavored

that sell e-cigarette products to post notices

Michigan: 180-day temporary ban on the sale of

electronic cigarettes

regarding the dangers of vaping unregulated

flavored nicotine vaping products in retail stores

and vapor products.

THC products.

and online, and on misleading marketing of vaping products, including the use of terms like “clean,” “safe” and “healthy.”

Terry Gallagher, president of Smoker Friendly International, based in Boulder, Colo., disagrees with. “I think it is irresponsible to call this an epidemic,” Gallagher said during the CSNews virtual retailer roundtable. “Anti-tobacco is driving the narrative; they are prohibitionists.” Referring to studies that point to the rise in youth vapor use, he noted that most of these studies ask if someone has tried a vapor product in the last 30 days, not if they are a daily user. The studies that do ask about daily usage are in the 5-percent range, he said. Gallagher also points out that when you start to dig into the reports of illnesses and deaths, you find that the problems are not coming from reputable manufacturers or typical nicotine products. “They have taken it and created a lot of hype without doing a lot of homework,” he said. “It’s been very damaging to the industry — not only for the manufacturers, but it will be for the retailers, too, especially the legitimate retailers.”

States, Flavors & the Courts As has been the trend in tobacco regulation over the past several years, state and local governments are not waiting for the FDA to move; they are taking matters into their own hands. On Sept. 18, New York became the first state to implement a statewide ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes and vapor products. The temporary regulation went into effect following a vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council on Sept. 17 — a meeting that came at the request of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Enforcement of the 90-day ban was set to begin Oct. 4. However, one day before, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division hit the pause button and granted a temporary restraining order against the state in a lawsuit filed by the Vapor Technology Association, New Yorkbased manufacturer Benevolent e-Liquids Inc., and New York retailer Perfection Vapes Inc. The judicial panel was expected to rule on a preliminary injunction in mid-October. If the ban is upheld, retailers who violate the ban will face fines of up to $2,000 per violation, which is defined as each unit of flavored e-liquid or product containing e-liquid that is possessed, manufactured, sold or offered for sale. Similar directives in other states are facing the same legal challenges. In early September, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue emergency rules to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products in retail stores and online, and ban misleading marketing of vaping products, including the use of terms like “clean,” “safe” and “healthy” that perpetuate beliefs that these products are harmless. The governor also ordered the Michigan Department of Transportation to enforce an existing statute to prohibit the advertising of vapor products on billboards. Her directives came after the state’s chief medical examiner made a finding that youth vaping constitutes a public health emergency. But on Oct. 15, the Michigan Court of Claims issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the emergency vaping rules, which would ban the sale of flavored vaping nicotine products, among other measures to protect public health. Judge Cynthia Stephens said the administration’s delay in implementing

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the ban undercut its position that emergency rules were needed. Statewide flavor bans in Oregon and Montana have also come up against legal roadblocks. The final outcomes of all four legal challenges were still winding their way through the courts by the time this issue of Convenience Store News went to print.

The Consequences As director of category management, tobacco, for Cumberland Farms Inc., Anne Flint is all too familiar with flavor bans. Based in Westborough, Mass., the convenience store chain has had a frontrow seat to the patchwork of flavor bans at the local level. Despite flavor bans, Flint reported that mint and menthol products “have been salvaged up until this point.” The concerns going forward, she said, are online sales

and the Juul knockoffs that are available. “While we may be pulling back at the retail store level, it is disconcerting because is there going to be a pullback on online sales also?” she asked. According to Gallagher, Smoker Friendly will lose some volume if all flavors go away, but he believes some customers will shift back to the tobacco or menthol varieties, or other nicotine products that have a flavor component. A bigger problem may be the black market. “I think one of the things that we will all face is black market disruption. There is no question that if they ban flavors, there is going to be black market,” he cautioned. “It’s not hard to get these products over the internet. There is a lot of illicit product on the street already that is being made in back rooms, and consumers are playing around with making their own. That’s going to affect us.” CSN

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FEATURE

7-Eleven Delivers Convenience Store News honors the chain for its cutting-edge technology initiatives By Melissa Kress 7-Eleven Inc. President and CEO Joseph DePinto looked into his crystal ball and told Convenience Store News that the future of convenience retailing was "the last block" — consumers want what they want, when they want it, at their front door.

IN LATE 2017,

Fast forward to 2019 and Irving, Texasbased 7-Eleven has certainly delivered, in more ways than one. Click-and-collect, on-demand delivery and frictionless payment have all become a part of its repertoire. And because of its willingness to look beyond the status quo, CSNews honors the convenience store chain as its 2019 Technology Leader of the Year. This annual award goes to a technology leader (individual or company) who not only contributes to the success of their organization, but also to the advancement and growth of the convenience store industry as a whole. Mani Suri, senior vice president and chief information officer for 7-Eleven, accepted the award on behalf of the company at the 2019 CSNews Technology Leadership Roundtable & Awards Dinner, held Oct. 1 at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

"Technology is rapidly changing. At 7-Eleven, we have changed the game the last several years," Suri said upon accepting the award. "There is a lot of technology, a lot of excitement, and a lot of opportunity in retail to move the needle." There are numerous examples of 7-Eleven's willingness to push the technology envelope. For starters, the retailer — which operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 11,800 convenience stores in North America — utilizes cutting-edge technology to deliver engaging promotions to consumers, turning promos into interactive experiences. Recent augmented reality (AR) promotions have featured supplier partners such as Dr Pepper and Pepsico Inc.’s Frito-Lay division. Meanwhile, 7-Eleven also has delivered AR in-store experiences around recent movie releases like “Pokémon Detective Pikachu" and "Deadpool 2." This summer saw 7-Eleven expand its 7NOW on-demand delivery service, making it easier than ever for customers to order their favorite products and get them delivered to anywhere they are. Newly added proprietary technology, called 7NOW Pins, allow 7NOW mobile app users to place orders for delivery to parks, beaches, sports fields, entertainment venues and other public locations that may not have traditional addresses.

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This summer also saw 7-Eleven introduce Mobile Checkout at select stores in New York. The frictionless shopping experience grew out of its test of a Scan & Pay checkout platform in Dallas in late 2018. Mobile Checkout is available for most 7-Eleven merchandise that has a barcode. Customers can skip the line and pay for their purchases using the 7-Eleven app, while earning points and rewards. The service works on both Android and iOS devices, and all payment transactions can be made securely via debit or credit cards, Apple Pay or Google Pay. According to 7-Eleven, it is the first convenience store chain to develop proprietary technology for a fully frictionless payment experience.

Mani Suri, 7-Eleven's senior vice president and chief information officer, accepts the Technology Leader of the Year award on behalf of the company from CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo (left).

Using in-house technology has its advantages, notably cost and speed, Suri pointed out, adding, "If you are going to fail, you want to do it fast and you want to do it cheaper." Next up for the retailer? Empowering its field employees with new technology that they can use to better service the company’s robust franchisee community. The c-store operator is equipping its field employees, who serve as the connection between headquarters and its franchisees, with Microsoft Surface devices that use Microsoft 365 and Power BI. This move is designed to provide franchisees with better insight from corporate into their store's performance, purchase trends, and other data to help them grow their business. Power BI dashboards enable field employees to spot trends and visualize insights from point-of-sale data, so they can recommend actions to franchisees to boost their sales and ensure the right products are stocked to meet customer demand. Additionally, franchisees can take pictures of their store's schematics using the Surface camera, allowing them to quickly identify differences from the planogram, which they can use to analyze sales opportunities. "Unlocking the power of data is the key to reinventing the future and delivering amazing customer experiences in the retail industry," said Shelley Bransten, corporate vice president of worldwide retail and consumer goods industries, Microsoft Corp. "We're thrilled to empower 7-Eleven's field and franchisees with the services, knowledge and devices to innovate on behalf of their customers wherever they are in their shopper journey."

This summer, 7-Eleven introduced Mobile Checkout at select stores in New York. Mobile Checkout is available for most merchandise that has a barcode.

The companies expect to partner on future collaborations across intelligent and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and blockchain to drive even greater insight, efficiencies and customer experiences. CSN

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FEATURE

NACS Show 2019 Empowers The industry is encouraged to tell their stories and share ideas with one another convenience store industry has great stories to tell about their businesses, but few actually share their stories, leading to the industry rarely getting the credit it deserves.

EVERYONE IN THE

“If no one tells their story, does anyone hear it?” NACS President and CEO Henry “Hank” Armour said during the Oct. 3 general session at the 2019 NACS Show, comparing it to the age-old question of, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” NACS is doing its part to tell the c-store industry’s stories. Armour pointed to three examples in particular: • Food — The industry is making great strides in offering better-for-you options. • Engagement With Elected Officials — Recently, the 100th NACS InStore event was held. These events invite members of Congress to spend a few hours working in a local c-store. • 24/7 Day — NACS in partnership with c-store chains Wawa Inc., Sheetz Inc. and RaceTrac Petroleum celebrated 24/7 Day

NACS President and CEO Henry "Hank" Armour discussed how the association is doing its part to tell the industry's stories.

on July 24, honoring the nation’s first responders. NACS’ promotion of the event drove more than 85,000 media impressions across 130 news outlets. Going forward, the association plans to do more to tell the industry’s stories, especially around key areas such as helping to fight hunger, supporting education, and contributing to clean communities. Armour encouraged everyone in the audience to join the mission at conveniencecares.org. “We are a good people. We are a great industry. Let’s rejoice in that and tell our stories,” he said.

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FEATURE

Lifting Each Other Up Newly named NACS Chair Julie Jackowski was told something by former Casey’s General Stores Inc. CEO, the late Ronald Lamb, during her final interview with the company that significantly affected her view of the company and sealed her decision to take the job: "'Julie, you need to understand, if you come to work for Casey's, an attorney is no better than our part-time doughnut makers,'" she recounted during the closing general session of the 2019 NACS Show. His point was that every single person at Casey's, regardless of education or job title, is critical to the success of the operation.

Incoming NACS Chair Julie Jackowski spoke of unity, while outgoing NACS Chair Frank Gleeson implored the industry to have conviction.

He highlighted three key issues to watch: That holds true for the convenience store industry as a whole, and the NACS Show as an event, according to Jackowski, who today serves as senior vice president, corporate general counsel and secretary of Casey’s. By coming together to share ideas, c-store leaders can improve the industry for everyone.

1. Sustainability. According to Gleeson, sustainability is about aligning your best business practices with consumer preferences. For example, reducing the use of plastic in convenience stores. He cautioned, though, that sustainability goes even further. "It goes beyond plastic in our industry. It goes to the heart of our industry: fuel," he said.

Looking to the future, Jackowski advised NACS showgoers to remember that regardless of market size, every retailer is competing against the internet and consumer expectations of unlimited inventory and fast delivery.

2. Leadership. The industry knows the challenges of hiring, training and retaining good employees. He advised showgoers to think about how they can "make their crew motivated, make their crew productive, and make their crew a winning team."

She closed her presentation by talking about Casey's just-launched brand campaign, "Here For Good." The tagline relates to the company's quality food, but it also relates to the guest experience and how Casey's serves its communities.

3. Innovation. The industry — and the world — is changing, but the rate at which it is moving "is staggering," he noted. While innovation usually brings to mind technology, he said, "In the U.S. it is about finding different ways to please your customers." Innovation is also about motivating your crew to be their best, he added.

It tells the story of the c-store industry and of NACS, too, Jackowski believes.

The key, he said, "is to be brave, have the conviction to do it, and never give up the fight."

"We all learn from each other. We make each other better. And we are there for each other every single day," she said.

Gleeson, president and CEO of Aramark Northern Europe, was the first European-based chairman of NACS in the association's 57-year history. In a nod to his Irish roots, he raised a Guinness and offered a toast before taking his final bow.

A Global Industry As he took his final bow at the 2019 NACS Show, outgoing NACS Chair Frank Gleeson left the c-store industry with some words of advice during the Oct. 2 NACS Show general session: Stay on top of issues whether they are in your neighborhood or halfway around the world.

"Luck is the opportunity that comes along only and if you are prepared for it," he said. The 2019 NACS Show took place Oct. 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

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FEATURE

Seen on the Show Floor NACS Show 2019 featured more than 1,200 exhibitors, from startups to big brands MORE THAN 23,500 individuals from 69 countries attended the 2019 NACS Show in Atlanta, which delivered four days of learning, insights, networking, and exploring what’s new and exciting for the global convenience and fuel retailing industry.

“The NACS Show is the premier event where industry leaders and entrepreneurs collaborate, network, see new products and innovative technologies, and become better educated in cutting-edge issues that affect our businesses,” said 20192020 NACS Chair Julie Jackowski. “This year’s event proved to be an excellent forum for attendees to explore new products and services that will enhance the convenience retail business, enrich the experiences of our guests and companies, and lead us into a successful year as an industry.”

As always, one of the highlights of NACS Show 2019 was the expo floor, which this year spanned 425,000-plus net square feet and featured more than 1,200 exhibitors, from startups to big brands. The expo floor also included the New Exhibitor Area, 20,000 square feet of dedicated expo space spotlighting more than 200 companies brand-new to the show; and an all-new CBD Pavilion, a partitioned section of the expo that showcased hemp-derived CBD products from 50 industry suppliers. The Convenience Store News editorial staff was out in force meeting with suppliers and checking out all the expo floor happenings. Here’s our rundown of the top takeaways by section:

BEVERAGES Responding to the changing preferences and needs of today’s consumers, The Coca-Cola Co. unveiled 20-plus new beverages, spanning a variety of segments, at the show.

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FEATURE

Among the new products unveiled were: Coca-Cola Energy, the first-ever energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand; Cherry Vanilla Coke, in regular and zero sugar varieties; Coca-Cola Cinnamon, a limited-edition holiday flavor available through December; Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry, another limited-time holiday flavor; Dunkin' Cold Brew Coffee, in Caramel Black and Midnight Black varieties; Fanta Piña Colada; Minute Maid Blue Raspberry; Odwalla Zero Sugar flavored smoothies; Simply Tea, with no added preservatives, colors or flavors; and four still flavors of smartwater.

"This year's event proved to be an excellent forum for attendees to explore new products and services that will enhance the convenience retail business, enrich the experiences of our guests and companies, and lead us into a successful year as an industry." — NACS Chair Julie Jackowski

At its booth, Coca-Cola also showcased its new beverage segmentation capability. C-stores serve a fragmenting shopper base that demands an expanding variety of beverage options, so there’s a need to customize the beverages that each store offers and merchandise those products to specific shopper groups. Coca-Cola’s beverage segmentation capability is designed to help c-stores satisfy this demand and, ultimately, drive shopper conversion and sales. Sparkling Ice, a Talking Rain Beverage Co., told CSNews that consumers are also looking for a healthy alternative to energy drinks. The company unveiled a new line under its Talking Rain brand: TRE (Talking Rain Elevate), a naturally flavored water with caffeine, electrolytes, zero sugar, and functional ingredients designed to enhance everyday performance. It will be available in three varieties — Mango Fusion, Power Punch and Triple Berry — when it launches in the Denver, Arizona, Seattle/Portland and Los Angeles markets in the first quarter of 2020.

The beverage company also unveiled Sparkling Ice Coconut Limeade, which is rolling out nationwide in March 2020; and three new flavors in its Sparkling Ice+Caffeine line — Blue Raspberry, Black Raspberry and Cherry Vanilla — that will come to market in the first quarter of 2020. The Sparkling Ice+Caffeine line debuted at the 2018 NACS Show. On the alcoholic beverage side of the cold vault, MillerCoors highlighted its category centric approach at the show. This strategy shift, which began a few years ago, puts the focus on the overall beer category and shows retailers the role the company's brands can play in the space. The path-to-purchase story, according to MillerCoors, consists of four chapters: • It all starts with the occasion (the relax occasion, the social occasion, etc.); • Every beer segment plays a role; • The core matters; and • Innovation. On the innovation front, MillerCoors showcased several new products, including Cape Line Sparkling Cocktails, Saint Archer Gold, Sol Chelada Limon Y Sol, Blue Moon Light Sky, and MOVO Wine Spritzers. All are coming to market in the first quarter of 2020.

CANDY Candy suppliers showed off new products that tap into existing and emerging consumer trends, shopper snacking preferences, and the continued popularity of classics with a twist. The Hershey Co. debuted new product innovation from its Hershey’s and Kit Kat brands: Hershey’s White With Whole Almonds, and Kit Kat Duos Mint + Dark Chocolate. This marks the first time in nearly a decade that Kit Kat will release a new variety. Looking to satisfy consumers’ sweet and salty taste buds at the same time, Mars Wrigley Confectionery unveiled Milky Way Salted Caramel, which features rich milk chocolate, creamy caramel, and smooth nougat with the addition of crunchy salt. As sour continues to drive the candy category forward, Ferrara Candy Co. tapped into its playful nature to debut a sour variety of its Fun Dip Original three-flavor pouch. The new product features three sour flavors: Strawberry Smackerroo, Watermelon Wammo, and Tartastic Mystery. To deliver the perfect intersection of delicious indulgence and permissible ingredients consumers can feel good about, The Promotion in Motion Cos. Inc. announced the release of three new flavor combinations in its Sun-Maid Milk Chocolate Raisins line. The new varieties are: Chocolate ‘n Peanut Butter Covered Raisins, Dark Cocoa Dusted Chocolate Covered Raisins, and Milk Chocolate ‘n Almond Crunch Covered Raisins.

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This year's NACS Show expo floor featured more than 1,200 exhibitors, from startups to big brands.

And capitalizing on the spicy candy trend, American Licorice Co. showed off Spicy Bites, an extension of its Sour Punch brand. The new assortment includes Spicy Pineapple, Spicy Watermelon, Spicy Mango and Spicy Cantaloupe flavors. The bites can be eaten separately, or together for a unique sweet and spicy experience.

CANNABIS & CBD Always on the lookout for the next big thing, c-store retailers are showing strong interest in cannabis and CBD (cannabidiol) products. For the first time this year, NACS opened up its annual convention to CBD companies, even dedicating a pavilion on the expo floor just to them. The show served as the official rollout of Pure American Hemp Cigarettes to the convenience channel. The tobacco-free and nicotine-free cigarettes comes in four varieties: Regular, Menthol, Clove and Lemon Haze. SinglePoint Inc. is the master distributor for the line. Ignite CBD, meanwhile, believes its vaping products are a good match for the conve-

nience channel. It sells both rechargeable vape devices and pods, and disposable vape pens. The one-year-old brand has a solid social media presence, according to company representatives. At Miracle Nutritional Products, the spotlight was on health and beauty care (HBC) items infused with CBD. HBC is its fastest growing line, according to the company. Miracle Nutritional Products is on track to expand its portfolio to 100 products by year's end, with six new products launching in HBC. Vapor represents just a small portion of its business. CuraLeaf Hemp, known in the space for its hemp-based CBD creams, is now launching the Souleaf brand geared to the convenience channel. With a lower price point, Souleaf will focus on topicals — namely, CBD oil, body lotion, lip balm and hand lotion. Recognizing that consumers will have questions, the company said Souleaf packaging will include a QR label that consumers can scan to get product information and ingredients. In the area of CBD infused food and beverages, Docklight Brands showed off its Marley brand portfolio, which includes ready-to-drink iced teas, single-serve chocolates, wellness shots, and skincare products. Company representatives noted that state-level regulations currently dictate whether c-store operators can sell “ingestible” CBD products in their stores.

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FEATURE

FOODSERVICE Premium products, better-for-you options and items made with clean label ingredients were prevalent among supplier exhibitors in the foodservice section of the expo. Rich's Foodservice showcased a number of on-trend offerings, such as the Maple Waffle Flatbread, which can be used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory items; Individually Wrapped Specialty Sandwich Cookies, which feature a cleaner label and transparent packaging; Jacqueline’s Vegan Cookie Dough for non-meat eaters; and Ready to Stretch Sheeted Pizza Dough, which delivers labor savings as well as freshness. Hot and spicy remains a major flavor trend, with multiple companies upping the level of heat among their offerings. Krispy Krunchy Chicken sampled its "Perfectly Cajun" seasoning sprinkle, while Tyson Convenience noted that its 5 Alarm Sausage is suitable for "those looking for a challenge," and it’s expanding its Nashville Hot Chicken variety.

In dispensed beverages, coffee suppliers report cold brew has gained mainstream acceptance, while bean-to-cup is among the hottest equipment trends.

Hunt Brothers Pizza touted the benefits of limited-time offers (LTOs), explaining that consumers are accustomed to items in certain categories rotating by the season, and this primes them to be interested in new and returning LTOs. Hunt Brothers runs LTOs on a quarterly basis, with the pies coming pre-topped to cut down on training and labor expenses. The supplier aims to introduce one brand-new LTO per year, with Chicken Alfredo next up in the spring. In dispensed beverages, coffee suppliers report cold brew has gained mainstream acceptance, while bean-to-cup is among the hottest equipment trends. Single-origin brews are also in demand, with more suppliers promoting their socially responsible partnerships with farmers.

New coffee innovation on display included functional brews like Ronnoco's Vita Jolt vitamin enhanced coffee; unique flavor variations like S&D Coffee & Tea's Unicorn Cappuccino; and ConvenienceWorks by Hussmann’s Smart Exchange locker that allows easy pickup for mobile orders. The NACS Show also featured the debut of the newly combined Performance Food Group Co. (PFG) and EbyBrown Co. LLC. Six months since PFG acquired Eby-Brown, the newly combined organization took the wraps off its first collaborations: a pizza program and a barbecue program. The new Eby-Brown pizza program features Performance Foodservice branded offerings, including its exclusive Bacio cheese, as well as its Roma, Luigi and Piancone brands. The new Eby-Brown component barbecue program features Performance Foodservice products from its West Creek and Heritage Ovens brands. The menu includes pulled pork, pulled chicken and beef brisket, available in six different on-trend flavor profiles.

SNACKS As consumers look to snacks to fulfill need states in between meals, better-for-you products touting benefits like high protein, less sugar and “free-from” callouts were among the top snack trends spotted at the NACS Show, particularly in alternative snacks and meat snacks. Conagra Brands introduced the David Energy-Packed Mix, which contains 7 grams of protein and only 1 to 2 grams of sugar per serving. Made from a crunchy mix of lentils, kernels, pepitas and chickpeas, the snack mix is gluten free, includes no artificial flavors or colors, and is made in a peanut- and tree nut-free facility. Combining the portability of a bar with the nutritional benefits of protein, Lorissa’s Kitchen Whole-Made Medley Bars are labeled as “real snack solutions from a real mom.” The bars are made from 100 percent grass-fed beef or 100 percent all-natural chicken breast and feature dried fruit, nuts, seeds and egg whites. Boasting 10 grams of protein per bar, they are also preservative free, dairy free, and contain no high fructose corn syrup. The crossover of culinary flavors into snacks was also spotted at this year’s expo, especially chicken-flavored products. Kellogg’s Pringles brand showcased two new varieties, one being Rotisserie Chicken, and the other Parmesan & Roasted Garlic. A company representative told CSNews that these products open up a whole new world of flavor possibilities leveraging what Pringles are known for — stacking. Chicken was also prevalent at the Jack Link’s booth, where the meat snacks maker sampled new 100 percent chicken varieties in its bar line. The textured bars are a familiar format, but cater to consumers desiring alternatives to beef.

TECHNOLOGY The technology section was one of the NACS Show expo’s hottest areas as retailers searched for the solutions they need to stay competitive in today’s fast-changing market. Frictionless, digital transformation, mobile, and network connectivity were among the buzz words.

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Be

prepared Delivering the nuanced insights and proprietary shopper research needed to thrive in today’s CPG and Retail industries.

DISCOVER WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING.

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FEATURE

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Gilbarco Veeder-Root introduced several new solutions for the convenience store market: next-generation Ergo fuel nozzles, built to maximize flow and designed for the human hand; the Express Lane self-checkout kiosk; and the Encore Experience consumer engagement platform, a cloud-based open application platform that enables retailers to customize on-screen experiences at the pump. Fujitsu was also showing cutting-edge retail point-of-sale (POS) and store technology solutions, such as self-checkout stations. Because customer expectations are rising all the time, a retailer’s in-store staff needs more effective tools to provide excellent customer service from the moment the customer walks through the door, noted Paul Kennedy, Fujitsu’s head of retail industry. Self-checkout was a focus at Diebold Nixdorf’s booth as well, where the company conducted demonstrations of its new Vynamic FCx Self-Checkout that makes the integration process easier for retailers because of its POS device independent functionality and ability to integrate with existing systems. Its retail cash management capabilities enable consumers to scan items themselves, pay for their purchases, and place a food order all at the same station.

"Retailers' interest in frictionless technology, like scan and go, mobile POS and line-busting, is hampered by aging IT infrastructure. The timing is right for simplified, secure and scalable technology." — Gavin Bisbee, Zynsta

C-store retailers are asking for solutions that reduce complexity and points of friction, and improve visibility across their business, according to Drew Mize of PDI. The company has invested heavily in developing solutions to address these needs, as well as the smart integration of its solutions. Gavin Bisbee of Zynstra echoed the desire for simplified technology. “Retailers’ interest in frictionless technology, like scan and go, mobile POS and line-busting, is hampered by aging IT infrastructure. The timing is right for simplified, secure and scalable technology,” he said. Loyalty is also still a hot tech topic. The GetUpside mobile app, for instance, multiplies the average number of customer visits and average monthly spend by a factor of three, company representatives told CSNews. Circle K is currently rolling out the GetUpside platform at more than 4,000 stores across the United States.

TOBACCO At the forefront of everyone's minds this year at the NACS Show was the national crackdown on youth vapor use, the flavored e-cigarette and vapor bans that are popping up across the country, and the potential flavor ban at the federal level. Juul Labs Inc. demonstrated its new POS program — the Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program — that helps retailers prevent minorsfrom buying vapor products. With RACS, a sales associate must scan an ID — which the system verifies to be valid or not — each time a Juul product is scanned at checkout. RACS also sets a limit on the number of Juul products that can be purchased in any one sale. According to the company, 56 large and regional c-store chains — for a total of roughly 40,000 stores — have committed to RACS so far, with each in various stages of implementation. QuikTrip Corp. is among the early adopters. Another leading player in the space, blu, is using technology to connect with its trade partners. The company, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, launched a Trade Engagement Program with EdApp, a brand and educational app for trade customers. The blu brand is distributed by Fontem US Inc., a subsidiary of the Imperial Brands Group. While all vapor falls into the tobacco category, not all tobacco is vapor. At NACS Show 2019, Altria Group Inc. showed off IQOS, its heat-not-burn product, while Kretek International Inc. and its new company DRYFT Sciences LLC showcased DRYFT nicotine pouches. And Premier Manufacturing, the consumer products division of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc., used the occasion to hold a debut party for its Manitou superpremium cigarette brand. The cigarettes are 100 percent free from chemical additives like artificial preservatives, humectants or synthetic flavors, and are available in six king-size varieties. The Manitou brand, according to a company representative, appeals to the millennial tobacco consumer.

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Bringing Top C-store Technology Leaders Together Parker's took center stage at the 2019 Convenience Store News Technology Leadership Roundtable & Awards Dinner By Melissa Kress FINDING THE NEXT big product or category to drive store traffic and sales is top of mind for convenience store operators. However, not all store drivers can be found on the shelf, and it often falls to a retailer's technology department to identify opportunities.

Gathering at the 2019 Convenience Store News Technology Leadership Roundtable & Awards Dinner, IT executives from across the convenience store industry discussed the hot topics facing convenience retail technology. Among them: • EMV at the Pump: Retailer attendees agreed that this is not very far along, and most are hoping for another pause ahead of the October 2020 deadline. • Changing Definition of Mobility: Executives are cynical about the change in driving behaviors, most notably in regards to self-driving cars. • Frictionless Checkout: There is something there, attendees said, but frictionless checkout needs more fine-tuning. • Mobile Ordering: It is more prevalent than mobile payments, retailers noted. Following the roundtable discussions, CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo sat down with Parker's CEO Greg Parker and Eric Jones, chief innovation officer (CIO), to discuss all things convenience technology related.

al As head of the Savannah, Ga.-based c-store chain, Parker embraces technological innovation as he navigates the chain through a period of notable growth throughout coastal Georgia and the South Carolina Lowcountry. He explained that every department within Parker’s wants a piece of innovation; it is not led by any one department, but rather by many. This is something Jones knows well in his role as Parker’s CIO. "The innovation department enters into the conversation with every department," he said. "We act as the translator between the departments and tech."

IT executives from across the industry gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges in convenience retail technology.

As convenience retailing changes, technology plays a more crucial role. "As technology is putting itself in the middle, it helps define what we are trying to sell. It defines our needs," Jones said. "It's a role that is missing in many companies." Parker agrees. "If you aren't moving down the path of digitalization and innovation, you are going to be out of business," he said. "If you are not focused on this, it may be too late." The 2019 CSNews Technology Leadership Roundtable & Awards Dinner took place Oct. 1 at the CNN Center in Atlanta, against the backdrop of the 2019 NACS Show. The event was sponsored by Zebra Technologies Corp., Fujitsu, and Paytronix Systems Inc.

PARTICIPANTS

• Doug New, Yesway

• Tom Colbert, Kwik Trip Inc.

• Greg Parker, Parker’s

• Jay Dempsey, Love's Travel Stops &

• Jonathan Polansky, Plaid Pantry

Country Stores

• Mani Suri, 7-Eleven Inc.

• Tom Dransfield, The Kent Cos./Kent Kwik

• Rich Schappert, Casey's General Stores Inc.

• Chris Egan, United Dairy Farmers

• Rance Wells, Toot'n Totum

• Ken England, Clipper Petroleum

• Laurie Rains, Nielsen

• Maria Fidelibus, QuickChek Corp.

• Sean Asnes, Paytronix Systems Inc.

• Mark Holloway, Hammer Williams Co.

• Mark Delaney, Zebra Technologies Corp.

• Howard Hyche, Double Quick

• James Erickson, Paytronix Systems Inc.

• Charles Jarrett, Cumberland Farms

• Paul Kennedy, Fujitsu

• Eric Jones, Parker’s

• Mark Scherer, Fujitsu

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FEATURE

The five Women of the Year took a moment to celebrate together.

Celebrating the Top Women in Convenience The c-store industry turned out to recognize this year’s 42 honorees By Danielle Romano SET AGAINST the backdrop of the 2019 NACS Show, more than 300 members of the convenience store industry joined in the celebration of Convenience Store News’ 2019 Top Women in Convenience (TWIC) awards gala, held at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta.

TWIC is the first and only convenience store industry awards program that recognizes women for outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry overall. This year’s event honored 42 of the industry’s top female leaders, mentors and up-and-comers. The 2019 TWIC honorees included five Women of the Year, 17 SeniorLevel Leaders, 15 Rising Stars and five Mentors. Judging was conducted by CSNews in collaboration with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) and the 2019 Top Women in Convenience Advisory Board. Angela Buttimer, a leadership, mindfulness and wellness expert, served as the keynote speaker for the sixth-annual TWIC event. She advised both the women and men in the audience to strive for a "Thriver Mojo," a hand-in-hand concept that emphasizes that when people feel their best, they perform their best. She provided three strategies to achieve this positive mind and body space: • Practice compassion. Celebrate your victories, big and small, and use words that inspire.

• Strengthen your resilience. "C-stores are not a 9 to 5 business, but a 24/7 one. We need to ask ourselves: Are we mind full or mindful?" she said. • Elevate your mindset. The emotions, attitudes and lifestyles of those around us impact our wellbeing, so we should choose words and actions that reaffirm our best selves. Following the keynote, the awards presentation kicked off, beginning with the Women of the Year. These honorees included: Sarah Bibbs, vice president, merchandising, candy and snacks, Eby-Brown Co.; Deb Hall Lefevre, chief information officer, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K; Jayne Rice, partner, managing director and director of institutional sales, marketing and investor relations, Yesway; JoAnn Saverino, vice president, sales and marketing, Saverino & Associates Inc.; and Rebecca Troutman, director of ecommerce, 7-Eleven Inc. 7-Eleven's Troutman praised her 12-year-old daughter for wanting to be an electrical engineer when she grows up, as opposed to a role traditionally netted for women, such as a teacher. She offered some pearls of wisdom for fellow women in the industry: stretch yourself, build diversity and learn what you can. The 2019 Top Women in Convenience awards ceremony was sponsored by founding and presenting sponsor Altria Group Distribution Co.; platinum sponsors RAI Trade Marketing Services and Ruiz Food Products Inc.; gold sponsors Anheuser-Busch, BIC USA Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., The Hershey Co., Juul Labs, McLane Co. Inc., Mondeléz International Inc., Procter & Gamble and Sysco; and silver sponsors S&D Coffee & Tea and MillerCoors. CSN Keynote speaker Angela Buttimer shared techniques for being your best self.

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MONDELĒZ CONGRATULATES TRACEY BROWN — our Customer Category Manager, U.S. Sales —

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Tracey, your achievements add countless moments of joy to the world. You truly are a Rising Star. The industry is better for your accomplishments and those of the other honorees.

CONGRATULATiONS! © Mondelēz International group

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STORE SPOTLIGHT

Southern Style Parker’s Kitchen is designed to be a foodservice store that offers convenience By Danielle Romano

IN ITS QUEST to signify to customers that it is not just a convenience store, but rather a foodservice store that offers convenience, Parker’s is putting its money on its new Parker’s Kitchen store concept.

At a Glance Parker’s Kitchen Number of locations: 40 Key area of growth: Charleston, S.C. Unique features: A Southern-style menu that’s homemade on-site daily; bean-to-cup coffee ground and brewed on demand; an authentic Lowcountry vernacular architecture design that incorporates many features indigenous to the Charleston area

Debuting in September 2018 at the retailer’s Pooler, Ga., location — just outside of the company’s hometown of Savannah — Parker’s Kitchen spotlights fresh, hot, Southern-inspired food that is made from scratch daily. Over the last year, Parker’s Kitchen has rolled out to approximately 40 locations across Georgia and South Carolina. Now, the c-store retailer is upping the ante. This past May, Parker’s announced that it is investing $50 million in the Charleston, S.C., market in particular, where the company plans to bring 40 Parker’s Kitchen locations over the next four years. “The shift to the Parker’s Kitchen brand is to signify to our customers that we are not just a convenience store, but a foodservice store that offers convenience,” Parker’s CEO Greg Parker told Convenience Store News. “Parker’s has aggressive growth plans for the Charleston area with the goal of securing 30 percent market share. We want to grow in the path of growth. The Charleston marketplace is phenomenal.”

High Design in Lowcountry The first Charleston-area Parker’s Kitchen

store opened July 1 at 115 N. Highway 52 in Moncks Corner, S.C. In just a matter of months, Parker’s Kitchen reached five locations in the greater Charleston area, with two sites in Summerville (1111 Cane Bay Blvd. and 1601 Central Ave.), two sites in Moncks Corner (1105 N. Highway 52 and 115 N. Highway 52), and one site in Goose Creek (538 Red Bank Road). The retailer expects to have a total of nine Parker’s Kitchen stores open in the Charleston area by the end of this year. The Parker’s Kitchen design was conceptualized for locations boasting 5,000 square feet. According to the CEO, the company has created an authentic Lowcountry vernacular architecture design that incorporates many features indigenous to the Charleston area, such as stand-andseam metal roofs, awnings, bracketry, louvers, divided light windows, whitewashed brick, and free-standing pergolas. Some of the Charleston stores also feature lattices on either end of the gas canopy with native plant materials like jasmine and fig vine. “In our never-ending desire to exceed customer expectation, we are committed to redefining the look and feel of immediate-consumption retail as we continue to transition from a convenience store company that sells food into a food

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Indoor seating, region-authentic architecture, and self-checkout technology are among the unique features of Parker’s Kitchen stores.

company that sells convenience,” Parker said. “All of our Charleston locations offer the highest quality construction and store design in the industry with self-checkout, self-ordering food kiosks, indoor/outdoor dining, and many other unique features that set us apart from the competition.” The entire Parker’s Kitchen Southern-style foodservice menu is homemade on-site by Parker’s Kitchen chefs, using the freshest ingredients possible. Menu items include: • Hot and cold grab-and-go options; • Hot bar signature items, including fresh, never-frozen, antibiotic-free, doublebreaded chicken tenders and mac ‘n’ cheese; • Popular items like cheese grits and breakfast casserole; • Freshly brewed sweet tea and lemonade; • Fountain drinks with Parker’s signature Chewy Ice; • Bean-to-cup guaranteed fresh coffee ground and brewed on demand; and • 28-degree beer. Additionally, the new stores feature indoor seating, as well as self-checkout technology and electronic kiosks designed to expedite the food ordering process. They also offer regular, mid-grade, premium, diesel and marine fuel. The Moncks Corner location at 1105 N. Highway 52 features diesel truck service with ample space for tractor-trailer parking. “We want to raise the bar for what customers in the metro Charleston area can expect from a convenience store,” Parker noted. “That’s why we serve fresh,

“The shift to the Parker’s Kitchen brand is to signify to our customers that we are not just a convenience store, but a foodservice store that offers convenience.”

— Greg Parker, Parker’s

Southern-inspired, comfort food that’s made from scratch on-site, each and every day. That’s why we offer the latest technology, so our customers can spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying life. At Parker’s Kitchen, we know that time is the most precious commodity of all.”

The First of Many The company’s expansion into the Charleston market is mainly happening through new-to-industry locations, coupled with strategic acquisitions of existing sites. Earlier this year, Parker’s expanded its South Carolina footprint with the acquisition of two CornerMart stores on Lady’s Island and Port Royal. “These two acquisitions are strategic for Parker’s as we strive to meet the incredible customer demand in Beaufort County,” Parker said. “By combining construction of new stores with acquisitions of existing stores, we’re accelerating our growth in coastal South Carolina and elevating customer expectations regarding convenience, quality and foodservice.” Because of its expansion plans, the retailer may end up building an office in Charleston for regional support staff, shared Parker, who is already eyeing Georgetown, S.C., as the company expands up the coast and eventually intends to tap into the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area. “We have rebranded some of our existing kitchen locations into Parker’s Kitchen and will continue to do so as we remodel select sites to add more substantial foodservice,” he said. In total, Parker’s currently operates 63 convenience stores in Georgia and South Carolina. CSN

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NEW HORIZONS

What Does Gen Z Mean for Our Workplaces? Gen Zers differ from previous generations — and we can learn a thing or two from them A WHOLE NEW GENERATION has arrived and is entering the workforce. Let’s get to know Gen Z.

By the numbers, they make up 23.4 percent of the U.S. population and a third of the world population. It’s undeniable that they’re going to make a huge impact on the world, the economy and the workplace. By Sarah Alter, President & CEO, Network of Executive Women

Anticipating this, Network of Executive Women, in collaboration with Deloitte, recently released its Generation Z Report. Based on data from more than 1,500 Gen Z respondents, the report separates the myths about Gen Zers from the facts, and takes a deep dive into how members of this generation will impact our workplaces.

What Do We Know About Generation Z? Most of us aren’t total strangers to this rising generation. Many of us have — or until recently had — Gen Zers in our homes. In fact, my own children are Gen Zers and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve found this generation so fascinating: the world they know is vastly different from the one I came up in. They grew up totally immersed in technology; they watched their parents struggle financially during the most devasting points of the 2008 recession; and as they’ve grown, they’ve been cognizant of the rising costs of living and higher education.

What I love about the findings presented in this report is that they give a threedimensional and nuanced look at who Gen Zers are and how they think about the world of work. Here are some of the key findings, in a nutshell: • Gen Zers don’t want to be put into a box: One key difference between Gen Zers and past generations is that while they’re willing to sacrifice some level of personal fulfillment for financial stability, they aren’t interested in a job that puts them into a box. They want to expand their skills and actively seek opportunities to do so. • Gen Zers are diverse…and they care about diversity: Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history, but they’re also diverse in their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. They prioritize diversity and look at it as more than just a box to be checked, and they expect diversity in marketing, and business, as well. • Gen Zers care about education: Gen Zers consider a traditional four-year college education highly important and are quickly becoming the most educated generation (and indebted) generation in history. One of the most interesting findings to me is that Gen Zers are the generation most likely to demand a shift in the power dynamic between employees and employers. The report predicts that shrinking talent pools, combined with the need for next-generation skills, will put incoming employees into a position to ask for the things they want out of the workplace. Gen Z is different from previous generations. Gen Zers don’t want to start their own businesses or work from home like the millennials who preceded them. What they do want is to lend their skills to companies that will offer them flexibility and the chance to act entrepreneurially in personalized, rather than cookie-cutter, roles. These young people are attracted to opportunities that will keep them

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interested while allowing them to continue developing their skills.

Without speaking truth to power and demanding what we want, drastic change won’t come.

Many Gen Zers look to tech as an industry where they can attain these things. Out of the 1,500 surveyed, 51 percent of respondents ranked tech as a top industry to work in. Interestingly, only 34 percent of Gen Z females seek technology roles, compared to 73 percent of Gen Z males. This will certainly have implications for tech companies aiming to bolster diversity among their ranks.

To read more about our findings and suggested tactical actions for employers, download the full Generation Z Report at newonline.org. CSN

Organizations that want to attract young talent are going to need to change their approaches to hiring, developing and retaining their workforce. They’ll also need to focus on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces and consider their reputation with Gen Zers before they try to attract them. They may even need to create latticed career paths with multiple work formats, or introduce internal marketplaces to match projects to needed skillsets. This sounds like drastic change, and if you know me, you also know that I’m not afraid of change. Businesses should be prepared to make changes to create workplaces that attract all kinds of employees and keep them happy, too.

What Can We Learn From Generation Z? As I’ve toured the country and discussed this groundbreaking report, I’ve thought a lot about the impact that Gen Zers are making on the world of work. There’s something very admirable, to me, about following one’s interests, staying true to one’s beliefs, and asking for what one wants in life. At work, too. Those are the hallmarks of this new generation, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what they’ll bring to the workplace. I can’t help thinking that we, as women, can learn a lot from this generation! There’s something so powerful about being confident in your needs and being brave enough to voice them in your workplace. Asking for what we want could be the key to attaining gender parity.

Convenience Store News is pleased to continue this series of educational columns by the Network of Executive Women (NEW), coinciding with the annual CSNews Top Women in Convenience awards given out each fall. Forty-two female managers, executives and directors who work in the convenience store industry were honored in our 2019 program. In addition to being a presentation sponsor for the Top Women in Convenience program, NEW and CSNews have partnered to develop this series of columns directed at helping corporate leaders drive more inclusive company cultures. 2019 SPONSORS Founding & Presenting Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing nearly 13,000 in 22 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.

NOV

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HOT PRODUCTS SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Hemp Products

80

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HOT PRODUCTS SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Gourmet Pet Treats

General Merchandise

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HOT PRODUCTS SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Age Verifier

Free Receipt Paper Program

Beef Jerky

IF YOU HAVE A ADVERTISE IT HERE!! Terry Kanganis: 201-855-7615

82 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


CLASSIFIEDS

Credit Card Processing / Merchant Services

NOVE MBE R

201 6

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83


CLASSIFIEDS

Services

84 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


CLASSIFIEDS

Credit Card Processing / Merchant Services

NOVE MB E R

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CLASSIFIEDS

Air Vacs

C-Store Recruiters

86 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


CLASSIFIEDS

ATMs

Air Vacs

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CLASSIFIEDS

For Sale

Services

88 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m

Food Sign


CLASSIFIEDS

Credit Card Processors

Plastics

Petroleum/Equiment

Age Verifier

NOVE MBE R

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CLASSIFIEDS

Age Verifier

Looking for ideas to promote your product or services? Need help creating an ad that fits your needs without spending a fortune with an advertising agency?

We are here to help, whether it be in the classified ad section, an ad in the main pages, or online. Call or email with any questions or for pricing. We can handle all aspects of your ad from conception to print in a fraction of the cost that agences charge!

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201.855.7615

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Sunglasses


CLASSIFIEDS

ATM’s

Looking for ideas to promote your product or services? Need help creating an ad that fits your needs without spending a fortune with an advertising agency?

We are here to help, whether it be in the classified ad section, an ad in the main pages, or online. Call or email with any questions or for pricing. We can handle all aspects of your ad from conception to print in a fraction of the cost that agences charge!

Our ads get results! CALL TERRY KANGANIS TODAY-

201.855.7615

tkanganis@ensembleIQ.com

United States Postal Service

13. Publication Title

2. Publication Number

Convenience Store News

5. Number of Issues Published Annually

12

Monthly 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication

(Not printer) (Street, city, county, state, and ZIP+4)

Extent and Nature of Circulation

10/1/2019

8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher

Total Number of Copies

(Net press run)

No. Copies of Single Issue

During Preceding 12 Months

Published Nearest to Filing Date

87,912

86,998

60,236

54,694

(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing and Internet re-

Contact Person

(Not printer)

Telephone

773-992-

b.

quests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions

Legitimate Paid

employer requests, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies.)

Paid and/Or

(2) In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541

Requested

(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing and Internet re-

Distribution

quests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions

(By Mail

employer requests, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies.)

and

(3) Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter

Outside

Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS

the Mail)

(4) Requested Copies Distributed By Other Mail Classes Through the USPS

c.

Total Paid and/or Requested Distribution

(Do not leave blank)

(Name and complete mailing address)

[Sum of 15b. (1), (2), (3), and (4)]

Paula Lashinksky EnsembleIQ One GateWay Center 11-43, Raymond Plaza, 16th floor Newark, NJ 07102

0

0

0

0

0

0

60,236

54,694

27,676

32,304

0

0

(e.g. First-Class Mail)

9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor

(1) Outside County Nonrequested Copies as stated on PS Form 3541 Sample Copies, Requests Over 3 years old, Requests induced by a d.

Premium Sales and Requests including Association Requests, Names

Nonrequested

obtained from Business Directories, Lists, and other sources)

(Name and complete mailing address)

Distribution

(2) In-County Nonrequested Copies as stated on PS Form 3541 (inc

Lisa Lisanti EnsembleIQ One GateWay Center 11-43, Raymond Plaza, 16th floor Newark, NJ 07102

(By Mail and

Sample Copies, Requests Over 3 years old, Requests induced by a

Outside

Premium Sales and Requests including Association Requests, Names

Editor

Average No. Copies Each Issue

(1) Outside-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 354

$125.00

EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631 Publisher

a.

6. Annual Subscription Price

Neal Kahn

EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

Sep-19

15.

3. Filing Date

0194-8733

4. Issue Frequency

14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below

Convenience Store News

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Requester Publications Only) 1. Publication Title

obtained from Business Directories, Lists, and other sources) the Mail)

(3) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Cl Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, Nonrequester Copies mailed in excess of 10%

Managing Editor (Name and complete mailing address)

Limit mailed at Standard Mail or Package Services Rates)

Danieelle Romano EnsembleIQ One GateWay Center 11-43, Raymond Plaza, 16th floor Newark, NJ 07102

(4) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include Pickup Stands, Trade Shows, Showrooms and Other Sourc e.

Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3), and (4))

f.

10. Owner (Do not leave blank. If the publication is owned by a corporation, give the name and address of the corporation immediately followed by the names and addresses of all stockholders owning or holding 1 percent or more of the total amount of stock. If not owned by a corporation, give the names and addresses of the individual owners. If owned by a partnership or other unincorporated firm, give its name and address as well as those of each individual owner. If the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address.) Full Name

Complete Mailing Address

EnsembleIQ

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

Total Distribution (Sum of 15c. And 15e.)

g.

32,304

87,912

86,998

0

0

87,912

86,998

68.5%

62.9%

(See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3)) Total (Sum of 15f. And 15g.) i.

Percent Paid and/or Requested (15c. Divided by 15f. times 100)

0 0

27,676

Copies not Distributed

h.

0 0

PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 2 of 4) 16

Electronic Copy Circulation

a.

Requested and Paid Electronic Copies

b.

Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (line 16a)

c.

11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities. If none, check box --------> None

Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (line 16a) Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic C

d.

(16b divided by 16c X 100)

Full Name

Complete Mailing Address

EnsembleIQ

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

x

Average No. Copies Each Issue

No. Copies of Single Issue

During Preceding 12 Months

Published Nearest to Filing Date

6,558

4,963

66,794

59,657

94,470

91,961

70.7%

64.9%

I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are legitmate requests or paid copies.

17. Publication of Statement of Ownership Publication of the Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the issue of this publication. 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner

12. Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rate) (Check one) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: x Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months o Has Changed During the Preceding 12 Months (Publisher must submit explanation of change with this statement) PS Form 3526, July 2014(Page 1 of 3 (Instructions Page 3)) PSN 7530-01-000-9931

PRIVACY NOTICE: See our privacy policy on www.usps.com

Date

I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 3 of 4)

NOVE MB E R

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CLASSIFIEDS

Equipment / Supplies

Equipment / Supplies

Equipment / Supplies

Wholesale Refrigeration

Check Guarantee Services

ADINDEX Altria Group Distribution .................................2, 23

Premier Manufacturing ....................................31, 57

Blue E-Cigs ...........................................................95

Prince Castle Inc. ................................................21

Cookies United ....................................................47

Reynolds American Trade Marketing Services ............................................15, 33, 39

DayMark .................................................................27 Swedish Match North America LLC ............11, 41 E-Alternative Solutions ....................................19, 35 Swisher International ........................................7 Forte Products ....................................................59 The Hershey Company .....................................9 Liggett Vector Brands ......................................45 The Procter & Gamble Distributing Co. .....25 Living Essentials .................................................Cover, 17 The Wonderful Company ................................43 Mars Chocolate NA/ Wrigley.........................5 TransAct Technologies .....................................53 McLane Company ..............................................Back Cover Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks ......................13 Miracle Nutritional Products ..........................65 Universal Merchants ..........................................Outsert Mondelez International ....................................63 National Confectioners Association ...........26

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Phone 773-992-4450 Fax 773-992-4455 www.ensembleiq.com

92 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


Caetlyn Roberts Giant Food

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INSIDE THE CONSUMER MIND

Technology-Powered Shopping Ironically, c-store shoppers are experiencing new convenience services in other channels Despite being known as convenience stores, c-store shoppers are experiencing new technologies and services intended to improve convenience in other retail channels. The 2019 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study asked c-store shoppers about their experiences with new convenience services, such as self-checkout, mobile payment and home delivery, in the convenience channel as well as in other retail channels. Here’s a look at the findings.

The convenience channel is relatively strong in shoppers experiencing mobile coupons/ discounts (33%) and mobile payment apps (31%), but lags other retail channels in self-checkout, drive-thru, online ordering, and home delivery. Channels Where Shopping Services Have Been Experienced C-STORE

GROCERY

DRUG

CLUB

Home delivery

7%

27%

5%

Order online, pickup in-store

9%

18%

7%

Order online, pickup curbside

7%

37%

5%

Drive-thru

12%

6%

19%

MASS

DOLLAR

QSR

COFFEE SHOP

9%

27%

3%

43%

4%

10%

47%

3%

37%

13%

8%

34%

3%

40%

10%

2%

4%

2%

80%

33%

Self checkout at register

13%

64%

6%

17%

57%

3%

11%

2%

Self checkout with app

14%

30%

5%

19%

30%

4%

32%

13%

Mobile coupon/discount

33%

56%

22%

12%

38%

13%

35%

17%

Mobile payment app

31%

40%

18%

17%

39%

10%

34%

25%

If available at convenience stores, c-store shoppers say they would be most likely to utilize self-checkout at a kiosk, mobile coupons/discounts, and drive-thru. Currently, just 13% say they’ve used self-checkout at a kiosk in a c-store, but 52% would be willing to do so. % of Shoppers Ranking Likelihood Grocery stores, mass merchants and quick-service restaurants appear to be leading the way in providing consumers with opportunities to shop beyond the traditional means.

(from 1-8 Where 1 is ‘Most Likely’ and 8 is ‘Least Likely’)

52% 48%

Ranked in Top 3 Ranked 1st

46% 35%

22% 17%

Mobile coupon/ discount

30%

18% 9%

Self checkout at register

33%

Drive-thru

Order online, pickup in-store

8% Self checkout with app

29% 11%

7% Order online, pickup curbside

Across all retail channels, women are more likely than men to have tried in-store pickup (47% vs. 37%), curbside pickup (27% vs. 21%) and 47% vs. 37% 27% vs. 21% drive-thru (58% vs. 51%).

Home delivery

27%

8% Mobile payment app

58% vs. 51%

Source: Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle Study, 2019

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WE KNOW YOUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE FRESH, SAFE PRODUCTS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. SO IS OURS. As a convenience store operator, nothing is more important than ensuring fresh, safe products for your customers. That’s why we’ve invested over $1 billion in an end-to-end cold chain solution with a multi-step monitoring process that constantly validates product temperatures from the time they arrive at our distribution centers until they’re delivered to our retailers. It’s why we’re a member of IFDA and GS1— organizations dedicated to foodservice supply chain integrity and traceability. And, it’s why all of our facilities undergo independent audits by Mérieux NutriSciences, a leading certification body and auditing provider for the global supply chain. To learn more about our custom cold chain solution, visit mclaneco.com/coldchain

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WINNING THE

SHARE-OFSTOMACH BATTLE Convenience store, grocery and fast food shoppers have different priorities and preferences, so how can c-store operators get them all in the door?

HIGHLIGHTS FROM CONVENIENCE FOODSERVICE EXCHANGE 2019

NOVEMBER 2019 CSNEWS.COM

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11/4/19 12:25 PM


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EDITOR’S NOTE

It’s a Big Big Foodservice World There’s no one path to success, and c-store operators should view this as an opportunity rather than a stumbling block convenience store operators must make are no longer as simple as whether to get into foodservice at all, or if they should team up with a brand partner or launch their own proprietary program. There is so much more to consider, and so much more at stake.

THE DECISIONS TODAY’S

Retailers must identify early on who their target customer is, and then keep revisiting this question as they progress in their foodservice journey. The convenience channel must do more than just cater to consumers already willing to stop into a c-store for a snack or meal. If the competitive lines haven’t disappeared entirely, they’re extremely blurred. C-stores are going up against grocery stores and fast food outlets — as well as one another — to win greater share of stomach. Gaining ground requires understanding the differences between shopper types and what appeals to them at different establishments (see page 6). Along with gaining a deep understanding of existing and potential customers, convenience foodservice operators need to keep pace with constantly evolving taste trends, as well as advances in foodservice technology. The breadth of things to consider can be overwhelming, but the good news is there’s no shortage of experts willing to break down detailed knowledge into easily digestible material. Attendees of the recent 2019 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange event were able to learn from each other, from presentations by a variety of experts, and from

structured networking opportunities (see page 14). Technology is one method through which retailers can streamline their labor process, shore up their defenses against food safety problems, optimize their offerings, and more. The key is matching the right innovations with their current and future needs. Frictionless technology may hold widespread promise for the convenience channel, but should it come in the form of mobile ordering, delivery, easy payment process, or all of the above? Each operator must answer for themselves. There is no one path to success. C-store retailers face hundreds of questions to determine what their foodservice programs are today, what they can be, and how to make the journey to get from A to B. There is no single right answer; there are plenty of wrong ones. But rather than become paralyzed with indecision, retailers should embrace the opportunity to combine best practices with their own creativity and build their own unique foodservice offering. It’s a big big world of foodservice out there, but c-store operators have the tools they need to carve out a place for themselves in it. We’re looking forward to paying you a visit and seeing — and tasting — where your creativity leads you.

For comments, please contact Angela Hanson, Associate Editor, at (201) 855-7619 or ahanson@ensembleiq.com.

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS (2013-2019)

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Brett Atherton Bolla Management

2018 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award Finalist, Best Editorial Use of Data, June 2017

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

Laura Aufleger OnCue Express

2018 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Website Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2017 Business to Business, Editorial Use of Data, June 2017 2017 Eddie Awards, Folio: magazine Winner, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, May 2017 Honorable Mention, Business to Business, Retail, Single/Series of Articles, June 2016 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

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Bronze, Best Original Research, June 2015

2014 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2013 Business to Business, Retail, Single Article, February 2013

2016 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best How-To Article, March 2015 Silver, Best Original Research, June 2015

2013 Eddie Award Honorable Mention, Folio: magazine Business to Business, Retail, Full Issue, October 2012

Chris Hartman Rutter’s Ray Johnson Speedee Mart Jack Lewis GPM Midwest

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Gold, Best Special Supplement, November 2014 Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014

Ruth Ann Lilly GPM Investments Danielle Mattiussi Maverik Inc. Vito Maurici McLane Co. Inc. Richard Mione GPM Southeast Jonathan Polonsky Plaid Pantries Inc. Greg Scriver Kwik Trip Inc. Bill Stein Core-Mark Roy Strasburger Strasburger Retail

2016 Trade Association Business Publications Intl. Tabbie Awards Silver, Front Cover Illustration, June 2015

NOV

3.FSG_EditorsNote_CSN_1119.indd 2

Edward Davidson ER Davidson & Associates (7-Eleven Inc., retired) Jim Hachtel Eby-Brown Co.

2015 American Society of Business Press Editors, National Azbee Awards Silver, Best Profile (long form), February 2014

2013 American Society of Business Press Editors, Midwest Regional Azbee Awards Bronze, Best Editorial/Commentary, July 2012

Rick Crawford Green Valley Grocery

Joe Lewis ExtraMile Convenience Stores

20 1 9

Guide to Foodservice

3

11/4/19 12:25 PM


CONTENTS NOV 19

EDITOR’S NOTE

3 It’s a Big Big Foodservice World There’s no one path to success, and c-store operators should view this as an opportunity rather than a stumbling block. COVER STORY

6 Winning the Share-of-Stomach Battle Convenience store, grocery and fast food shoppers have different priorities and preferences, so how can c-store operators get them all in the door? FEATURE

14 Innovation Zone Presenters at the 2019 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange guided retailers down paths of change as the category inevitably evolves. EXPERT’S VIEW

18 Mine Your C-store’s Hidden Gold Grow foodservice sales by optimizing menus and menu communications.

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax: (773) 992-4455 www.csnews.com Direct Mailing Address for Convenience Store News: 11-43 Raymond Plaza West, 16th floor, Newark, NJ 07102 BRAND MANAGEMENT Vice President/Group Brand Director Paula Lashinsky (917) 446-4117 plashinsky@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Editorial Director (201) 855-7606

Don Longo dlongo@ensembleiq.com

Editor-in-Chief (201) 855-7608

Linda Lisanti llisanti@ensembleiq.com

Senior News Editor (201) 855-7618

Melissa Kress mkress@ensembleiq.com

Associate Editor (201) 855-7619

Angela Hanson ahanson@ensembleiq.com

Associate Managing Editor (201) 855-7604

Danielle Romano dromano@ensembleiq.com

Contributing Editor (303) 741-3377

Renée M. Covino reneek@aol.com

Contributing Editor (201) 280-2614

Tammy Mastroberte tmastroberte@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Associate Brand Director & Northeast Sales Manager (508) 385-2524

Rachel McGaffigan rmcgaffigan@ensembleiq.com

Associate Brand Director & Western Sales Manager (330) 840-9557

Ron Lowy rlowy@ensembleiq.com

Associate Publisher & Midwest Sales Manager Kelly Fischer (773) 992-4464 kfischer@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 EVENTS Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several (860) 830-8321 eseveral@ensembleiq.com AUDIENCE List Rental (847) 492-1350 ext.318

MeritDirect Elizabeth Jackson

Subscriber Services/Single-Copy Purchases Omeda (847) 564-1468 CVN@Omeda.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production (877) 687-7321 Creative Director (973) 607-1320

Derek Estey destey@ensembleiq.com Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com

Advertising/Production Manager (773) 992-4418

Ed Ward eward@ensembleiq.com

Art Director (973) 607-1321

Lauren DiMeo ldimeo@ensembleiq.com

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several

CONVENIENCE STORE NEWS AFFILIATIONS Premier Trade Press Exhibitor

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

4 Guide to Foodservice C S N E W S . c o m

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COVER STORY

WINNING THE SHARE-

OF-STOMACH BATTLE Convenience store, grocery and fast food shoppers have different priorities and preferences, so how can c-store operators get them all in the door? By Angela Hanson

6 Guide to Foodservice C S N E W S . c o m

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AS CONVENIENCE STORE OPERATORS rise up in the foodservice echelon, and the lines between channels continue to blur, all foodservice retailers represent some form of competition to c-stores. But by recognizing what shoppers desire from their prepared food and beverage purchases, c-store operators can boost sales, improve customer satisfaction, and gain share from competitors.

Beth Brickel, senior research director on the Insights and Innovation Team at EnsembleIQ, parent company of Convenience Store News, shared insights gleaned from new exclusive research at the 2019 CSNews Convenience Foodservice Exchange event. The national study identified and created profiles of shoppers who primarily visit c-stores, grocery stores or fast food outlets, and then compared these profiles in regards to their thoughts on prepared foods and prepared beverages in various establishments.

Across all profiles, the research showed that prepared foods and beverages are considered "a lifeline" in shoppers' busy lifestyles, which often leave them with no time or energy to cook at home.

Who’s Who? The three shopper personas have a great deal in common, but do show notable differences when it comes to employment status, education, and average age. The typical c-store foodservice shopper is the most likely to be an employed millennial or member of Generation X, while the grocery foodservice shopper stands out for being the most likely to have a college degree or higher level of education. The fast food foodservice shopper has the highest mean age at 44.6 years old. When asked about food items purchased within the last month, c-store shoppers reported a more diverse selection that largely consisted of traditional c-store fare, such as pizza (38 percent

FOODSERVICE SHOPPER PERSONAS Male C-STORE FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

GROCERY FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

FAST FOOD FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

Employed

51%

72%

Female

Employed

52%

65%

Male

Employed

51%

62%

Education

college degree or higher

46% Education

college degree or higher

Average Income

62k

$

Average Income

Ethnicity Caucasian

79%

65k

75%

Education

Average Income

Ethnicity

36% Millennial 35% Gen X 23% Boomer 3% Gen Z 3% Silent

Age Mean 44.6

37% Gen X 33% Millennial 23% Boomer 4% Silent 3% Gen Z

62k

$

Caucasian

78%

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Age Mean 43.9

Ethnicity

$

50%

38% Millennial 38% Gen X 20% Boomer 5% Gen Z

Caucasian

56% college degree or higher

Age Mean 41.5

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COVER STORY

purchased), fresh baked goods and breakfast sandwiches/wraps (both 30 percent). The fast food shopper’s list was dominated by core items like burgers (74 percent) and French fries (67 percent). And unsurprisingly, grocery shoppers were most likely to purchase dinner items such as chicken (56 percent) and salad (35 percent), as well as fresh baked goods (42 percent). Pizza is popular across all three shopper personas, the research found. It was the only product to make it into all three lists of the top five items purchased in the past month. To quench their thirst, c-store, grocery and fast food foodservice shoppers were all most likely to have purchased a soft drink within the last month. However, generational and gender preferences within the shopper profiles appear to drive purchases of other beverages. Among c-store foodservice shoppers, millennials were more likely to buy energy drinks, while female shoppers were more likely to buy slush/frozen dispensed drinks. Millennial fast food shoppers were more likely to purchase espresso/cappuccino drinks.

TOP 10 REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING FOODSERVICE FROM C-STORES • FAST FOOD FOODSERVICE SHOPPER • GROCERY FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

43% 39%

Food freshness

39% 36%

Food quality

35% 31%

Prefer other stores

22% 30%

Lack of healthy options Doesn't look good

34% 27%

Prefer not purchasing c-store food

29% 26%

Not part of routine

26% 25% 29% 23%

Too expensive Beverage freshness

20% 21%

Beverage quality

20% 19%

What Do They Want? On average, convenience stores scored well when shoppers evaluated the channel on key satisfaction drivers. Still, c-store performance could be improved in taste, freshness, food safety, appearance and quality. Customization also could use some improvement, particularly since this is becoming a standard expectation for the younger generations.

Prepared foods and beverages are considered a "lifeline" in shoppers' busy lifestyles, which often leave them with no time or energy to cook at home.

LIKELIHOOD OF MENU OPTION CHANGES TO AFFECT PURCHASES OF C-STORE PREPARED FOODS AND/OR BEVERAGES GROCERY FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

FAST FOOD FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

38% 33% 35% 30% 31% 27% 28% 28%

Healthier options

Wider variety

Well-known brands

Branded fast food

18%

15%

More kid-friendly options

16%

15%

More sweet options

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COVER STORY

To improve sales, convenience retailers need to understand what prevents non-c-store shoppers from making foodservice purchases at their stores. Food freshness and food quality top fast food and grocery shoppers' lists of reasons not to buy c-store food. Fast food shoppers were also likely to cite a preference for other stores, or say that the food doesn't look good at c-stores. Grocery shoppers are concerned with a lack of healthy options. Appealing to these consumers goes beyond changing the actual food. Perception matters as much as reality, with perceptions of freshness driven by store and merchandising cues, particularly store cleanliness and having a clear/uncluttered store, both of which were listed by 90 percent of study participants. The care and attention that employees give the store itself is an indicator to consumers of how they will approach food preparation.

Food freshness and food quality top fast food and grocery shoppers' lists of reasons not to buy c-store food.

Better-for-you options and more choices are also among the factors that would prompt non-c-store shoppers to make a purchase. Offering “a selection of healthier options” was cited by 38 percent of grocery shoppers and 33 percent of fast food shoppers, while “wider variety” was cited by 35 percent of grocery shoppers and 30 percent of fast food shoppers. Freshness continues to be paramount as well, with preparation date and freshness information emerging as a top motivator, listed by 39 percent of grocery shoppers and 34 percent of fast food shoppers.

LIKELIHOOD OF INFORMATION & PREPARATION CHANGES TO AFFECT PURCHASES OF C-STORE PREPARED FOODS AND/OR BEVERAGES GROCERY FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

FAST FOOD FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

39% 34% 33% 31% 30% 30% 30% 22% 12%

31% 28% 26% 26% 27% 25% 13%

Preparation date & freshness info Ability to customize order

Info about how prepared

Easier to eat on the go

More nutritional information

More appetizing packaging

Larger portions

Smaller portions

LIKELIHOOD OF PRICE & ENVIRONMENT CHANGES TO AFFECT PURCHASES OF C-STORE PREPARED FOODS AND/OR BEVERAGES GROCERY FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

46% 43% 38% 34% 32% 29% 22% 19%

FAST FOOD FOODSERVICE SHOPPER

44% 47% 41% 29% 37% 32% 23% 19%

Cleaner store Lower prices Cleaner bathrooms

Better customer service More sales/promotions Free samples More seating options

Better signage

10 Guide to Foodservice C S N E W S . c o m

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COVER STORY

The Most Important Change C-stores Could Make to Encourage More Frequent Purchases of Prepared Foods and/or Beverages (Responses from convenience store shoppers only)

32%

The ability to customize orders, information about how food is prepared, and easier to eat while on the go are other top motivators. When it comes to the price and environment, grocery and fast food shoppers care about price and environment more than customer service, sales and promotions, or free samples. More than four in 10 non-c-store shoppers listed a cleaner store as being important (46 percent of grocery shoppers and 44 percent of fast food shoppers) and the same goes for lower prices (43 percent of grocery shoppers and 47 percent of fast food shoppers). Among c-store shoppers themselves, the most requested change to encourage more visits is greater selection/variety, as they are interested in trying new things and diversifying their eating habits. Food quality/freshness, opportunities to save money (through lower prices or more promotions/ deals) and more healthy options are also top of mind. These customers also care about the foodservice environment, including the availability of a drive-thru. Increasing satisfaction among heavy c-store shoppers must remain a focus for operators, particularly when it comes to female shoppers, who are less likely to be satisfied with their c-store foodservice experience. Retailers should think about the entire household rather than just individual consumers.

say Selection/variety

21% 17% 10% 10%

Food quality/freshness Financial More healthy options Foodservice area

Nearly a third of shoppers report using restaurant review sites and 30 percent use mapping sites. Although 48 percent of shoppers make solo purchase decisions, the other half are influenced by their partner (49 percent) or children (41 percent) — and that influence is the most powerful as it relates to dietary needs. Purchase influence is foremost in the form of word of mouth, as 47 percent of shoppers listen to recommendations from friends or family when deciding where to purchase food and beverages. However, in today's forever-connected world, digital sources are important, too. Nearly a third of shoppers report using restaurant review sites and 30 percent use mapping sites, which frequently offer much more than just directions. C-store shoppers are more likely to check social media compared to either grocery or fast food shoppers. The importance of digital recommendations is only likely to grow over time, as millennials are significantly more likely to turn to digital sources for guidance. CSN

12 Guide to Foodservice C S N E W S . c o m

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FEATURE

Innovation Zone Presenters at the 2019 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange guided retailers down paths of change as the category inevitably evolves By Angela Hanson FOODSERVICE RETAILERS must

keep growing and changing or they'll fall permanently behind and lose the opportunity to do so. That fact became clear during a variety of presentations at the 2019 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange, held June 19-20 in Dallas. The event's three Innovation Zone presentations gave attendees virtual blueprints on ways they can set themselves apart and become more innovative in key areas of foodservice. Sweet baked goods (SBGs) is one such area, as convenience stores are the second largest quick-service restaurant channel for SBGs, and growing, according to Jennifer LaPaugh, senior director of global market research and insights at Dawn Foods. What’s more, SBG servings are growing at a faster rate than c-store traffic.

can be complex and confusing; simpler options offer consumers a break from the complexity. • #FoodieExpressions: Food culture has transformed food experiences into Instagram-worthy events. • Mashup mania: Adventurous eaters like to experiment with food and flavor fusions, creating new items like cronuts and grilled cheese doughnuts. • Enlightened eating: Food can be used to fuel, heal and nourish as consumers find a personal balance between health and indulgence. • Transparency 360: People want to know where their food comes from and what ingredients are used; they also consider it important to support local businesses.

LaPaugh identified several key market trends that food-forward retailers can capitalize on: • No passport required: Global flavors are no longer foreign, and a connected world provides easy access to diverse flavors and cuisines. • Simple & pure: Leading healthy lives

Jennifer LaPaugh of Dawn Foods, Andrew Robbins of Paytronix (top), and Ryan Yost of Avery Dennison. 14 Guide to Foodservice

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FEATURE

Food safety is often thought of as an area that requires practical thinking, but it too can be a zone for innovation, especially as suppliers provide more ways to ensure safety via technology. Retailers can harness the power of accurate, shared data throughout the food industry supply chain to enable labor efficiency, food safety and sustainability, and enhance the consumer experience, according to Avery Dennison executives Ryan Yost, Pedro Garza and Bob Ayres. As food risks escalate, technology can be leveraged to solve business challenges. The use of RFID in labels, in particular, is a way of keeping things running smoothly by using scannable technology to quickly alert staff to any potential safety issues. Solutions are also available to retailers that remove much of the possibility for human error by

using cloud-connected information to ensure that accurate product information is available at the touch of a button. The final Innovation Zone presentation focused on frictionless engagement, which can include ordering ahead, delivery, subscriptions and smarter payment methods. Frictionless engagement is another opportunity to optimize convenience foodservice, as it allows companies to "meet the customer where they are," noted Andrew Robbins, president and co-founder of Paytronix Systems Inc. Robbins noted that 60 percent of U.S. consumers say they order delivery or takeout once a week, and 34 percent spend at least $50 per order when they do. Digital ordering and delivery as a whole have grown 300 times faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. Additionally, 52 percent of millennials say they would buy from c-stores more frequently if they had delivery options. While frictionless engagement frequently occurs via mobile apps, Robbins advised that retailers also need quality, responsive websites, because they can't only count on an app. CSN

Honoring a Foodservice Leader Kwik Trip Inc. Foodservice Director Paul Servais was presented the Foodservice Leader of the Year award at the 2019 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange. The 20-year Kwik Trip veteran served one year as a store leader and eight years as a district leader before stepping into the role of foodservice director. At the time of his promotion, La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip was "very green" in the foodservice category and was still developing its program to be consistent chainwide, Servais recalled.

CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo presented Paul Servais (right) with the Foodservice Leader of the Year award.

More than a decade later, Kwik Trip now boasts a stellar foodservice reputation and continuously strives for improvement. Recent initiatives include the launch of Kitchen Cravings, a line of take-home meals; delivery from select stores through a partnership with EatStreet; the development of a fried chicken program; and plans to more than double the size of its central commissary and add a test kitchen. "If you've never been to Kwik Trip's central commissary and bakery operation, you're really missing a tremendous sight," Convenience Store News Editorial Director Don Longo said as he presented Servais with his award. "I highly encourage you to visit one of the largest and technologically advanced facilities I've ever seen.” Longo also noted that Servais' leadership "has steered the entire Kwik Trip team to new heights in serving fresh, quality food to its guests." Under Servais' guidance, Kwik Trip was the first retailer in the convenience store space to make a commitment with Partnership for a Healthier America. The retailer also has been honored three times in CSNews’ annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program — twice as the overall Foodservice Innovator of the Year; first in 2015 and then again, this year. "Paul will be the first to tell you that the success of Kwik Trip is all about the entire team of co-workers that are driven to excellence throughout the company. But I've seen firsthand Paul's curiosity and thirst for knowledge at many of our Convenience Store News events and roundtables over the years,” Longo said. "And I admire his willingness to try new things, while always keeping the company grounded in the tried-and-true." 16 Guide to Foodservice

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EXPERT'S VIEW

Mine Your C-store's Hidden Gold Grow foodservice sales by optimizing menus and menu communications By Howland Blackiston, Principal, King-Casey

MOST CONVENIENCE STORE operators

know that foodservice sales should be one of the fastest-growing, most profitable segments of their business. They know that excellent foodservice offers are a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. And they know that quick-service restaurants (QSRs) can provide valuable foodservice lessons for c-stores because they’ve had 50-plus years of experience — both good and bad — that they can learn from. On the other hand, many operators may not know the importance of having a menu strategy and optimized menu communications. This is a pity because the “opportunity to optimize” is like a goldmine hidden in your store. Of course, you must perform some hard work to reap the riches. Success is based on data-driven research, consumer insights and strategic thinking. It is, most emphatically, not based only on pretty pictures. The three examples in this article should bring that point home. Two illustrate QSRs that discovered the goldmine, and a third shows how a company that partners with c-stores realized huge sales growth by using similar strategies.

Jamba Juice: Total Store Communications Earlier this year, Jamba announced a brand transformation, including dropping “Juice” from its name and doubling down on the healthfulness of its offerings. The company had become the market-leading “smoothie” brand, but a major internal research project uncovered some disturbing facts. Consumers found a disconnect between the “healthfulness” branding objectives and the actual menu communications. Clearly, there was a need to showcase new, healthful menu items, but the menuboard was difficult to navigate and/ or understand, and in-store communications were not used to support the menu.

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The first step was to develop a new menu strategy. Menu categories and items were evaluated and prioritized based on hard data such as sales and profits, industry trends and consumer research. Then, the team — composed of senior Jamba executives and King-Casey — performed an analysis to determine which menu items would stay (or go), how the items should be merchandised, and how to leverage store communications to achieve the brand’s business objectives. Next, new menuboard schematics were designed to reflect the new menu strategy and to prioritize specific menu categories and individual items. The design leveraged “hot zones” — those menuboard areas where customers are most likely to look first when ordering. They should communicate your best-selling and most profitable items. Two alternative menuboards were tested in nine stores prior to system rollout. This validation testing resulted in increased sales of high-profit items, higher incidence of add-on sales, improved customer ease of use, and stronger “healthfulness” brand impression. Finally, the team worked with the store design group to develop “path-to-purchase” communications that reinforced the new strategy. These communications respond to the fact that consumers have different behaviors, attitudes and needs in different areas or zones of a store. Understanding and leveraging the “customer zone” concept is a major differentiator for improving sales.

Top 20 QSR: Test, Test & Re-Test This example provides further proof of the adage, “You can only improve what you can measure.” The QSR wanted to grow food sales with an emphasis on burgers and chicken, shift drive-thru to a positive margin contributor, improve customer perception of variety and value, and speed throughput. Accordingly, the team analyzed key performance metrics (financial and operational) and identified the menu categories and items with the greatest sales and profit potential. These recommendations were translated into alternative menuboard strategies, which optimized product placement and balanced space allocation to actual sales.

These strategies were first validated using quantitative consumer research. Then, the best strategy was tested for 18 weeks in 25 stores. The new strategy increased net sales, transactions and profit per check. It also led to a trade-up to premium sides and high-margin desserts. Extrapolated, the test results indicate a systemwide sales increase of $15 million.

C-store Partner: A Data-Driven Approach The biggest chicken chain you may have never heard of was founded in Louisiana 30 years ago, and has grown rapidly recently. Krispy Krunchy Chicken (KKC) now has 2,400 outlets in 46 states, most of which are licensed c-stores. Despite this growth, KKC knew it could do better. After a stakeholder survey found unhappiness with the menuboards, KKC pursued a path similar to our previous examples. They developed a new menu strategy, used a data-driven approach to optimize menu communications, and had consumers validate a selected strategy that was rolled out via digital menuboards. Payback was immediate: overall sales grew by significant double-digits; sales of high-profit, high-priority items increased; incidence of sides increased; and average checks increased. KKC CEO Neal Onebane says: “Our new menu strategy and the effective optimization of menu communications has contributed significantly to the growth in KKC sales and profits.” Connect the dots. If KKC had double-digit growth, so did its c-store partners’ chicken sales.

Lessons Learned Based on the above examples, the key takeaways for c-store operators are to: • Use data-driven consumer research to assess current offerings and identify new menu offerings where needed; • Develop a menu strategy that documents how the food and beverage items you offer will achieve your business goals; • Use the menu strategy to prioritize, organize and optimize your menuboard; and • Leverage customer zones in your store to reinforce menu strategy and communications. Howland Blackiston is a principal at King-Casey, a premier restaurant consulting firm specializing in quick-service restaurants, fast casuals and convenience stores. CSN 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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