CStore Decisions February 2023

Page 76

INSIDE Time Mart Rebrands to Movement Fuels …...10 Best Foodservice Launch Awards ...............32 2023 Best New Store Design Awards ...........54 February 2023 • CStoreDecisions.com CStoreDecisions®Decisions Solutions for Convenience Retailers The 2023 Foodservice Report With foodservice innovation in demand and inflation surging c-stores must balance competing priorities as they look to grow their food programs in the year ahead.
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Robert Buhler, President and CEO

Open Pantry Food Marts • Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Lisa Dell’Alba, President and CEO

Square One Markets • Bethlehem, Pa.

Raymond Huff, President

HJB Convenience Corp. • Lakewood, Colo.

Bill Kent, President and CEO

The Kent Cos. Inc. • Midland, Texas

Patrick Lewis, Managing Partner

Oasis Stop ‘N Go • Twin Falls, Idaho

Reilly Robinson Musser, VP, Marketing & Merchandising

Robinson Oil Corp. • Santa Clara, Calif.

Bill Weigel, CEO Weigel’s Inc. • Knoxville, Tenn.


Vernon Young (Board Chairman), President and CEO Young Oil Co. • Piedmont, Ala.

Joy Almekies, Senior Director of Food Services Global Partners • Waltham, Mass.

Mary Banmiller, Director of Retail Operations

Warrenton Oil Inc. • Truesdale, Mo.

Greg Ehrlich, President Beck Suppliers Inc. • Fremont, Ohio

Doug Galli, Vice President/General Manager

Reid Stores Inc./Crosby’s • Brockport, N.Y.

Derek Gaskins, Senior VP, Merchandising/Procurement

Yesway • Des Moines, Iowa

Joe Hamza, Chief Operating Officer Nouria Energy Corp. • Worcester, Mass.

Brent Mouton, President and CEO

Hit-N-Run Food Stores • Lafayette, La.


Kalen Frese (Board Chairman), Food Service Director Warrenton Oil Inc. • Warrenton, Mo.

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CStore Decisions (ISSN 1054-7797) is published monthly by WTWH Media, LLC., 1111 Superior Ave., Suite 2600, Cleveland, OH 44114, for petroleum company and convenience store operators, owners, managers. Qualified U.S. subscribers receive CStore Decisions at no charge. For others, the cost is $80 a year in the U.S. and Possessions, $95 in Canada, and $150 in all other countries. Single copies are available at $9 each in the U.S. and Possessions, $10 each in Canada and $13 in all other countries. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, OH, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CStore Decisions, 1111 Superior Avenue, 26th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44114. GST #R126431964, Canadian Publication Sales Agreement No: #40026880.

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Jeff Carpenter, Director of Education and Training

Cliff’s Local Market • Marcy, N.Y.

Megan Chmura, Director of Center Store

GetGo • Pittsburgh

Ryan Faville, Director of Purchasing

Stewart’s Shops Corp. • Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Caroline Filchak, Director, Wholesale Operations

Clipper Petroleum • Flowery Branch, Ga.

Cole Fountain, Director of Merchandise

Gate Petroleum Co. • Jacksonville, Fla.

Alex Garoutte, Director of Marketing

The Kent Cos. Inc. • Midland, Texas

Daillard Paris, Director of Petroleum Supply and Trading Sheetz Inc. • Altoona, Pa.

4 CSTORE DECISIONS February 2023 cstoredecisions.com
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20 The 2023 Foodservice Report

With foodservice innovation in demand and inflation surging c-stores must balance competing priorities as they look to grow their food programs in the year ahead.

Cover photo: Simon Xpress, courtesy of Laszlo Regos Photography

6 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com CONTENTS EDITOR’S MEMO 8 Growing Business Through Loyalty FRONT END 10 Time Mart Rebrands to Movement Fuels 16 Quick Bites: Food Trends to Watch in 2023 FOODSERVICE 32 Best Foodservice Launch Awards 40 Profits by the Cupful 44 Cain Brings Classic Culinary Skills to Wally’s CATEGORY MANAGEMENT 46 Tobacco: New Year, Old Battles, Di erent Outcomes? 52 Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise OPERATIONS 54 2023 Best New Store Design Awards TECHNOLOGY 62 Leveraging Loyalty Programs at Convenience Stores 66 Evolve Your Loyalty Strategy COVER STORY
BACK END 68 Product Showcase 73 Ad Index 74 Industry Perspective: Focusing on Food Safety February 2023 • Number 2 • Volume 34 CStoreDecisions® 54
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Growing Business Through Loyalty

While these difficult economic times continue to peck away at customers’ disposable income, higher fuel prices are eroding discretionary spending.

Gasoline prices nationally have increased steadily since the Biden Administration came into office, rising nearly $1.40 to an average of $3.41 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the AAA Gas Prices index at press time.

While global demand and the war in Ukraine are causing inflated prices, it is unlikely national averages will reach $5 a gallon again. Still, the fear of rising gas prices is enough to curb consumer spending. Fuel, like food, is one area consumers cannot avoid. This can work in the industry’s favor. While spending in areas like entertainment, electronics and apparel are going down, spending in other areas is going up.

For example, during the Great Recession of 2008, more people took vacations closer to home and opted to drive rather than paying higher airline costs. As a result, more dollars were spent locally sustaining small businesses. People may also hold off a year or two buying a new car but will require more repairs and maintenance on their current vehicles.


This “stay local” trend is great for convenience stores and presents an opportune time to revisit your loyalty programs. Higher fuel prices typically present a big opportunity for retailers that already have a fuel rewards program in place. If you don’t have a program in place, get one. Make it meaningful and tie it to other areas in your store that help benefit you, including your foodservice program and other high margin categories and product lines.

Customer rewards programs have become a core component of marketing for c-stores that drive incremental visits and sales. Rewards programs also enhance the customer experience, establishing brand loyalty and opening communication channels to engage customers directly. A carefully crafted rewards program presents an opportunity to boost targeted customer behavior, but not all rewards programs are created equal. The path to success requires a solid understanding of the core options and the potential offers

presented to customers. Poor planning makes success more challenging, and an unsuccessful rewards program will waste a great deal of money and manpower.

The foundation for a strong rewards program is built upon two elements: the core program, and the layers and promotions that leverage the program.

The core program is the heart of your loyalty initiative. It defines the rewards as well as how they are earned and redeemed. The core program is what the brand communicates to customers and what is displayed in your store. Successful core programs will motivate guests to visit more often and spend more of their budget with you. The core program can reward guests based on their spending or how often they visit the store. Design the program to align with your brand and your business objectives.

The second part of the program consists of the challenges, bonuses and occasion-based rewards that you can add to your core program. Examples of layers include traditional birthday rewards or contributing a portion of the customer’s spend to charity. These layered programs differentiate a brand and strengthen your relationship with consumers.

Meanwhile, promotions are targeted and timely offers that can be sent to boost traffic during slow periods, to increase customer spend, or even to win back lapsed customers. Promotions and layers are designed to influence buying behavior and introduce an element of fun for your loyalty members with interactions that create urgency.

I urge you to take the time to start exploring your loyalty program and the new options available. There are literally dozens of scaleable, customized solutions available for chains of all sizes. If you are not currently offering a rewards program you are already a step behind the market leaders, not only in convenience, but in the grocery industry as well. The time to act is right now.

Editor’s Memo
John Lofstock
8 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
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Time Mart Rebrands to Movement Fuels

Time Mart is rebranding to Movement Fuels and remodeling stores to provide a modern and unified look across locations.

Time Mart, which operates 35 c-stores in the greater Houston and Austin, Texas, area, is embarking on a chain-wide rebranding, becoming Movement Fuels. Along with the new name, Time Mart is updating its c-stores — inside and out — giving them a unified fresh and modern look that’s unique to its chain.

Currently, all of Time Mart’s locations don different looks and logos. When Time Mart transitions to Movement Fuels, all c-stores will sport the same new logo and design.

“When customers enter our stores, no matter the location, they will know they’re inside Movement Fuels,” said Navid Karedia, managing partner of Time Mart.

Customers won’t have to wait long to experience the new design. The first Movement Fuels is set to open this March in Kyle, Texas, and seven more Movement Fuels sites are scheduled to open later this year.


Time Mart was founded in 1985 by Navid’s father, Karim Karedia, who

10 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

Currently, all of Time Mart’s locations don different looks and logos. When Time Mart transitions to Movement Fuels, all c-stores will sport the same new logo and design.

came to the U.S. from Mumbai, India, with hopes of building a foundation for his family. Once in the U.S., Karim became a cashier at a c-store and worked his way up to a manager position.

Shortly after, Karim bought his first c-store location in Spring, Texas. From there, he grew his chain by acquiring two more gas stations. He eventually began building new stores throughout Texas.

As a second-generation family member of Time Mart, Navid is proud of the foundation his father built for him and his cousin, Imran Ali, who is also a managing partner and primarily oversees operations.

“Even though it’s a lot of responsibility taking over what my father started and put all of his hard work in, it feels great to know I have a company that my father established,” said Navid Karedia. “It’s also great that I can bring in my expertise and what I have learned over the years and incorporate that into the business to help it grow and evolve.”

After graduating college in 2015, Navid was immediately drawn to the real estate and retail industry.

“My role in the company is real estate acquisition and construction management,” he said. “Right

now, I (oversee) all business acquisitions and construction development of all Time Mart locations.”

Today, Time Mart is a part of Spades Co., founded by Navid. Spades Co.’s main focus is on the development of a broad range of asset classes with a focus on land, retail, hotels and single-family residential communities.


Time Mart offers customers a one-stop shop, as they can come in and purchase a range of items. When the chain completes its transformation to Movement Fuels, all locations will feature the same merchandise.

“When Time Mart was established, there were different logos being installed at different locations,” said Navid Karedia. “Since the look and feel were different, the customers were not able to recognize our Time Mart locations as one.”

That will all change when the chain rebrands to Movement Fuels, as each c-store will feature the same design.

“We want customers to recognize a Movement location, whether it be 30 or 100 miles away

12 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

Along with Tacotas and its co-branding companies, Time Mart will be adding bean-to-cup offerings.

because each store will have the same look and identity,” Karedia said. Movement Fuels will be incorporating new corrugated and niche paneling on the outside and inside of the new sites, giving it a more modern and unified look.

Aside from rebranding, Time Mart is still trying to continue growing as a company through new site developments. “Our growth strategy right now, along with the design, is to grow organically through

new-to-industry (NTI) sites,” said Karedia. The company is still in the final design process on the interior plans for Movement Fuels.

“We are going to use the same concept that we are using on the exterior on the interior to give it the same modern touch,” added Karedia. “We are hoping that Movement Fuels will be a brand that the consumer will easily be able to recognize as we grow our locations in Texas.”

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 13


When it comes to foodservice, Time Mart provides its customers with a unique proprietary menu, offering a foodservice program called Tacotas, a Mexican cuisine offering.

With Tacotas, customers can choose between tacos, burritos and quesadillas. However, if a customer isn’t in the mood for the Mexican food offering, they have the option to choose from one of Time Mart’s co-branded options.

“We co-brand our gas stations with Church’s Chicken, Subway and Sonic depending on site location to give our customers more options regarding foodservice,” said Karedia.

Along with Tacotas and its co-branding companies, Time Mart will be adding bean-to-cup offerings, IDC Pro Fountain Drink machines and other new beverage items to its NTI sites to provide a wide range of offerings.

While Time Mart does not offer a drive-through service, the company is working on partnering with thirdparty companies to provide delivery to customers.

“We are currently exploring a partnership with

14 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
While Time Mart does not offer a drive-through service, the company is working on partnering with third-party companies to provide delivery to customers.

DoorDash for a few of our locations for our Tacotas foodservice,” said Karedia. “For our co-brand sites, we have already signed up to use both UberEats and DoorDash.”


Two other concepts Time Mart is considering adding to Movement Fuels are self-checkout and a loyalty rewards app.

“As we transition from our old brand Time Mart to Movement Fuels, the goal is to create a loyalty rewards app so customers can recognize Movement Fuels across all of our locations,” said Karedia.

With Time Mart’s upcoming app, customers can earn rewards while shopping and buying items from the c-store.

“Our main focus today is keeping up with tech nology,” said Karedia. “We hope that with our loyalty app and other technological advancements (they) will assist our customers in recognizing us as one brand.”


As Time Mart transitions into Movement Fuels, Navid hopes to continue growing, whether that be through acquisitions or NTI sites.

“Our long-term goal is to expand into other states. We want to grow our brand so more consumers can come to love Movement Fuels,” said Karedia.

cstore decisions.com
Time Mart offers customers a one-stop shop, as they can come in and purchase a range of items.



C-store foodservice traffic is up as customers look to fast food as inflation drives up grocery bills. Meanwhile, trends like crunchy snacks and plant-forward menus are attracting customer attention.

• Visits to convenience stores for foodservice items grew 2% in the three months ending November 2022 compared to a year ago.

• Consumer spending on foodservice menu items at c-stores rose 8% for the three months ending November 2022 compared to a year ago.

• Units of foodservice items shipped to c-stores from broadline foodservice distributors grew 3% compared to a year ago.

• Dollars of foodservice products shipped to c-stores from broadline foodservice distributors increased 13% compared to a year ago.


• The morning daypart at c-stores grew traffic by 3%.

• The lunch daypart at c-stores saw traffic rise 2%.

• The dinner daypart at c-stores saw foodservice visits grow 2%.

Source: The NPD Group, December 2022


Frito-Lay’s U.S. Trend Index found customers prefer:

• Crunchy Snacks (70%)

• Sweet Snacks (66%)

• Salty Snacks (61%)

• Filling Snacks (53%)


Customers are increasing their searches for fast food, while searching less often for organic food and grocery shopping, according to data from Taboola, which pointed out that, due to inflation, fast food purchases may be more affordable today than a grocery bill. Over the past year, fast food searches grew by 82%.

• Searches for Wendy’s saw a 130% increase.

• Searches for McDonald's had an 82% increase.

• Searches for organic food decreased 103%.

• Searches for grocery shopping had a 155% decrease.


Customers can expect to see the following trends on menus in 2023:

• Seasonal Plant-Forward Menus

• Contemporary Dining Styles

• Inspiration for Modern Menus

• Sustainability Momentum

• Foodservice Retail Fusion

Source: Culinary Visions, October 2022


WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 29 key metrics to determine the best and least expensive cities for foodies, evaluating affordability, accessibility of high-quality restaurants, food festivals per capita, craft breweries and wineries per capita, and more.

Some of the best foodie cities in America include: Portland, Ore. • Orlando, Fla. • Miami San Francisco • Austin, Texas


Source: Taboola, January 2023, www.taboola.com

Source: WalletHub, “2022’s Best Foodie Cities In America,” October 2022

16 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
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9:00 AM

1:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Golf Outing at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa


NAG/YEO Board Meeting

NAG Networking Reception

NAG Opening Night Dinner

Registration/Info Desk Open


Welcome/Conference Overview

President | Young Oil Co.

Executive Director | NAG

GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #1: Developing and Refining Your Corporate Culture Strategy and culture are among the most important responsibilities for leaders in the workplace as they focus on the never-ending quest to maintain e ectiveness. Strategy o ers a formal logic for the company’s goals, and culture expresses these goals through values and beliefs. A strong company culture instantly reflects the values of a company, its leaders and its employees. What values define your company? What matters most to you and your employees? In this session, retailers will discuss the intense amount of work it takes to develop and maintain an outstanding culture in the convenience store industry and the communities they serve.

March 26 -29, 2023

For additional information, contact NAG Executive Director John Lofstock at jlofstock@wtwhmedia.com

John Lofstock, Executive Director | NAG


• Stephanie Stuckey, CEO | Stuckey’s

• Kevin Smartt, CEO | TXB Stores

• Greg Ehrlich, President | Beck Suppliers Inc.

9:15 AM – 9:45 AM Networking Break

9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #2: Understanding Foodservice Customers: Forecasting Future Demand Sta scheduling, inventory management, menu analysis, guest satisfaction, profitability and so much more rest on the shoulders of accurate foodservice forecasting. Understanding the foodservice market is more important than ever as store trips are forecasted to drop and third-party delivery services are gaining more traction. This session will examine how customers currently purchase food, what they are looking for and what the convenience store industry can expect over the next three years.

Moderator: Jessica Williams, CEO | Food Forward Thinking


• Derek Thurston, Director of Food Service Operations | Cli ’s Local Market

• Ernie Harker, Brand Therapist | Ernburn Brands

• Brian Scantland, Vice President Fresh Food Operations and Business Planning & Analytics | Thorntons

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Networking Break

11:00 AM – 12:30 AM Information Exchanges Part 1

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Free Time/YEO Networking

1:30 PM – 6:30 PM NAG Retail Store Tours

Exploring the Best Retail Concepts in Austin

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM Dinner on Your Own to Explore Austin


7:00 AM – 4:00 PM Registration/Info Desk Open

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM Breakfast


Getting Involved: Why Young Executives Need Political Relationships

All politics are local, and for convenience store operators, that means having a personal relationship with the legislators who can enact laws that a ect your businesses. These relationships can be complicated and di cult to develop, but they are vital for the c-store industry. Young leaders should be working on these relationships, but they need advice that’s realistic, granular and nuanced when it comes to making political connections. In this exclusive Young Executives Organization (YEO) workshop, hear what you can do to build political relationships and mentor young leaders who are beginning to journey into the cut-throat world of politics.

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #3: Exclusive NAG Research: The Convenience Experience Report

The National Advisory Group (NAG) has partnered with Bluedot to learn exactly what Americans think about convenience stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) today, and what drives their behavior, sentiment and loyalty. These findings will be presented for the first time at NAG and o er a glimpse into the current customer experience, how digital and mobile solutions influence customers, as well as expectations for the convenience stores of the future across key categories, such as foodservice, fuel, snacking and tobacco.


• Nate Brazier, President and COO | Stinker Stores

• Judy Chan, Vice President | Bluedot

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Networking Break

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM NAG Networking Reception

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM Dinner & Awards Ceremony


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM WORKING BREAKFAST: NAG Custom Research. The Impact of Digital Programs on Convenience Store Foodservice Sales and Consumer Loyalty

Digital has transformed foodservice, reframing customer expectations at convenience stores, restaurants and beyond. How are c-store retailers maintaining their food base and standing out with digital tools and promotions? Based on custom research fielded for the NAG audience, we will explore how consumers are utilizing digital platforms to engage with c-stores. We’ll uncover ordering and delivery trends as well as the impact on basket size and customer loyalty. Our retailer panel will explore various data points and share insights on how they plan to adapt to customer expectations.

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #4: Developing Your Long-Term Fuel Strategy

The future of convenience stores is being reshaped by the increasing integration of electric vehicles and other alternative fuels. How long it takes for these fueling methods to a ect your business depends on where you live. In this session, hear from leading authorities on how your forecourt will evolve over the next five years and what steps you can take now when building new stores to be ready for future changes.


• Sridhar Sudarsan, Chief Technology O cer | SparkCognition

• Daillard Paris, Director of Petroleum Supply and Trading | Sheetz Inc.

• Peter Rasmussen, Founder and CEO | Convenience and Energy Advisors (CEA)

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Networking Break 11:00 AM – 12:15 AM Information Exchanges Part 2

1. Micro Stores, Food Trucks and Non-Traditional Locations

2. Human Resources: Attracting Top Talent

3. Tobacco, CBD and Cannabis in C-Stores

4. Foodservice: Diversifying the Menu

5. Leadership for Young Executives

6. Foodservice: What Retail Leaders Are Doing From Apps to Delivery

7. Growing Loyalty and AI Programs

8. Buying, Selling and Financing Options

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM Lunch


• Abbey Karel, Vice President of Business Development, Convenience Retailing | Bounteous

• John Lofstock, Executive Director | NAG

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #6: Private-Label Product Branding

The convenience store industry is seeing a rapid rise in private-label branding across all categories. Private labels are often cheaper than national brands, which is a solid selling point as financially strained consumers tighten their purse strings. Two advantages — high availability and low price — have also made private-label products considerably more appealing to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift toward private labels also benefits retailers, since these products are typically more profitable for them. Furthermore, high-quality private labels can gain a devoted following and become a powerful driver of customer loyalty. In this session hear from three leading retailers on why they are continuing to develop and expand private-label products.

Erin Del Conte, Executive Editor | CStore Decisions


• Nick Triantafellou, Director of Marketing & Merchandising | Weigel’s Inc.

• Kristine Modugno, Director of Category Management | Nouria Energy Corp.

• Alan Adato, Senior Merchandising and Procurement Manager | Yesway/Allsup’s Convenience Stores

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM Networking Break

GENERAL SESSION: BURNING ISSUE #5: Connecting Next-Generation Loyalty, Payments and POS Systems

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

A number of next-generation technologies are converging, including loyalty, payments and point-of-sale (POS) systems. At the intersection, retailers expect a better, di erentiated customer experience and returns to the bottom line. These technologies are enabling hyperpersonalized customer experiences, seamless payments, mobile ordering, self-checkout and other benefi ts. How are c-stores combining these technologies? What are the expectations for increased store operating profi t? Our panel of distinguished retailers will answer these questions and more.

2:15 PM – 2:45 PM Networking Break

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM IDEAS BOOT CAMP

Best practices and a conference wrap up


• Brian Unrue, Director of Operations | Clark’s Pump-n-Shop

• John Lofstock, Executive Director | NAG

11:30 AM Conference Wrap-Up and Takeaways

12:00 PM Departures

THE 2023 Foodservice Report

With foodservice innovation in demand and inflation surging c-stores must balance competing priorities as they look to grow their food programs in the year ahead.

Foodservice evolution sits at the top of the docket for many convenience stores in 2023 as retailers brace against declining fuel volumes, volatile gas prices and a shift toward electric vehicle (EV) charging, all of which make foodservice crucial for driving traffic and creating new revenue streams.

Meanwhile, retailers and industry experts agree that inflation represents the top trend expected to impact c-store food programs in the year ahead, with labor shortages, the overall economy and supply chain issues close behind.

Research by Datassential concurred, revealing 87% of operators are worried about high prices and inflation in 2023, far more than any other concern.

Foodservice Report

“At the same time, consumers are at this unique moment where they want new food experiences again, and they want to see more innovation,” said Mike Kostyo, trendologist and associate director of content for Datassential.

That means c-store operators face the challenge of balancing inflationary concerns with a need for innovation to meet customer expectations for new, interesting menu items.

That’s no small feat, considering higher prices are known to impact customers’ disposable incomes.

As a result, Tim Powell, managing principal for Foodservice IP, warned that high prices from the fuel pump to the food counter could detrimentally impact in-store traffic at c-stores this year.

M. David May, director of foodservices at Kwik Stop convenience stores, is already feeling the effects of inflation. As costs have gone up, he’s had to increase menu prices. In 2023 he’ll be watching fuel’s trajectory to predict foodservice sales performance. As gas prices go down, foodservice sales go up at the chain’s 27 stores in Nebraska and Colorado. As gas prices rise, foodservice sales decline because customers have less discretionary money to spend on food after filling up their tanks.

“I want to tell all foodservice executives — this is at the top of my lungs — that you can have sales growth, but that doesn’t mean you’re really growing, especially at this point in time with inflationary pressures,” May said.

Through Dec. 5, 2022, units sold in the foodservice category at Kwik Stop were down 9%, but

because prices have increased, dollar sales show 5% growth.

“So yes, my sales look like, ‘Oh, I’ve grown it,’ but I really haven’t because my item count that I’m actually selling is lower. We actually lost business because we’ve had to increase our prices (due to inflation) so much,” May said.

As c-stores look to combat inflation, innovation will be key because retailers will need to differentiate their offering from quick-service restaurants (QSRs), Powell noted. He expects c-stores to expand their breakfast programs and introduce more promotions via bundling and loyalty programs.

“We’re going to see a lot of innovative options and limited-time offers (LTOs) that utilize lower-cost ingredients, or cross-utilize options already on the menu,” predicted Kostyo, adding that foodservice operators will have to create these within pricing parameters.

As customers cope with rising prices, they’re looking to smaller-sized portions, allowing them to purchase innovative or even premium options at a lower price point.

“Small is big,” said Joy Almekies, senior director of food services, Global Partners LP, which operates 386 corporately owned c-stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions under banners including Alltown, Alltown Fresh, Xtramart and Jiffy Mart. Almekies pointed to examples, such as finger-sized sandwiches from refrigerated merchandisers, slider options through heated merchandisers and decadent small-bite options of quality desserts.

22 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com Foodservice Report
Kwik Stop offers a range of foodservice offerings across its 27 locations. Twelve stores offer full-service delis with hot food. The chain maximizes SKUs by getting creative with menu offerings, using ingredients it already has on hand.
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Pictured right: Dash In’s Cheeseburger

Stackadilla is among the many offerings on its proprietary made-to-order menu. Offerings are prepared onsite in the chain’s kitchens.

Meanwhile, c-store customer demographics are also evolving. Dash In is focusing on the emergence of a new customer profile, mainly consisting of young millennials and Gen Z.

“This group shops differently and sees c-store foodservice in a whole new light, opening new opportunities for growth,” said Barbara Nova, senior director of food and beverage, The Wills Group, which operates 57 Dash In convenience stores in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. “With this rise in this new customer profile, we’re also seeing new trends in foodservice technology usage, such as app usage, digital loyalty programs, third-party delivery partnerships, touchless payments, order ahead options, kiosks and even subscription services.”


A number of trends that saw hyper-growth during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as plantbased foods and ghost kitchens, are expected to begin leveling out, Kostyo said.

“These categories aren’t dead,” Kostyo said. “In fact, 40% of consumers plan to buy plant-based meats (in 2023). But the bad ideas, concepts and brands will slowly die off, and the good, useful ideas and companies will stick around.”

“More than ever, to stay relevant in food for convenience, the offering needs to be on trend and somewhat unexpected to gain traction within the consumers’ consideration set and then to retain them as a loyal customer in food,” said Jac Moskalik, vice president of food innovation for Kum & Go, which operates over 400 stores in 13 states.

To become a foodservice destination in 2023, Moskalik’s advice is to focus on fresh ingredients, local assortment and food theatre with a component of speed.


C-stores are focused on improving their menu offerings in 2023, adding new items to attract customer attention.

At Dash In’s Neighborhood Design stores, food is made to order (MTO) and prepared on-site in the chain’s full commercial kitchens, which are outfitted with a griddle, fryers and convection ovens. Dash-In’s proprietary menu features both hot and cold graband-go options, including a wide array of morning daypart items such as croissant sandwiches and breakfast burritos made with fresh cracked eggs.

“We also offer several flavors of signature wings, the Stackadilla, pizza, wraps and salads,” Nova said.

In 2023 Dash In is rolling out a “Bang Bang Shrimp Sandwich” for the Lenten period. “We also plan to begin baking biscuits and croissants for our sandwiches on-site and plan to introduce fresh baked cookies,” Nova said.

The chain is piloting a vector oven to allow stores to bake on-site and perform batch cooking as demand increases.

At Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons, which operates 214 stores in six states, the foodservice offering includes grab-and-go products assembled on-site.

“This includes a variety of breakfast sandwiches, hand-rolled burritos and various lunch items in addition to a roller grill program accompanied with a fresh condiment offering,” said Greg Ekman, director of fresh food and proprietary beverage, Thorntons. Breakfast croissants — Sausage, Egg & Cheese and a Bacon, Egg & Cheese option — rank among customers’ favorite items. Another top seller is the chain’s Steak, Egg & Cheese breakfast burrito, which was introduced in May 2022, and features

24 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com Foodservice Report


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scrambled eggs, Philly steak, chipotle sauce, cheese and fried onions.

“We additionally have a fresh doughnut program supplied by a fully owned and operated bakery in Louisville,” said Ekman, which delivers doughnuts daily to a number of Thorntons’ sites.

This January Thorntons launched a new bonein chicken wing platform, which includes an Oven Roasted Wing and Spicy Wing option.

In Q1, Thorntons plans to begin baking products fresh on-site. It’s launching a new breakfast sandwich program that includes fresh biscuits baked in-store

Thorntons is launching a new breakfast sandwich program that includes fresh biscuits baked in-store and paired with premium breakfast proteins.

paired with premium breakfast proteins. Ekman said the sandwich lineup will rival the quality of fastfood chains. Thorntons is also adding a fresh-baked cookie program.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go attracts foodservice customers with fun, unique and fresh MTO products across dayparts, and all items are customizable. For example, customers ordering breakfast bowls can swap breakfast potatoes with wilted spinach, etc.

Kum & Go is passionate about offering healthier options for customers and highlights local brands when possible. The chain also features a selection of grab-and-go warm and cold food options, including burritos, sandwiches and salads.

“We are always in a constant state of innovation at Kum & Go,” Moskalik said. From December 2022 to January 2023, Kum & Go completed a staged rollout

Foodservice Challenges and Opportunities

High prices due to inflation are expected to pose the biggest challenge for c-store foodservice programs in 2023, with labor shortages and costs, supply chain issues and recessionary fears among the top concerns for retailers.

“We’re still waiting to see if a true recession will take hold in 2023, but heading into 2023, high prices are far and away the top concern,” said Datassential’s Mike Kostyo. Key for 2023 will be creating “interesting yet comforting” foods at familiar price points, he said, noting that this plays to c-store strengths.

This year customers are expected to be regaining pre-pandemic habits, such as returning to the roads as

they travel and visit loved ones. C-stores have an opportunity to be the destination for fill-in trips or meals, especially if customers cut back on grocery trips and restaurant visits due to inflationary pressures, Kostyo said.

“In a tough economic climate, a c-store is a great place for that affordable, creative, comforting indulgence,” he said. In fact, Datassential predicts growth for the c-store channel in the year ahead.

To meet the moment, superior systemwide execution is going to be key, noted Foodservice IP’s Tim Powell. C-stores should strive to be more consistent with concepts and when it comes to sustaining good food,

good service and a clean, hospitable atmosphere all day, every day.

“Generating trial and retention on new concepts within convenience can be a bit tricky, but with solid operational execution and messaging, it’s a guaranteed home run,” said Kum & Go’s Jac Moskalik.

Sta ng shortages and supply chain issues are likely to make execution particularly challenging this year.

“On a positive note, all the challenges with the supply chain have started to create space where old ideas can become new again,” Thorntons’ Greg Ekman said. “Once constrained items will likely have new availability which allows retailers

26 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com Foodservice Report

White Paper

White Paper

Since 1965

ROI Standards: STORE R E d ES ign


Examining Motivators, Metrics and Meaning Behind Store Redesign Projects

Examining Motivators, Metrics & Meaning Behind Store Redesign Projects


Madeline Baumgartner Shop!

Jane Greenthal, Chair Gensler

Teri Mascotti Stylmark

Paul Pinkus Sharing Wisdom

Michael Decker Medallion Retail

Ted Flinn Tag Worldwide

A special thank you to our sponsors Specialty Lighting, Stylmark, Canada’s Best Store Fixtures Inc. and Trion for their support and also the Research Council and the ROI Standards Task Force for their work in developing this white paper.

In today’s retail climate, ROI data is no longer a “nice to have.” Retailers are counting on their suppliers to provide the information they need to demonstrate ROI when they implement changes in store design–whether it’s improved signage, upgraded fixtures, a new mannequin line, or a complete redesign.

In our continual effort to drive an industry dialog on ROI, Shop!, the trade association focused on enhancing retail environments and experiences, is pioneering the development of industry standards for Store Redesign ROI. In 2014 Shop! worked with EWI Worldwide to gain an understanding of this topic. The EWI team surveyed retailers with physical remodels regarding their motivations, goals, and expectations of a store redesign. The information was shared in a 2015 EWI White Paper that was inserted in Retail Environments magazine.

Building off of those findings, Shop! has endeavored to further understand the current ROI measurement habits of retailers, store designers, and manufacturers. Shop! conducted a survey for the first phase of the research with key industry players in retail, store design, and fixture manufacturing.

The 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign white paper offers actionable insights, case studies, and best practices based on the findings of our recent studies. I hope the takeaways in the following pages will help you justify your investments to create and execute successful store redesign projects that ultimately enhance the retail experience for shoppers.

This is the first of a series of ROI research from Shop! in 2017. Later in the year, Shop! will release results on Understanding the Effect of the Retail Workers’ Service on the Customer Experience and How it Ties Back to Return on Design

For questions or more information about the report, please visit the Shop! website at shopassociation.org, email us at info@shopassociation.org, or call Madeline Baumgartner, Shop! Director of Education & Research at 312­863­2917.

Thank you!

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign

In order to combat the alarming decline in the number of store visits, retailers need to motivate consumers to get out of their chairs and go to the store. Retailers need to focus on giving shoppers what they cannot get at home, in an environment that entices them to make the journey.

In order to combat the alarming decline in the number of store visits, retailers need to motivate consumers to get out of their chairs and go to the store. Retailers need to focus on giving shoppers what they cannot get at home, in an environment that entices them to make the journey.

Making those changes require resources and resources require ROI justification, yet there are no definitive industry standards for measuring the results of the investment. Measurements that are available are often fraught with caveats, varying by sector and oftentimes neglecting intangible, but significant, costs or benefits.

Making those changes require resources and resources require ROI justification, yet there are no definitive industry standards for measuring the results of the investment. Measurements that are available are often fraught with caveats, varying by sector and oftentimes neglecting intangible, but significant, costs or benefits.

At the same time, projects must include commitment to credible, attainable ROI, a goal that is often a battle with uncertainty. This is driving discussions between retailers and their vendors. Discussions revolve not only around identifying the experience goals and execution plan, but also around the results the retailer can expect to gain from the investment.

At the same time, projects must include commitment to credible, attainable ROI, a goal that is often a battle with uncertainty. This is driving discussions between retailers and their vendors. Discussions revolve not only around identifying the experience goals and execution plan, but also around the results the retailer can expect to gain from the investment.

To aid in the calculation of ROI, Shop! seeks to understand key ROI variables, considerations and methodologies for the industry.

To aid in the calculation of ROI, Shop! seeks to understand key ROI variables, considerations and methodologies for the industry.

By understanding these key factors (both current and emerging), Shop! will work towards the creation of ROI standards for store redesigns. Shop! is working collaboratively with key industry players from the retailing, branding and store design industries to create these standards.

By understanding these key factors (both current and emerging), Shop! will work towards the creation of ROI standards for store redesigns. Shop! is working collaboratively with key industry players from the retailing, branding and store design industries to create these standards.

In 2014, Shop! worked with EWI to gain a base understanding of the ROI on retail design. The research was concentrated on stores with physical remodels affecting a variety of shopper influencing factors. The EWI team cross­referenced the data from the various projects and gathered data through a survey of current retailers. The surveys focused on understanding the retailers’ motivations, goals, and expectations of a store redesign, as well as, identifying the various scopes of each project.

In 2014, Shop! worked with EWI to gain a base understanding of the ROI on retail design. The research was concentrated on stores with physical remodels affecting a variety of shopper influencing factors. The EWI team cross­referenced the data from the various projects and gathered data through a survey of current retailers. The surveys focused on understanding the retailers’ motivations, goals, and expectations of a store redesign, as well as, identifying the various scopes of each project.

Building off the findings from the EWI Paper published in 2015, Shop! endeavored to further understand the current ROI measurement habits in the retail industry. Last fall, Shop! conducted a survey with key players in retail, store design, and fixture manufacturing.

Building off the findings from the EWI Paper published in 2015, Shop! endeavored to further understand the current ROI measurement habits in the retail industry. Last fall, Shop! conducted a survey with key players in retail, store design, and fixture manufacturing.

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 3
According to Retail Next, 94% of retail sales are still occurring at brick-and-mortar stores, yet foot traffic is declining at an annual rate of 15% and half of the customers are showrooming.
According to Retail Next, 94% of retail sales are still occurring at brick-and-mortar stores, yet foot traffic is declining at an annual rate of 15% and half of the customers are showrooming.
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign
Photo: iStock.com/fiphoto

The 2016 survey was conducted to understand:

• goals & metrics used to measure ROI

• target levels for ROI

• frequency for calculating ROI

• criteria for determining if store redesign was a success

• criteria for determining/evaluating the role of any specific design element(s) in the success (or failure) of the store redesign

Key findings from the survey include:

Definition of “store redesign” was wide ranging. There is an old truism: ask three people a question and you will receive three different interpretations of the question. Shop! found this to be true when we asked retailers, designers and store fixture manufacturers to define “store redesign.” Respondents used words like remodel, redesign, refresh, retrofit, reconfigure and renovation. The variety of terms reflected the range of design scope, from minor changes to completely new stores. Elements of redesign included everything from interiors and architecture, fixtures and flooring, graphics and branding, and everything in between. Rebranding and enhanced customer experience were also mentioned in describing a “redesign”.

Redesign lifespan depends on whom you ask. In terms of how long a store redesign should last, the three respondent groups again had different responses: manufacturers thought 3­ 4 years; the majority of designers believed 5­ 6 years, while retailers’ responses were spread throughout the ranges, depending on their definition of redesign. However, 90% of retailers did not expect a store redesign to last more than 6 years before an update would be required. Not surprisingly, the smaller the remodel, the lower the expected ROI, and the lower the expected lifespan of the remodel. Conversely, the larger the remodel, the larger the expected ROI and lifespan.

Perceptions of retailer motivation differs. Shop! research also found designers and manufacturers had different perceptions of what motivates retailers to embark on a store redesign. Understanding these during the planning phases of the project will help suppliers to better serve the retailer.


Better leverage physical footprint to increase sales across all channels

Cohesively align with a redefined/ reinvented brand

Specifically, retailers indicated that the single biggest motivator for a store redesign was to better leverage their physical footprint to increase sales across all channels. Retailers also stated creating a stronger connection with current consumer base as a key motivator. Manufacturers aligned with retailers on the goal to leverage their physical footprint, but also felt they wanted to be seen as an innovator in their market.

Designers, for their part, believed the redesign was done primarily to cohesively align with a redefined/reinvented brand and to a lesser extent, better leverage physical footprint to increase sales across all channels. This may be indicative of the designers’ scope of work, specific to more store design­ oriented goals, however, given retailer motivations, it would behoove designers to assess the overall impact of their designs on sales lift across all channels.


Designers and manufacturers need to better understand retailer motivations for a store redesign to help meet their core objectives.

Create a stronger connection with current consumer base 34% 23% 18% 11% 29% 12% 23% 16% 12%
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign
Retailers Designers Manufacturers

Future of Bricks and Mortar

According to Shop! Research, retailers almost unanimously agreed that the in­store customer experience is very or extremely important to them. Retailers also see brick­andmortar stores as extremely important to their business and foresee its importance continuing, if not growing, for the next five to ten years.

To help ensure continued growth, the industry must innovate around three themes: Experience, Convenience, and Personalization. Store design, fixtures and visuals must support experiential and interactive environments. Investments in digital technology must support market demands for convenience. And custom­ designed displays should be leveraged to create a unique, personalized value for shoppers.

In the 2016 Industry Size and Composition Study, Shop! identified five retail trends that are transforming the retail landscape.

Shrinking selling space. Stores are getting smaller, and the number of outlets is shrinking, even as U.S. retail value sales are growing. Consumers are cutting back on the number of trips and doing more big­box, one ­stop shopping trips and shopping online. As such, store fixtures need to maximize space utilization and do more with less. Portable, movable and/or adjustable fixtures will be increasingly important.

Rise of omnichannel retailing. Stores are now playing the role of showroom and distribution center, rather than buying center. In many cases, there are separate areas for click and pick­up with stores are being redesigned to convey this multiplatform message. Innovative retailers are creating hybrid stores where the physical and on­line merge seamlessly, and cater to shoppers with ultimate convenience and ease of access.

Online retailers opening physical stores. A growing number of successful online retailers are opening physical locations to create a more in­ depth experience for their customers. Fixtures can help bridge the gap between the online and physical realms by carrying themes and colors from online to in­store.

In-store retailing becoming more interactive and experiential. Retailers are seeking fixtures and displays that are customized to meet new interactive and experiential retailing strategies. Designs must aid in the creation of the store itself as a brand, as well as a place for customers to experience brands.

Refreshing/remodeling/ redesigning of stores is happening faster. Successful retailers will have the ability to change rapidly. Stores are refreshing, remodeling, and redesigning themselves much faster than they were able to do even a few years ago. There is a higher demand for fast turnkey solutions, along with an increased pressure on suppliers to remain aware of and anticipate trends.


Larger industry trends indicate that stores must deliver more experiential environments that seamlessly merge the physical and digital. Consequently, store design needs to keep up with rapidly changing technologies and shopper expectations to be successful.

Photo:iStock com/Ridofranz Photo:iStock com/skynesher Photo:iStock com/andresr
Photo:iStock com/bugphai 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign

Lighting for a Store Redesign BY

Retail Lighting

Historically, retailers have been limited to the types of lighting and lighting capabilities they can use in a store redesign project. Until recently, light fixtures had to be designed around traditional light sources (e.g., incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lamps). This limited not only the style of the lighting fixtures, but also the function of the lighting.

The past five years has brought about numerous changes in the lighting industry. In an industry once dominated by incandescent and fluorescent lighting, LED (light­ emitting diode) has quickly emerged as the preferred lighting source of many lighting designers.

LEDs provide numerous benefits to the designers including the flexibility to change lighting design without being held to traditional light sources. This allows designers to more easily create different moods within the store. LEDs also enable designers to create a more inviting shopping experience by not only having the capability to enhance products, but also product colors and textures.

Project Management

The key to a successful lighting project is to have the project specifics identified at the start of the project. Most designers understand lighting needs to be changed in the redesign, but they do not necessarily know what specific lighting fixtures are needed. Lighting suppliers can assist

with these decisions by understanding the environmental needs of the light, the mood the retailer is trying to create, what products and store fixtures need to be illuminated, and how flexible the lighting has to be. Does the retailer need the capability of adjusting the color temperature of the light or the light levels to enhance a product or change a mood within the store? This is especially important for retailers who routinely change the content and location of their product displays.

Success Metrics

ROI on lighting products is calculated in many different ways. Cost for the product and installation is usually included, as is life of the fixture and light source, and product maintenance. Energy savings associated with the use of new light fixtures is another key metric. Retailers can measure ROI on replacement lighting projects in terms of energy savings, often measured as wattage savings per square foot and/or wattage savings per store. Customer Satisfaction with the shopping experience is another key metric. Traditional light sources (namely incandescent and halogen) not only create added ambient heat within the environment, but can be harsh on the eyes without proper optics and reflectors LED fixtures, when designed correctly, generate very little ambient heat. This not only makes for better shopping experience, but helps to lower the cost associated with operating the heating & air system. Customer research can provide additional insight into the effectiveness of the overall environment.

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 6

Store Redesign

Internal Stakeholders

When working with a retail partner, knowing who is ultimately responsible for the store redesign is critical. Shop! found that for most retailers, the Store Design team usually had ultimate responsibility for redesigns. However, other responsible departments included; Marketing, Operations, Visual Merchandising and Construction.

Retailers are investing more into unique designs and technology in order to create an interesting, interactive, and memorable experience for customers. At the same time, online retailers are starting to open brick­and­mortar stores to augment the online experience. Their stores are not necessarily a place to buy the product, but to have physical interactions, including customer service and product trial before deciding to purchase it. This trend is beneficial for in­store marketing and store fixtures/visual merchandising suppliers.

Retailers are moving away from “cookie cutter designs“ by integrating technology and inter a ction with technology in stores, such as using tablets for POS screens, and replacing static messaging with touchscreen engagement. As mobile usage continues to grow, retailers are seeking ways to capture the attention of people on mobile devices. Retailers are experimenting with iBeacons and other devices to push information to customers as they walk through different areas of the store.

Allocating budget to hybrid stores and online platform development affects the budget allocated to traditional in­store marketing and store fixtures/visual merchandising. Store designs must support new technology and new business models. Brands are creating their own stores, and traditional businesses are looking to reinvent themselves, which is leading to more store renovations.

Industry experts believe retailers are in the midst of a “full­scale transformation” as retailers become more comfortable with data and are merging the data with creative and personalization initiatives. Retailers are trying to refresh, remodel, and reinvigorate their stores. But, they are spending less money in terms of visual merchandising and are looking for less expensive solutions. There is also a push for localization. Companies are adding a greater level of local relevance to what is right now a chain solution.

Merchandising Store Planning Marketing Operations Visual Mdse. STORE DESIGN Construction
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign
Photo: iStock.com/NicoElNino

CASE STUDY: Storefront ROI in the United States BY STYLMARK


Motivation: New Storefront Look

Sector: Women’s Apparel

Number of Stores: Ten

Project Budget: N/A

Desired ROI: N/A

Retailer Victoria’s Secret approached Stylmark to develop an anodized aluminum extrusion that could replace the current steel extrusion they were using on their storefronts. Victoria’s Secret existing storefronts were made from a mirrored stainless steel. These steel extrusions used for the storefront were heavy, very difficult and time consuming to install.

Design Elements

To begin the project, Stylmark developed a die similar to the existing steel extrusion that was twelve inches tall and developed a special finishing machine to achieve the same look as the current steel extrusion. Next, Stylmark developed a concept die drawing that was approved by Victoria’s Secret’s store design team based off the current

steel storefront extrusion being used. Then, working with Stylmark’s aluminum extruding partner, they finished the drawing, developed the tooling and did a die trial that took about four to five weeks. Once the die trial was approved, production on material began which took about two weeks.

Project Management

There were ten stores in the redesign program. A Stylmark account manager worked directly with the store design team from Victoria’s Secret. The account manager brought the design vision to the Stylmark engineering team who developed the die. Once the die was developed, Stylmark’s purchasing manager worked with their extruding partner on the die trial and then once the trial material was approved, store ­ready extrusions were run. Those extrusions were then anodized to the 118 Victoria “Steel” finish and delivered to the customer. The finished product can be seen in the picture below.


While both the steel extrusion and the anodized aluminum extrusion are very durable, the anodized extrusion installed in less time, required less labor on site and cost less to ship. The original cost per square foot was $220 and using the new material reduced the cost to $20 per square foot.

Return on Investment

This was a 60% savings on material – and about 25% savings on labor. This was an immediate return for the retailer. Ten stores received the new storefront aluminum extrusion during this rollout.

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 8

Store Redesign Metrics

Understanding what motivates retailers to execute a redesign will help suppliers better serve their client. Knowing the key metrics and how to measure them, that will help suppliers show their value to the retailer.

Shop! found some variation in the importance of various metrics as ratings varied among survey respondent groups. The key to every successful project is making sure these metrics are clearly defined and agreed upon at the start of a project.

For retailers, ROI (23%) was the most important metric in determining the success of a store design followed by overall store sales (17%), market share (10%) and conversion rates (10%). However, when asked about the relative importance of other metrics, 91% of respondents stated brand perception was very/extremely important. 81% of respondents stated brand awareness was very/extremely important.

Designers on the other hand stated that sales per square foot (23%) was the most important metric in determining the success of a store redesign, followed by overall stores sales (15%) and sales lift across all channels (15%). When asked about the relative importance of other metrics, 96% of respondents stated brand perception was very/ extremely important and 82% stated brand awareness as very/extremely important.

Finally, manufacturers stated overall sales and ROI were the most important metrics in determining the success of a store redesign (tied at 25% each). When asked about the relative importance of other metrics, 88% stated brand awareness and sales per square foot were very/extremely important.


Ultimately, a store is the reflection of its brand and thus any design/redesign must reflect the values and value of that brand. Helping the retailer achieve such brand alignment and sales increases will help ensure a continued position as a valued partner.


% Very/Extremely Important

Brand Perception Overall Store Sales Brand Awareness Brand Loyalty ROI Footfall (in­store traffic) Category Sales Sales per Square Ft. 91% 87% 81% 81% 72% 71% 69% 69%
Photo: iStock.com/fiphoto 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign
Source: 2016 Shop! ROI
Store Redesign Survey

CASE STUDY: Relocation to New Retail Space in Canada


Motivation: New concept in relocation

Sector: Commercial Supplier: Electrical Supply & Power Alternatives

Number of Stores: 103 across Canada

Project Budget: ~$75,000 CDN

Desired ROI: % increase in sales

After working with CBSF Inc. to complete market analysis and develop their retail strategy, Westburne Electric had the opportunity to implement its new concept store in an existing market. Designed by CBSF Inc., this concept was the first to create the physical retail manifestation of the brand and experience.

Design Elements

The retailer wanted to create a retail experience that celebrated the company brand and make their customers feel comfortable, which is not characteristic of its competitors. It was important the concept be flexible to adapt to varying sized locations in their network of stores, ranging from 700 square feet to 3400 square feet, and showcase a wide range of products. Durability and quality were key to ensure their investment has a strong ROI (3 years).

Two key features of this concept were the Power Lab and branded signage. The Power Lab was a designated area that served as a place for contractors to get their devices charged while they waited for orders. The area also provided contractors with information about alternative power sources, full energy solutions and other services the client provides. Information was presented in printed form through signage, supporting material on table top and trained staff on site to support and encourage discussion. The Power Lab consisted of laminate and metal tables with stools, and colored walls to promote the brand and create a focal area.

The original intent was to leverage tablets and digital content, but as CBFS Inc. saw consistently across retailers in all markets, the task of content creation and management was typically a forgotten element and felt like a daunting task with little to no resources allocated to support in­house, and no budget to hire external management.

Celebrating the retailer brand in store was not common in the industry. Branded signage to promote the retailer was pushed as the primary focus, with secondary status given to vendor and supplier branding. In this market, the retailer branding reminded the customer where they are

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 10

shopping, and the vendor and supplier branding was important to retain credibility in offering. A combination of snap frames, printed vinyl applied direct to wall, along with card stock in acrylic sleeves were leveraged for both brand and category messaging.

Metrics of Success

The redesign of a store at any level isn’t just a new look; it typically leads to store operations changes. This is why CBSF Inc. encourages retailers use metrics that measure staff adoption along with customer perceptions and financial. In this particular project the metrics were as follows:

• Staff adoption of new processes, customer service training

• Increase in customer loyalty program subscriptions

• Increase in sales – especially over the counter.

• Project cost ($/sf costs) a key factor.

Costs & Capital Investments

Westburne’s costs covered everything from services, to fixtures, to team training. In particular, the costs used to calculate the costs ($/SF cost) for this particular project included software licensing and hardware costs for customer tracking analysis to understand current shopping patterns; store design, planning and graphic services; manufacturing of custom retail elements and sourcing of commodity fixtures; printing of large and small format signage; installation of retail elements including some GC work; and Westburne team member time for training to learn how to conduct business in the new store concept.

Outcome vs. Expectations

Outcomes exceeded expectations on all fronts. From a store operations perspective, staff are embracing the new concept and the opportunities it provides to enable a better experience for customers. For the customers, surveys and focus groups provided insights to the concept with potential minor improvements recommended. The biggest feedback is this Westburne store really differentiates from competitors, making customers linger in store longer with the feeling of being serviced quicker. The new format has seen steady growth at or above targets as compared to previous year same store sales. As for the costs, the project was on budget for design, manufacture and installation. As CBSF Inc. continues to work with Westburne to implement more of these concept stores, we continue to value engineer to be more cost effective.

Lessons Learned

From the perspective of the retailer, partner selection is key. Westburne credits the continuity CBSF Inc. was able to provide in doing the research, designing the retail environment and manufacturing all retail elements in house as an invaluable benefit to them as a retailer. Westburne appreciated CBSF Inc.’s flexibility, team work, and ability to create practical solutions that look great and don’t compromise on capacity or operations.

From the perspective of CBSF Inc. the customer service they provide their customers – the retailers – is key to enabling retailers to move through a redesign process. Any redesign process, regardless of scale or definition, can seem daunting and expensive to most who aren’t familiar with it. It can be a great expense and a risk for retailers to move through change so transparency is key.

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 11
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign

Calculating ROI

ROI Calculation is Not Widespread

While ROI may be important as a desired metric, few respondent companies actually calculated it. ROI, when calculated, also varied among all the respondents regardless of company type. Answers ranged from payback on capital investments, to energy savings and customer feedback.

Those who do calculate ROI, however, do it consistently; the majority of whom calculated it on all their projects. While desired ROI outcomes vary among groups, one aspect was consistent among the three: the typical timeframe for calculating ROI was relatively short term (more than 1 year, but less than 3 years).

Shop! found that 60% of retailer respondents calculated ROI on a store redesign. Only 27% of the designer respondents calculated ROI on a store redesign, and 19% of manufacturer respondents calculated ROI on products sold for store design.

ROI is greater when a holistic approach is taken. When the motivators are focused on subjective as well as objective goals, the scope becomes robust and impacts more customer touch points, resulting in a cohesive in­store experience that inherently reaps tangible results.

While objective goals of overall sales and in ­store traffic continue to be of high importance, more subjective goals of brand perceptions and shopper engagement are undeniably proving to hold significant value as they often drive overall sales, albeit less directly and immediately. The power of “buzz,” online reviews, bloggers, and others are highly influential, whether positive or negative. The store experience is a key touchpoint that can create passionate brand advocates, or detractors.


Given the importance of ROI for retailers in evaluating store design success, designers and manufacturers must strive for the same metrics. Tangible impacts on sales/profits, foot traffic, and conversion rates are important, as are less tangible impacts on brand perceptions, loyalty, shopper engagement and experience.

“ It’s impossible to know how long a redesign will last. We used to believe seven years, but now we are looking at five. Maybe this too will change soon, but if so, we need to really look at how to assess ROI and our whole way of what redesign looks like.”
— retailer
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign
Photo: iStock.com/Yahor Piaskouski

CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER

CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER



Motivation: Relaunch Ready­to ­Wear B rand

Motivation: Relaunch Ready­to ­Wear B rand

Sector: Men’s Apparel

Sector: Men’s Apparel

Number of Stores: 2 prototypes (mall + flagship) in India

Number of Stores: 2 prototypes (mall + flagship) in India

Project Budget: N/A

Project Budget: N/A

Desired ROI: N/A

Desired ROI: N/A

The Raymond Group is one of India’s largest branded fabric and fashion retailers with over 700 stores in over 200 cities. As a leader in luxury textiles and made ­to ­measure mens tailoring, Raymond was looking to expand into the readyto ­wear category. After closing all its existing stores due to lackluster performance, Raymond turned to Gensler to assist in crafting its ready­to ­wear brand story and creating new concept prototype stores.

The Raymond Group is one of India’s largest branded fabric and fashion retailers with over 700 stores in over 200 cities. As a leader in luxury textiles and made ­to ­measure mens tailoring, Raymond was looking to expand into the readyto ­wear category. After closing all its existing stores due to lackluster performance, Raymond turned to Gensler to assist in crafting its ready­to ­wear brand story and creating new concept prototype stores.

Design Elements

Design Elements

A key component of developing the store design strategy was a focus on market research and consumer insights to refine the brand story, define the customer journey, and identify key storytelling moments, leading to an innovative concept addressing the modern Indian male. Given the enormous brand recognition for its textiles and custom tailoring, the challenge was to leverage the brand’s strengths while appealing to a different target audience and avoiding brand confusion. Purposeful curation of merchandise, “dioramas” that styled that latest fashions, attentive service

A key component of developing the store design strategy was a focus on market research and consumer insights to refine the brand story, define the customer journey, and identify key storytelling moments, leading to an innovative concept addressing the modern Indian male. Given the enormous brand recognition for its textiles and custom tailoring, the challenge was to leverage the brand’s strengths while appealing to a different target audience and avoiding brand confusion. Purposeful curation of merchandise, “dioramas” that styled that latest fashions, attentive service

evoking the tailoring experience, and seamless technology enabled a customer experience that combined the convenience and speed of modern shopping with the high touch of a personalized, bespoke encounter.

evoking the tailoring experience, and seamless technology enabled a customer experience that combined the convenience and speed of modern shopping with the high touch of a personalized, bespoke encounter.



The results were literally award­winning, with several industry awards since opening, but most importantly, they exceeded business objectives.

The results were literally award­winning, with several industry awards since opening, but most importantly, they exceeded business objectives.

Key Metrics

Key Metrics

The client measured success in terms of store sales, footfall, conversion rates and media “buzz”.

The client measured success in terms of store sales, footfall, conversion rates and media “buzz”.

The project resulted in:

The project resulted in:

• Product sales increase of 25%

• Product sales increase of 25%

• Conversion of footfalls of 80% (industry avg. ~60%)

• Conversion of footfalls of 80% (industry avg. ~60%)

• Average Bill Value up by 50%

• Average Bill Value up by 50%

• Setting of retail benchmarks in Bangalore

• Setting of retail benchmarks in Bangalore

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 13
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign 13
2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign


The key to success is to align store redesign goals and objectives with larger client strategic objectives, company culture, consumer expectations and empowered resources. In addition, the research showed that strategic, differentiated, in­store brand positioning with clear goals provide an ironclad framework for success. Creating a relevant space that truly engages with the customer while elevating and building memorable in­store experiences, will set the retailer apart from the competition.

The factors influencing ROI on store design are multifaceted. There are tangible and intangible gains, measured through traditional and non­traditional metrics, supported by objective and subjective goals. The more holistic the approach, the more lucrative the results. Success is dependent upon the scope you are willing to embrace, the clarity of the goals identified and the steadfast commitment to achieve articulated objectives.


It is extremely important to outline and understand the metrics for success and outcomes based on the impact to staff, customers, and sales, as well as project costs. Often overlooked in the analysis is the employee whose productivity and customer interactions are also impacted by store design. Any challenges faced by store staff can ripple to the customer experience. Service interactions are a critical part of the store experience that must also be “designed.” Thus, staff should understand the impact to their operations with the new concept early on, be provided training and support to manage through any changes, and given the other tools to help them deliver the full sensory experience for shoppers.


Designers and manufacturers need to better understand retailer motivations and budgets for a store redesign to help meet their core objectives. Clients typically come with a budget number in mind and some ideas on what they’d like to see. Be able to read the client as quickly as possible to determine if the budget or the ideas are what is motivating them – if it’s budget, then set expectations early on if their inspiration is not in­line with what they can afford; if it’s inspiration, then push to create something that will meet their expectations and not disappoint/restrict based on costs.


In this ever­ changing landscape, ROI has become a continuous process rather than an annual one. The evaluation process itself needs to be more fluid and more focused to ensure it continues to advance the organization toward its vision and goals. These mid­ course corrections also include more frequent competitive reviews. Those who aren’t keeping an eye on the industry changes and the competition will be leapfrogged. We have seen the recent flurry of downsizing and store closures and wonder what metric were, or were not, measured.

2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign


Canada’s Best Store Fixtures Inc., Case Study: Relocation to New Retail Space in Canada

EWI Worldwide, The ROI on Retail Design, 2015

Gensler, Case Study: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India

Retail Next, http://retailnext.net/en/blog/ brick­and­mortar­vs­ online ­retail/

Shop! 2016 Industry Size and Composition Report

Specialty Lighting, Industry Insight: Lighting for a Store Redesign

Stylmark, Case Studies: Storefront ROI in the United States


Shop! (www.shopassociation.org) is the global nonprofit trade association dedicated to enhancing retail environments and experiences. Shop! represents more than 2,000 member companies worldwide and provides value to the global retail market-place through its leadership in: Research (consumer behavior, trends, and futures); Design (customer experience design, store design, display design, fixture design); Build (manufacturing, construction, materials, methods, logistics, and installation); Marketing (in-store communications, in-store marketing, technology, visual merchandising); and Evaluation (ROI, analytics, recognition/awards).

For additional questions about the data or information contained in this White Paper please contact us at: mbaumgartner@shopassociation.org shopassociation.org, or call us at (312) 863-2900

Florida Office 4651 Sheridan Street, Suite 470 Hollywood, FL 33021 (954) 893-7300 Illinois Office 440 N. Wells Street, Suite 740 Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 863-2900 © Copyright 2017 by Shop! All Rights Reserved No part of this report may be reproduced for distribution without the express written permission of the publisher. @shopassociation @shopassociation Shop! Enhancing Retail Environments & Experiences 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: Store Redesign


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of a premium bakery offering.

“For 2023, our team will be focused on snacking and taking our pizza program to the next level to grow food sales in morning and afternoon dayparts,” Moskalik said.

Global Partners LP provides fresh food prepared on-site in full kitchens. “We have created a five-step program allowing growth to all our foodservice operations,” Almekies said.

Step 1 starts with a fresh bakery program that ranges from traditional bakery offerings to New York cheesecakes, apple empanadas, bread puddings and more.

“Our Step 2 facet is identified as ‘EXPRESS.’ These offerings are designed for a labor-challenged market that does not compromise on quality,” Almekies said. “We work closely with our key manufacturer partners to produce proprietary recipes and distribute to our sites.”

Global Partners also offers a freshly fried chicken program with a proprietary “secret sauce,” and sandwiches that are handcrafted on-site and available through the refrigerated grab-and-go section or customized as MTO options.

International food options are in demand. In Q1

to reintroduce familiar favorites that have a proven track record of success.”

“Sta ng is the most challenging piece of execution,” said Global Partners’ Joy Almekies, but she pointed to education as an opportunity. Educating key stakeholders on the importance of food programs, including front-line employees, so they understand the data and reasoning informing decisions can bring results.

The increasing cost of labor is among the many things pushing up prices at c-stores. Kwik Stop’s May noted managing supply chains, cost and negotiating the best prices is taking more time and will be a focus in 2023. He’s concerned about how customers will respond as food prices continue to escalate.

“A customer comes in and

Step 1 of Global Partners’ food program starts with a fresh bakery program.

Global Partners is introducing a Mexican-inspired offering, including LTOs, small-bite tacos, meals and on-thego snack choices for the late afternoon and evening.

Headquartered in Topeka, Kan., Street Corner launched its new MTO menu in 2022 and is seeing competitors follow suit.

“They want to add a premium service inside the store versus the roller grill items or something in the warmer,” said Vikram Dhillon, CEO of Street Corner, a franchise-only model with 44 locations in the U.S. “A lot of locations, mostly in metropolitan areas, are focusing more on bringing healthier food options and MTO fresh items, similar to what you see in Whole Foods, where they display the fresh ingredi-

something they were being charged around $5 for, not more than 18 months ago, now they’re being charged almost $10 for that exact same meal,” he pointed out. “When are the customers going to say, ‘You know what? I can’t a ord to eat that anymore. I’ve got to go to the grocery store and cook my own food.’ When is that breaking point?”

Simplicity is going to be important in navigating food programs in 2023, Almekies noted. That includes identifying product mixes that drive business and using analytics to understand when to o er products, creating planograms by the hour to appeal to customers, she said.

In Street Corner’s market, Vikram Dhillon sees EV charging not only making foodservice more critical,

but attracting high-end customers that are willing to pay for a premium product.

“When you talk about EV stations, that means the customer is sitting there for 15 to 30 minutes,” Dhillon said. “Your foodservice and your co ee program are going to be so crucial for those drivers (during that wait). If you have a solid food program, they’ll eat there and they’ll shop there.”

Dhillon is adamant about having premium foodservice at Street Corner because the chain aspires to be a leader in EV charging.

“People that drive EV cars, they have money to spend,” he said. “You have this high-end customer, they want a high-end product, and foodservice is where you’re going to make your money on that.”

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 27

Today’s c-store customers want quality, prepared hot and fresh food, a variety of options, foods they feel good about eating and the ability to customize their order, and they want it all at a fair price.

ents in a deli case, so people can see what they’re making versus just preparing food in the back and bringing it out ready-made.”

Popular menu items at Street Corner include its naan bread pizza, with varieties such as Chipotle Chicken Pizza and Chicken Alfredo Pizza.

“Then we also use the same naan bread, and we wrap it into a sandwich,” Dhillon said. Offerings include a Chicken Tikka Masala Sandwich, Steak Fajitas and a Banh Mi Chicken Sandwich.

“We want to become a hub for food versus just a convenience factor,” he said.

In 2023 Street Corner is focused on letting customers watch the food preparation process. The company’s chef designed the menu, of which 80% is the chain’s standard menu and 20% is dedicated to the local flair, so franchisees have the option to customize the menu. Kabob plates are among new local dishes launching in 2023.

All of Kwik Stop’s 27 locations feature grab-andgo foods. Twelve stores offer full-service delis with hot food. Six of those sites provide a Krispy Krunchy Chicken (KKC) program and four feature Kwik Stop’s Mexi Fresh program, which includes tacos, burritos and taco salads. Nine stores provide a Piccadilly Pizza program, while 12 stores offer the Kwik & Fresh program, which features nearly 50 items, including burgers, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers and chicken sandwiches.

May minimizes overlap between programs.

For example, in Kwik Stop stores with KKC and Kwik & Fresh, chicken sandwiches are only offered from KKC. When growing the menu, May said he maximizes SKUs by getting creative with ingredients the chain is already ordering.

In 2023, Kwik Stop’s Mexi Fresh stores are introducing a fried chicken burrito, which uses chicken tenders from KKC. The item did well as

an LTO and earned a slot on the Mexi Fresh menu starting in January.

Also in January Kwik Stop used a Piccadilly product to create Breakfast Bites, which are rolled up pizza crusts stuffed with items such as bacon, egg, cheese and sausage gravy.

“There (are) four bites in one container, and I’ll be able to market those for about $3.59, which is great for a consumer that’s coming in to get a breakfast,” May said. Rolled up, the product is easy to eat on the road, which May noted is important to customers.

“We try to minimize the number of SKUs we’re bringing in as far as supplies go, and we’re trying to work with that, so we’re not expanding our order book. ...” May said.

May observes other food operations to see what’s trending. When he saw some QSRs running a Buffalo, Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza, Kwik Stop worked on its own version in its test kitchen and rolled it out as an LTO at the end of 2022. May expects it to get a place on the regular menu sometime in 2023.


Technology skyrocketed to the forefront of c-store foodservice operators’ plans during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trend is continuing in 2023 across c-store chains. C-stores are in various stages of their technological journey, but all eyes are on how technology can provide efficiencies and boost foodservice revenue in 2023.

Across the board retailers are implementing or considering mobile ordering, drive-throughs, order ahead and delivery, as well as using data from loyalty programs to better identify guests’ patterns and interests.

Kwik Stop is introducing its first drive-through at its 28th store, set to open in North Platte, Neb., later this year. The store will also be the chain’s first ghost kitchen site.

28 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com Foodservice Report
Contact us at 800-283-5988

“We’re not going to actually have stuff out in the store for people to grab and go,” May explained. “They’re only going to be able to call in, order by app, order delivery or come through the drive-through.”

The ghost kitchen is expected to help reduce waste at the site.

“As we continue through this type of economic environment that we’re currently in, a ghost kitchen made more sense than having something out and about,” May said, particularly with this location where summers will be strong but off-peak months might be slower.

Street Corner is also focused on drive-through. It currently has one drive-through and plans to include them at all new stores with fuel going forward. Dhillon said drive-throughs are key for attracting that 70% of customers that pump gas and leave without entering the store. The convenience and accessibility of drive-throughs can encourage more customers to order food.

“I think it’s crucial now to have a drive-through,” he said. “I think it’s a standard now, especially in major metropolitan areas.”

Street Corner customers can also order in-store, online or via the app, and last year the chain introduced ordering at the gas pump.

“You can order an entire menu at the pump while you’re pumping gas,” Dhillon said. Guests can receive the order via the drive-through, in-store or have it delivered to them at the pump.

On the delivery front, Street Corner is piloting a program with a company that acts as the middleman between Street Corner and third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub. Street Corner pays a flat monthly fee for the service and no longer has to calculate fee deductions from each order.


Most retailers have seen foodservice traffic recover since the pandemic, with sales growth in 2022, and expect food sales to continue to rise in 2023.

In 2022, Kum & Go, for example, was trending 6-8% above 2021 in sales, depending on the week or time of year, Moskalik noted. The chain expects to see the same growth in 2023, if not more, given its focus on innovative product offerings that resonate with its target customers and meet shoppers’ daypart needs.

“Foodservice sales are leading our sales trends with double-digit growth since the pandemic started,” said Dash In’s Nova.

Dash In saw a 22% overall increase versus the previous year, including a 34% increase in breakfast in 2022. Nova expects to see foodservice sales continue to rise in 2023 as inflation grows and customers trade down from full-service or QSRs to c-store food. Meanwhile, Nova sees c-stores offering higher-quality food and increased innovation, which are giving c-store food the edge over competition.

Kwik Stop, which is located in rural areas, fared well during the pandemic with sales bouncing back after the first month. Dollar sales were up 13% for the chain in 2021 and units grew by 9%, but in 2022 inflation caused unit sales to decline. May expects same-store sales to be flat in 2023 due to supply chain issues, inflation and potential oil price volatility.

Kum & Go is passionate about offering healthier options. Customers ordering breakfast bowls from Kum & Go’s madeto-order menu can customize the meal, swapping breakfast potatoes with wilted spinach, etc.

CSTORE February 2023 cstore decisions.com
DECISIONS • Foodservice Report

Kum & Go predicts growth ahead for its foodservice segment given its focus on innovative products that meet customers’ daypart needs, such as the Banana With Nutella Stacker, pictured right.

“We’re starting to see supply chain issues creep up on us again where we’re not always able to get all the product that we currently offer,” May said.


“Customers are demanding quality prepared food, made within an acceptable time frame, made accurately and at a fair value,” Nova said.

Customers also want hot and fresh food, a variety of options, foods they feel good about eating and the ability to customize their order, retailers agreed.

“The educated consumer is not necessarily seeking the least expensive item, however the item must be perceived as ‘worth the cost,’” Almekies said. “They are seeking variety, however, they want to depend on core offerings that are simple to handle and eat.”

While quality, value and convenience have always been important, the expectations around each have shifted, Ekman said.

“For us, freshness translates to reducing the time between food preparation and food consumption. Food quality in our channel is at its highest when you start with good ingredients, handle them with care, and minimize the time between when products are made and when they are enjoyed by our guests,” he said.

Value can also mean different things to different guests, with some focused on price point and others looking at cost to quality ratios.

“A balanced approach to the offer where we can maintain some value options that are easy to execute while also highlighting premium offers allows us to reach more guests than picking a single focus,” Ekman said.

While convenience relies on having the right assortment in stock, c-stores today are challenged to make convenience even more convenient.

“That could entail leveraging digital capabilities through a loyalty app to allow for order ahead or even

suggest favorites to our guests based on past purchase behavior,” Ekman said. “Assisting our guests in making decisions creates less friction and ultimately a more convenient offer.”

Some c-stores have seen dayparts shifting as customers, working from home, are waking up later.

“That morning rush is not there anymore,” Dhillon said. The 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. morning rush has been pushed to 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in many stores the rush doesn’t come until lunchtime, which has shifted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Customer demand for plant-based products, including plant-based milks at the coffee bar, is also a growing trend.

“People want more vegan options for their pizzas,” Dhillon said. “They want vegan cheeses. They want gluten-free bread. That is growing tremendously.”

He even sees these trends coming to smaller towns where people are increasingly health conscious.

Meanwhile, Kum & Go sees c-store grocery assortments offering c-stores the edge over the competition.

“We benefit in (the) convenience of having a fullscale assortment for anything a consumer might need to pick up while grabbing breakfast or lunch, such as staples like milk, eggs, bottled beverages, etc.,” Moskalik said. “For a consumer who is looking for a fast, quality meal, they’ll choose a convenience store over others because we are faster than (the) supermarket and have an assortment that rivals any QSR or fastcasual establishment.”

As 2023 pushes forward, c-stores have the programs, locations and speed-of-service to win the battle for foodservice dollars, but it’s the little things that will determine who wins the sales. Executing high-level, consistent service every day with great food at a fair price still goes a long way. Make sure they are not overlooked. CSD

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 31



Foodservice programs at convenience stores are increasingly expanding, to the point where many are starting to rival the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space. With economic uncertainties affecting many consumers’ spending habits, it’s important for c-stores in 2023 to offer foodservice programs that will appeal to their shoppers’ needs.

EG America has continued the proprietary foodservice trend with its newly opened Ria’s Pizzeria.

CStore Decisions is recognizing Ria’s as one of the best new foodservice programs for its authenticity and innovative offerings.

With three locations up and running at Cumberland Farms sites, the new pizza concept debuted a variety of distinctive offerings.

U.K.-based EG Group, parent company of EG America, owns over

32 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
: Cumberland Farms
EG America and Kum & Go have launched new, innovative foodservice programs to compete with the growing food landscape in the c-store space.
Emily Boes • Associate Editor
Foodservice | Best Foodservice Launch Awards
EG America’s new Ria’s Pizzeria concept offers its Cumberland Farms customers new foodservice options, from specialty whole pies to pizza by the slice to proprietary sweet and savory snacks.

Best Foodservice Launch Awards

6,200 sites in Europe, the U.S. and Australia.

Ria’s Pizzeria first opened at a Cumberland Farms in Adams, Mass., in early November 2022, and its second site is located at the Cumberland Farms in Norton, Mass., at 60 West Main St.

Ria’s most recent location opened at a Cumberland Farms in East Providence, R.I., which also operates a drive-through.

“We worked closely with a trusted consumer research company, using internal focus groups and company surveys to select the name for Ria’s Pizzeria from ideation lists,” said Cindy Rantanen, senior vice president, food and franchise business at EG America. The new foodservice concept borrowed from several other successful proprietary offers EG already implemented in its stores in the Northeast.

“Our premium pizza offer in the Fastrac banner was the catalyst for our new varieties at Ria’s,” said Rantanen. “We drew inspiration from some of our existing fan favorites while curating brand-new offerings to give our Ria’s guests a fresh, new pizza experience with outstanding and reliable quality.”


EG’s highly experienced culinary team created Ria’s pizza options with proprietary dough and quality ingredients.

Consumers have their choice of traditional pizzas such as the chain’s four signature menu items — Cheese, Over the Top Pepperoni (topped with 80 pepperoni slices), Veggie and Ultimate Meat — as well as specialty pizzas, including Nashville Hot Chicken, Chicken Bacon Ranch and Loaded Baked Potato. Other specialty pizza offerings are Buffalo Chicken, Steak & Cheese, Supreme, BBQ Chicken and Hawaiian.

The whole pies are the traditional thin-crust variety and come in a 16-inch size cut into six slices. Customers can also order pizza by the slice or choose to receive their pizza made to order.

Ria’s Pizzeria offers breakfast pies for its morning commuters from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with options ranging from Veggie, Egg and Cheese to Bacon, Egg and Cheese or Sausage, Egg and Cheese.

Apart from its pizza offerings, the chain serves snack-sized strombolis (Bolis) and Ninos, which are bite-sized dough snacks that come in a four-pack. The

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 33

ninos are available in Pepperoni & Cheese, Garlic Parmesan and Cinnamon Sugar.

“Ninos and Bolis were driven by the need for a portable, easily consumable snack that could be maintained on a hot slide and eaten in the car or on the go,” said Rantanen.


Ria’s uses sleek red branding in a move to signify a stark differentiation from the rest of the store, “marking Ria’s as a deliciously competitive pizzeria and separate establishment optimized to craft craveable pies,” Rantanen explained.

Larger store layouts allow for indoor seating, but smaller formats do not have the space for it.

The restaurant operates with two to five team members throughout the day, however that number can fluctuate based on guest volume.

EG leveraged on-site trainers and computer-based learning to train its store team members using a program that runs parallel to existing food training. A soft launch for friends and family served as a practice event for the restaurant team.

The Ria’s team utilizes industrystandard ovens.

“Replicating the equipment we use in our Fastrac locations, we decided on a brand that delivers on quality and is widely trusted in the pizza business,” noted Rantanen.

In the future, the brand plans to implement a by-the-slice loyalty program to thank and reward its guests.

With the newly added Ria’s Pizzeria to EG’s family of restaurant brands, the c-store chain has furthered its opportunities to reach customers in a time when

consumers are thinking more carefully about where and how they will spend their money.

“(Ria’s) serves as a best-in-class elevation of our existing offers and makes us, not just ‘great for a c-store,’ but the best pizza offer in any town we operate in,” said Rantanen.

34 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023
cstore decisions.com Foodservice | Best Foodservice
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WINNER : Kum & Go

New opportunities are arising for Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, and with expansion currently underway and on the horizon, the c-store chain decided to revamp its foodservice program.

Starting in its own backyard in Des Moines, Iowa, Kum & Go began rolling out the new, healthier menu in conjunction with its remodel efforts in the area in 2022. The launch followed a successful pilot program in the Little Rock, Ark., and Omaha, Neb., markets in 2021.

The drive to create a wide-ranging menu specifically geared to guests’ needs is the reason CStore Decisions is recognizing Kum & Go for having one of the best new foodservice programs.

“Kum & Go has identified food as a differentiator within the convenience channel, something we can own and create excitement around,” said Jac Moskalik, vice president of food innovation for Kum & Go.

Kum & Go presently operates 400-plus stores across 12 states, with sites in new markets Michigan and Idaho to come in 2023.

“The new menu is a step toward becoming a

food destination for our customers, which mirrors the efforts that are being made throughout the store in assortment and merchandising,” said Moskalik.


Kum & Go’s new menu consists of a madeto-order (MTO) program offering stackers and bowls. Grab-and-go burritos for both breakfast and lunch; premium, fresh-baked pastries for the bakery; and local, craft roasters for the coffee program are also available to customers.

“The menu itself was launched to offer a healthy, but craveable meal for our customers … We continue to innovate around the MTO program as well, identifying different shopper segments within our stores and how to cater to them,” said Moskalik.

The menu items can be ordered on Kum & Go‘s app or via kiosk and can be customized. The new menu is catered around customers’ needs, both by category and daypart. In the morning, in addition to the MTO options, burritos and pastries, customers can enjoy Kum & Go’s egg bites, parfaits or a slice of breakfast pizza. Lunch-goers have the additional options of refrigerated sandwiches and a focus on pizza slices, while the evening menu shines a spotlight on whole pies.

“In 2023, our food team’s focus is to grow both food and beverage sales for the evening daypart through innovation and promotions,” said Moskalik.

As of now, half of the chain’s sales take place in the morning.

According to Moskalik, the falafel bowl is one of the items among the popular stackers and bowls that Kum & Go most hears about, despite it not being the highest-volume item. Additionally,

36 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Foodservice | Best Foodservice Launch Awards
Kum & Go is rolling out a fresh, healthy menu to its current and new markets to appeal to ongoing trends in the foodservice arena.
DECISIONS decisions.com • CSTORE Best Foodservice Launch Awards

the newly added pastries and burritos show the store is gaining traction in multiple food categories.

Kum & Go is also planning for limited-time offers to boost the year-round items.

“We will have LTOs in most categories (in 2023) and our promotional strategy will be to grow our afternoon and evening dayparts, while highlighting all the fun and innovative changes that are taking place across the store,” said Moskalik. “We have multiple pilots (this year) within dispensed beverage as well, as that’s a category we will be refreshing (during 2023).”


All MTO food items are cooked and/or heated fresh by Kum & Go’s food teams. They build the bowls fresh according to customer specifications, and the stackers are double toasted. The store’s pizzas are made with fresh dough and then hand stretched, pressed and topped.

The new foodservice program’s pastries are fresh baked throughout the day, and the burritos are made fresh and hand rolled every day.

“The quality of the products we sell is a direct correlation to how much our food teams in the stores care about what we sell to our customers,” said Moskalik.

Kum & Go’s food teams make use of conveyor ovens and vector ovens in-store.

When the new program was rolled out, Kum & Go’s food and beverage team at the corporate office was responsible for product development and distributing training documents.

“Our team works closely with our partners in operations and learning and development while developing the programs and documents for hand-off on training,” said Moskalik. “Within operations, our food execution managers are a crucial extension of our team as they provide hands-on training and development for current and future rollouts. We involve them throughout the process to help identify gaps in process prior to launching.”

Kum & Go is intent on its new menu differentiating it from other foodservice options in the markets where it operates.

“Kum & Go’s approach to investing in the future of convenience and striving to provide the best food options for our customers is what truly stands out,” said Moskalik. “I have been in the food industry for over 20 years, and it is amazing to work for a retailer who understands that a best-in-class food offering can absolutely set us apart from the competition.” CSD

38 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com Foodservice | Best Foodservice Launch Awards


The Fiorucci brand is the benchmark for Italian deli meats, one which has grown steadily for over 170 years thanks to the authenticity and superb flavor of our products. Fiorucci is now introducing an extension to the tremendously successful line of convenience snacking products with the new Genoa Salami Panino.

• DAL 18

Profits by the Cupful

By keeping up with the latest technologies and consumer preferences, convenience store retailers are continuing to make strides in hot dispensed beverage popularity and profitability.

C-store retailers are adding excitement to the hot dispensed beverage category with bean-to-cup coffee machines, a variety of options, limited-time offerings and promotions.

2021 and 2022 were big years for hot dispensed beverage upgrades for GPM Investments’ convenience stores.

In addition to its traditional brew stations, the company installed bean-tocup equipment in 525 of its approximately 3,100 company-operated stores and dealer sites, which are located in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

“We have received overwhelmingly positive reviews from our customers on the bean-to-cup additions,” said Jim Rastetter, category manager at GPM Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARKO Corp., which owns several convenience store brands, including fas mart, Roadrunner, Scotchman, BreadBox, Young’s, Li’l Cricket, Apple Market and Jiffi Stop.

Foodservice | Hot Dispensed
40 CSTORE DECISIONS February 2023 cstore decisions.com

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“Since their installation, the bean-to-cup stores are outperforming the stores that still have only the traditional coffee program,” he said.

Familiar branded cappuccino flavors such as Hershey’s Hot Chocolate, Cinnabon and Heath Bar add to the appeal of the hot dispensed offerings and sell well, he noted. Rastetter also attributed a recent “significant” boost in coffee trial and sales to a 99-cent-per-cup deal that is available to members of its fas REWARDS loyalty program.

“Our fas REWARDS members get great deals on coffee and food bundles,” he added. “Right now, we are offering a deal with any size coffee and a banana for $1.50 or with a tornado for $2.50.”

Fas REWARDS members also enjoy free coffee throughout the year for special events such as National Coffee Day and during the stores’ “Twelve Days of Christmas” celebration.

Customers like to know the origins of their coffee, he said, and the stores include a backstory with each of its five blends. For example, the current house blend is a high mountain arabica light to medium roast from Central and South America. The decaf is a Rainforest Alliance Certified roast, and a third coffee is a 100% Colombian dark roast.

“Fifty percent of our blends are now sustainably sourced,” he pointed out.

Two flavored coffees — hazelnut and pecan — are also in the mix. The pecan coffee started as a limited-time offer (LTO) and, Rastetter explained, is particularly popular with customers in the Southeast and mid-South. The company is currently working to identify new and unique LTO roasts the stores can implement over time.


• Bean-to-cup coffee has become a favorite among c-store customers.

• Limited-time offers keep coffee offerings fresh and exciting.

• Loyalty card deals can help c-stores promote coffee sales.


Like GPM stores, La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip and Kwik Star convenience stores offer both traditional drip and bean-to-cup coffee options at their combined 846 stores in five states.

“From testing, we found that many guests prefer drip coffee during the morning rush when they just want to grab a cup and go,” said Paul Servais, retail food service director for Kwik Trip. “Later in the day they’ll go for the bean-to-cup.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, guests were choosing more ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees and teas. Since then, a growing number have been coming back to hot dispensed, so sales are growing in that category, Servais noted.

Under the proprietary Karuba brand, the stores offer six varieties of coffee each day. They are a signature house roast, dark roast, Colombian, decaf, hazelnut and a rotating LTO. The LTOs are seasonal and change four times a year.

Loyalty card members can get a free cup after 14 coffee purchases.

To promote their coffee, the stores offer a deal with a breakfast sandwich. Social media comes into play when a new LTO is introduced.

In addition to the regular roasts, the stores also offer Karuba Gold self-serve espressos, cappuccinos and lattes made from powder. To promote these beverages, the stores take $1 off the price every Monday. Some guests mix nitro coffee half and half with their lattes.

“Guests like the premium Karuba Gold options, but the real growth is in old-fashioned coffee,” Servais noted. CSD

Foodservice | Hot Dispensed
42 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

We want c-store retailers' feedback!

Take the 2023 CSD/Humetrics Human Resources Benchmarking Survey Now!

Staffing is one of the biggest investments in the convenience store industry. To help convenience store retailers better manage their workforce and understand what employees are looking for in an employer, CStore Decisions and human resources expert Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, are collaborating for the 15th consecutive year to provide insight into the industry’s human resources practices.

This key benchmarking survey will enable chains of all sizes to evaluate their recruiting, hiring and retention performance to enhance their competitive viability.


The survey closes March 1, 2023!

▶ The first 50 c-store retailer participants, who qualify and respond to all the survey questions, will receive a $25 gift card for sharing their insights on human resources practices.

▶ The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the anonymous results will be published in the April issue of CStore Decisions


Cain Brings Classic Culinary Skills to Wally’s

Convenience stores are always coming up with ways to create new and fresh food items for consumers. In order to make these food options possible, c-stores are bringing in chefs with diverse culinary backgrounds.

CStore Decisions caught up with Lute Cain, executive chef at Wally’s, which operates two stores in Illinois and Missouri, and got the scoop on how he took his classically trained culinary background and put it to use at Wally’s.

CStore Decisions (CSD): How long have you been the executive chef at Wally’s, and what attracted you to the position? What’s your favorite thing about overseeing foodservice for a convenience store/travel center platform?

Lute Cain (LC): I have been at Wally’s for 1.5 years. I’ve always worked in platinum country clubs, and Wally’s presented a new challenge. My thought was, “How can I take my classically trained culinary background working in country clubs and incorporate it into a service center?” My favorite thing about Wally’s is hands down the guest interaction. When they come into the store, they are blown away by how clean it is and all the fresh food options we have.

Foodservice | Chef’s Corner
Lute Cain, executive chef at Wally’s, talks about how he went from cooking at country clubs to c-stores and the new food o erings at Wally’s.
44 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Lute Cain

CSD: Tell me a bit about your background in foodservice as a chef. How does that background serve you in a c-store setting?

LC: I have a culinary arts degree from East Central College in Union, Mo. I trained for 10 years at Old Warson Country Club in Ladue, Mo., which is a platinum club under Aiden Murphy, the only master chef in the state of Missouri. During this time, I competed in several national cooking competitions and also earned my CEC (Certified Executive Chef) certification through the ACF (American Culinary Federation). I then took the executive chef job at Forest Hills Country Club in Chesterfield, Mo. Then I decided I wanted a career change and went into the food-selling business and learned everything about that side of things for three years.

CSD: Tell me about the food offering at Wally’s.

LC: We have several items that are proprietary to Wally’s. We are an 80% scratch kitchen. At the pizza station, we make the dough in-house every day and hand roll it in front of guests. We bake all the pastries in-house, make all the salads fresh and have several seasonal items. Popcorn, hand pies, Italian beef, Mediterranean kale, quinoa power cups and pizza are must-try options for sure. Also, not food related, but the SLOOSH (what Wally’s calls its frozen dispensed beverages) is one of a kind, especially the Wally’s Psycho Orange, which is also proprietary to Wally’s.

CSD: Did you add anything new to the foodservice offering in December or will you in the new year that you can mention?

LC: We just added a fish sandwich: eight-ounce bread cod, shaved cabbage, tartar sauce and melted American cheese on a New Orleans

weeks. Also, we are in the middle of research and development on a few new items for the St. Louis Soccer Stadium.

CSD: What are the biggest challenges when cooking/preparing food in a convenience store/ travel center?

LC: The biggest challenge, I would say, is having such a big variety to make sure we cover all guests’ needs. From vegan (and) gluten-free to the barbecue lover.

CSD: In your opinion, what are some of the musthave kinds of equipment for a c-store or travel center foodservice program and why?

LC: Combi oven, hands down, is the best tool we have, besides the team members of course. If it wasn’t for the amazing and talented team we have, no way could Wally’s produce some of the best food in the city.

CSD: What are some of the things you look for in convenience store foodservice equipment?

LC: The equipment has to be durable and multi-use. With so many options and limited space, this is key.

CSD: What do you wish you had known when you were first getting started in convenience store foodservice?

LC: Honestly, how much fun it is. Again, you have such a wide variety of guests that you cook for that you’re always staying on your toes. We look at what we do as a Food Court 2.0 because we have so many options for guests to choose from.

Wally’s is always creating something new and fresh in the culinary world. When you walk in the door, you get hit with all kinds of smells, from freshly baked cinnamon rolls to the freshly popped popcorn we pop every day. CSD

Warson Chef)
cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 45
Poor Boy bread. We also do a lot of seasonal items,

Tobacco: New Year, Old Battles, Different Outcomes?

C-stores continue to combat nicotine legislative conundrums, but also welcome product diversification.

Category Management | Cigars, Vape & Modified Risk
Anne Baye Ericksen • Contributing Editor
46 CSTORE DECISIONS February 2023 cstore decisions.com
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On the one hand, voters chose more regulation. For example, California’s Proposition 31 passed with 76% of the ballots, approving a statewide ban of almost all flavored tobacco products, including menthol. Only premium cigars and hookahs remain exempted. Tobacco companies requested the U.S. Supreme Court intercede, arguing that a state doesn’t have the authority to regulate products that fall under the purview of a federal agency, in this case, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The court declined to review the case, so the law took effect on Dec. 21.

The same election also ushered in a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which traditionally indicates a more pro-commerce penchant and general dislike for expanding federal regulations.

“With a divided Congress and narrow majorities in both chambers, it’s unlikely that tobacco and nicotine policy will see much action,” said Anna Ready Blom, director of government relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

“(However,) this means you can expect a more aggressive regulatory agenda from the Biden administration, and lawmakers who consider themselves anti-tobacco will likely encourage regulators to use their authority to affect change,” added Blom.

What the election didn’t affect are the FDA marketing decisions for e-cigarettes and vape products, many of which are still pending. The agency also is reviewing stacks of pre-market tobacco applications (PMTAs) for synthetic nicotine products. While it has issued dozens of denials, the FDA had not yet announced any marketing granted orders by November. It has stated that final reviews are expected to be completed by the end of June.

Category Management | Cigars, Vape & Modified Risk
In many regards, the 2022 election set the stage for 2023 tobacco and nicotine sales in convenience stores.
48 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Retailers across the country are watching how consumer response plays out in California after the state’s Proposition 31 passed with 76% of the ballots, approving a statewide ban of almost all flavored tobacco products, including menthol.


©2023 EAS.

Vape & Modified Risk

Backbar Breakout


Whether on the state or federal level, product prohibitions definitely remake the tobacco/ nicotine category in convenience stores.

“We have not pulled any items off of our shelves, but will continue to heavily monitor news and regulations around these flavor ban discussions. We will continue to sell synthetic nicotine products until we are told we are not able to,” said Jon Manuyag, director of marketing for Plaid Pantry, based in Portland, Ore. The c-store chain consists of more than 100 stores in the Pacific Northwest.

However, when products vanish from planograms, that space can be filled with new items, including reduced-risk options like VLN and VLN Menthol King by 22nd Century Group Inc. The brand is the only combustible cigarettes to receive the FDA’s modified risk status.

In the coming year, Manuyag is considering using the back-of-the-register section to house a greater variety of products beyond tobacco and nicotine.

“CBD/CBG; tea-leaf wraps; high ABV (alcohol by volume) alcohol, wine or malt-base; and general merchandise are just some of the areas being looked at,” he said.

Within the tobacco/nicotine category, data shows products perceived to have less risk, like nicotine pouches, are accumulating market share. IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, lists spitless tobacco year-over-year dollar sales up more than 34% for the four weeks ending Dec. 4. Unit sales for the same period climbed by more than 27%. This segment showed similar results for each 12- and 52-week reviews.

“The nicotine pouch category continues to

grow as many manufacturers have released their own products to try and compete. We receive plenty of new nicotine pouch samples at our corporate office to test. Some have made it to our store shelves, but many do not,” said Jeremy Weiner, category director of cigars and premium products for Smoker Friendly. The Boulder, Colo.based company also operates Payless Cigars & Pipes and Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival.

He added that the cigar segment is undergoing changes, too. Last year, the FDA proposed a rule change that would eliminate cigar flavors other than tobacco. The period for public comments ended last summer, and industry watchers expect a decision within the first half of this year. Currently, though, Weiner sees a shift away from multi-pack offerings.

“In 2023, the biggest change I see in the domestic cigar category is that many of the major manufacturers are trying to move away from pre-priced cigarillos. With many of the pre-priced items going away or increasing in retail price points, there will be more profit margin for retailers to make in the (premium) cigar category in 2023,” he said. CSD


• The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review California’s Prop 31.

• Final Food and Drug Administration reviews of synthetic nicotine pre-market tobacco applications are expected by the end of June.

• Spitless tobacco sales grew more than 34% for the four weeks ending Dec. 4, 2022, per IRI.

| Cigars,
Category Management
Y/Y Dollar Sales % Change Cigarettes Chewing/ Tobacco/Snuff Spitless Tobacco Cigars Electronic Smoking Devices 4 weeks ending 12/4/22 -4.7 -2.8% 34.3% -3.1% -0.8% 12 weeks ending 12/4/22 -4.1% -1.8% 33.1% -0.7% 2.3% 52 weeks ending 12/4/22 -3.5% -1.7% 33.4% 0.2% 10.2%
Spitless tobacco, including nicotine pouches, outperforms all other tobacco segments.
50 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm: IRI OmniMarket Total Store View, Total U.S. Convenience data for the four, 12 and 52 weeks ending Dec. 4, 2022, received Jan. 6, 2023
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Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise

C-store retailers anticipate strong sales for the candy category in 2023, despite an uptick in prices.

C-store retailers saw sales increase across chocolate and non-chocolate in 2022 and are optimistic about the candy sales outlook for 2023, despite price increases and supply chain woes.

sales are stronger than ever,” said Eric Patterson, merchandising manager for Beacon & Bridge Market, which

operates 25 stores in Michigan. “It’s one of the few categories that did not take heavy damage due to COVID-19 or economic constraints.”

The data is bearing that out to a certain extent. Overall, chocolate and non-chocolate candy sales are up in dollars, although unit sales have fallen as prices have increased over the past year.

According to NielsenIQ data, dollar sales for the overall candy category came to $31.4 billion, up 11.8% for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 26, 2022, across food/grocery, drug, mass merchandisers and convenience channels. Chocolate led the category with $17.81 billion in sales, up 10%.

Candy unit sales overall totaled 12.4 billion — a 0.3%

dip compared to the previous year, with 6.3 billion in unit sales for chocolate, a 2.5% decrease.

Prices for candy are on the rise. The average unit price for chocolate was $2.82, a 12.8% increase, with $2.53 being the average unit price for candy overall, representing a 12.2% climb.

Nicolette Jaeger, director of merchandising and loyalty for The Pride Stores, which operates 15 stores in the Chicagoland area and one in Indiana, noted that candy sales have lifted and continue to stay elevated into 2023.

At the end of 2022, Beacon & Bridge Market was poised to show record sales growth, which can be partially explained when looking at the vast amount of retail changes encountered throughout the year, Patterson said.

“We’ve also implemented a strategy designed to push our consumers to purchase king-sized bars rather than regular-sized, which has also contributed substantially to our overall sales growth in the category,” he added.


Jaeger noted innovation blends between categories — especially sweet and salty — remained strong, with snack and candy brands joining forces to introduce new creations.

Category Management | Chocolate & Non-Chocolate Candy
52 CSTORE DECISIONS February 2023 cstore decisions.com

“Consumers are still seeking comforting snacks, and larger bag sizes are growing in popularity as consumers tend to snack more throughout the day instead of sitting down for larger meals,” she added.

Patterson said he’s noticed candy manufacturers attempting to blend the line between candy and sweet snacks such as cookies and brownies, for example.

“We’ve seen Hershey creep into the sweet snacks category with their snack cakes much like they crept into the salty category with their dipped pretzels a couple years back,” he pointed out.

“Earlier in the year, Mars Wrigley hit the market with a brownie batter-themed Snickers bar, and this year they are starting the year with a cookie dough Twix bar. Hershey is also doing a great job keeping the category fresh with their Kit Kat Duos line extensions,” he added.


Customers are demanding inventory, Patterson pointed out.

“I think a lot of customers are tired of having to go to large stores to find what they are looking for,” he added. “Unfortunately, c-stores tend to be low on the priority list when it comes to production and distribution, which is why these days you’ll find (some popular candies) on the shelf at your local grocery store before you find them at the convenience store on the corner.”

Patterson noted that 2022 was a relatively slow year for innovation or new entries, which he believes is because “a lot of the manufacturers are still treading water and trying to stabilize their core item supply chain.”

However, c-stores are engaged in launching new products in 2023.

Among the popular launches at The Pride Stores is Nerds Gummy Clusters and SweeTARTS Soft & Chewy Ropes.

“We are looking forward to seeing how Reese’s Big Cup with Potato Chips does,” said Jaeger of a recent launch.

As for new launches this year at Beacon & Bridge Market, “Cookie Dough Twix is a big one that we’re going after in January,” said Patterson. CSD

cstore decisions.com isions.com


Simon Xpress and Oak Grove Market showcase new designs that compete in the evolving c-store space.

WINNER: Simon Xpress

Simon Xpress, a family tribute, features a modern, clean look with a high ceiling and a glass front.

Convenience stores are increasingly renovating and experimenting with store design.

CStore Decisions is recognizing Simon Xpress with a “Best New Store Design Award” for its clean, upscale and modern design, complete with a dedicated foodservice area.

Owned by Island Lane Capital and designed by Federal Heath, Simon Xpress operates one branded location in Warren, Mich., although President of Island Lane Capital Faiz Simon also operates 14 other sites that he built from the ground up under a different banner name.

Simon Xpress is dedicated to Simon’s

father, Ramzi Simon, who was born in 1933 and passed away Sept. 5, 2012. Ramzi taught his son to always try, be patient and never give up.

“So I decided to build a really nice-looking site to dedicate it to my father,” Faiz Simon said. “My father passed away 10 years ago, and he inspired me to be the best person around and … he really helped me (get to) where I’m at. I dedicated the building for him and the design.”

Simon plans to build two more convenience store locations branded under the Simon Xpress name.

Operations | Best New Store Design Awards 54 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com


Simon Xpress is a bright and colorful 4,700-square-foot store with a 24-foot ceiling. The color scheme is mostly white, which Simon chose because it looks clean, with green accents to allude to his belief in a “green” environment. Green was also his father’s favorite color. The building is made of white and charcoal brick with glass extending nearly to the sidewalk. It has an automatic entrance.

“I’m all about modern colors and modern style design of the c-store,” said Simon. The front of the building features the name of the brand with “Market + Meals” underneath.

Best New Store Design Award

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 55

Tony Camilletti and Michael Benincasa of Federal Heath, who Simon has worked with previously, helped design the store.

“I told them (what) my vision of a store would look like; I told them I’m looking for customer service, walking in and walking out and getting the experience,” said Simon. “I wanted them to help me take my design ideas that I have, my ability to think of customers’ convenience. ... So I told them about all that and they came up with this design for me.”

The forecourt at Simon Xpress features bp-branded gas pumps that can serve up to 10 vehicles at a time. The exterior also holds a patio for guests and 14 car parking spaces.

RSP Construction helped build the site and Barrick Enterprises supplied the fuel.


Inside Simon Xpress, customers will find Buscemis and Einstein Bros. Bagels situated next to each other. Buscemis, local to Michigan, serves Detroit-style deep dish pizza, as well as strombolis, calzones and more.

“Buscemis is known for pizza. Their specialty (is) when it comes to the sauce. They have a great sauce. They have a great cheese,” said Simon.

Einstein Bros. offers guests bagels with six different cream cheese varieties, lunch options and specials. The franchise also has a coffee program with hot and cold specialty drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes.

The store installed a separate coffee island that offers decaf, vanilla, hazelnut and regular coffee.

In addition to these two foodservice concepts, Simon Xpress features a roller grill program positioned in front of the other food offerings.

Directly next to Einstein Bros. is an area for fountain beverages. The section includes f’real ice cream as well as an 18-head fountain machine. An Icee machine sits directly next to f’real with four heads of Icee products.

“And we have on the other side where the island is, (in) front of it, we have three different kinds of frozen serve beverages. It’s by Tropical Surf,” said Simon.

Simon Xpress also boasts a large 24-foot wine section, with both sides of the shelves serving this beverage segment.

“We have eight different venues from Northern Michigan that we serve the wine from. … And we’ve got French, we have Spanish wine; we have California as well and New Zealand varieties,” said Simon.

In addition to a robust wine selection the store features a 30-foot-by-16-foot liquor selection with a plethora of options as well as a walk-in beer cave.

Simon Xpress also features a 10-foot open case refrigeration cooler with four levels of prepared food.

“I’ll tell you, we have so many compliments right now. I’ve got not only customers, but our competitors coming in and taking videos, taking pictures,” said Simon. “The colors, the ceiling, everything is top notch.”

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WINNER: Oak Grove Market

Oak Grove Market offers customers a spacious marketplace and foodservice destination with an upscale design.

Best New Store Design Award

Located in Prairieville, La., Oak Grove Market is a new-to-industry 6,000-square-foot convenience store that opened its doors in April 2022.

CStore Decisions is recognizing Oak Grove Market with a “Best New Store Design Award” recognition for its upscale design, complete with a drive-through, a strong foodservice presence and ample guest seating inside and out.

“I guess you could call it a hybrid,” said Gregg Patterson, who co-owns Oak Grove Market along with business partner, Ben Bercegeay.

The business owners partnered with design firm Paragon Solutions to create the store design.

“The store is half homemade, upper-scale marketplace, half convenience,” Patterson said.

Patterson and Bercegeay also own and operate two Pit Stop convenience stores.

Oak Grove Market is located on a high-traffic road, and although it’s not positioned adjacent to a stop sign or traffic light, the location still attracts attention; the store gets new customers every day.

The building is primarily white and trimmed in brown oak. The forecourt with five Exxon-branded dispensers is situated on the side of the store. The

store includes a large parking lot for guests.

“We didn’t put (the gas pumps) across the front because that’s not what I wanted people to see first,” said Patterson.

The c-store also boasts a drive-through, where customers can order any item available in the store. Customers can also choose curbside pickup and order online through the Toast app.

At the drive-through, the store has one threebarrel Icee machine and a fountain machine in addition to one on the store floor.

If customers choose to spend more time at Oak Grove Market, they can sit at a table on the outdoor patio. A large glass garage door opens and allows the patio to flow directly into the interior, where guests will find two large wooden community tables with bar stools as well as bench seating. The location features around 60 seats, including both interior and exterior seating.

“We’re proud of it. It’s a beautiful place,” said Patterson.

Operations | Best New Store Design Awards
58 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com


The heart of Oak Grove Market is Grub at the Grove, where the store implements its own food program. The area features a white tile background with a teal accent.

Grub at the Grove houses a brick oven that cooks pizzas, wings, rotisserie chickens, rotisserie ribs, homemade bread for sandwiches and more.

The menu features eight specialty pizzas, with toppings such as homemade pulled pork

or smoked sausage, as well as 13 wing flavors. Oak Grove Market also recently started offering homemade chicken salad, as well as salsas. The store also offers grab-and-go items displayed on black gondolas.

Patterson envisioned Oak Grove market as a foodservice destination more than a traditional convenience concept. “It was more of ‘Let’s go eat at Oak Grove Market.’ That’s what I was hoping for.”

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 59


The floors at Oak Grove Market are made of natural concrete, and the ceiling is black and adorned with barn lights that hang down, illuminating the store.

Aside from Grub at the Grove, Oak Grove Market includes a fountain drink section as well as a walk-in beer cooler that holds many local craft brews.

The fountain machine sits on a countertop inside a large brown display. Beside that are the three-barrel Icee machine and six Frazil taps. On the other side of the fountain drinks, an iced tea display stands out against a grey and black patterned wall.

Customers have the option to enjoy a cup of coffee from four different bean-to-cup machines, with three different flavors of beans per machine.

The store also offers a large wine selection with 60 different wines, which are merchandised in a few large wooden crates as well as in the store’s large open-air cooler — the bottom row is filled with white wines. A fourfoot-by-four-foot rack displays red wines.

“We have a lot of specialty cabinetry up front,” said Patterson. A lot of the displays at the front of the store hold produce and other seasonal items.

“It’s an operation, there’s no doubt. But it’s just taking a little time to grow, and it is growing. … because it’s a little bit different,” Patterson said. CSD

Operations | Best New Store
Design Awards
60 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

Leveraging Loyalty Programs at Convenience Stores

Personalization is helping c-stores make loyalty programs more relevant to customers.

Marathon Rewards is powered by Philadelphia-based Stuzo’s Open Commerce product suite, which provides a personalized consumer experience with targeted offers for specific store locations and consumers.

tive, easy to use and easy to register (for),” suggested Hussein Yatim, vice president of Yatco Energy in Marlborough, Mass., which operates 18 Yatco Food Mart locations.

Personalization is a growing trend today in loyalty programs as c-store retailers look to tailor promotions and rewards to customer preferences.

Case in point: in November of last year, Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced a pilot of a new and improved rewards program available to its jobbers and dealers to enhance the retail consumer experience.

The new loyalty program, Marathon Rewards, replaced the MakeItCount Rewards platform.

Through the program, consumers earn rewards on fuel of five cents per gallon, rewards on select in-store purchases, and consumers may qualify for additional third-party offers.

Rewards can be redeemed to save on qualifying fuel purchases, and the program kicks off with a $5 reward incentive for new member-related activities.


To be successful, today’s loyalty programs must offer a variety of benefits to customers.

“Loyalty programs must be intui-

Major components of loyalty programs include enticing customers to sign up for the program and creating a step-by-step signup process that is as simple and streamlined as possible, Yatim suggested.

“Once they have an account created, (ensure) the user interface of the program is simple, clean and clear,” he said.

A key part of any loyalty program is offering a sign-up reward to incentivize the customer to become a member, Yatim said.

“Once they are using the program, offering relevant offers based off their buying behaviors is important to ensure they’re proactive using

Technology | Loyalty 62 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Convenience store retailers work hard to drive customer loyalty and to ensure their customers value their rewards program.
SOFTWARE FOR THE PETROLEUM & CONVENIENCE STORE INDUSTRIES Learn more at addsys.com 800-922-0972 SYSTEMS ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD Thank you to our clients for consistently collaborating with us to bring innovative software solutions to the industry. Experience that fuels the Future Your driver Jim B will be delivering fuel today to 12 East 2nd St. Anywhere, NC ADD ENERGY Co.

The Yatco Rewards program lets customers earn points for every gallon of fuel by using their YATCO Rewards card.

the program and visiting the chain’s stores,” he added.

Recent trends in loyalty include using back-end data based on customers’ buying behaviors to personalize the programs, and offers that make them more relevant, Yatim explained.

“Offering a mobile app is also key in today’s market and customer demographics,” he said. “I also think loyalty programs are now being used as a communication tool between brands and their customers, where now there is a digital component for an organization to gain constant feedback for both their loyalty program and their chain.”

The chain’s Yatco Rewards program lets customers earn five points for every gallon of fuel by using their Yatco Rewards card or virtual loyalty card ID on the Yatco Rewards app. They can also earn 10 points for every $1 spent in the store.


What else is expected to define c-store loyalty programs in 2023?

“First of all, they need to be true loyalty programs, not pricediscounting schemes,” insisted Ryan Mathews, the founder and CEO of Black Monk Consulting in Eastpointe, Mich. “To do that they have to clear three hurdles. They must know the consumer they are addressing as a person, not as the

aggregation of all their purchases.”

Next, they must reward members in a way that is meaningful to them, Mathews added.

“And finally, they must have character — that is, they must be authentic, transparent, honest and capable of listening and evolving. Right now, the rewards tend to be some form of pricing scheme — rebates, discounts, free goods. We have to grow past that,” he added.

Mathews said he has never seen a scaled loyalty program that he would consider truly personalized. “That is, designed just for me — and I’m not sure it’s a practical idea,” he said. “But stuffing me in a box based on age, zip code, gender, spend, etc. is exactly the wrong way to go about things, and there are innumerable examples of that to be found.”

But such options might be a long way off for most convenience stores. Today, c-store retailers finding success with their loyalty programs are actively gaining new loyalty members as they continue to update and improve their programs to keep pace with changing trends and customer expectations. CSD


• Personalization is a big trend in loyalty.

• C-stores should make loyalty program sign-up easy and intuitive.

Technology | Loyalty
64 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
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As convenience store retailers expand into new technology from mobile ordering to delivery, they should look to quick-service restaurants for inspiration in taking loyalty strategies to the next level.

During the pandemic, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) leaned heavily into online and mobile ordering technologies. At first, restaurants needed online ordering platforms simply to stay afloat — but with that foundational architecture now in place, they are turning their attention to creating hyper-personalized experiences curated by way of dataheavy loyalty strategies.

While QSRs were struggling to maintain customers under COVID-19 restrictions, convenience retailers recognized the opportunity to gain some of that market share with foodservice programs specifically designed for meals on the go. Many of these retailers relied upon thirdparty delivery services (3PDs) early on. However, as convenience retailers continue to evolve their

own foodservice programs, they can learn a lot from restaurants and the digital innovation that is driving customer expectations.

Here, we discuss how three beloved QSR brands evolved their loyalty programs by offering the services and experiences customers crave.


Panda Express launched its web and mobile ordering experience in tandem with marketing efforts to evolve its brand and foster growth plans. A visit to Panda Express is a sensory experience, so it needed to digitally recreate the best parts of an in-store visit — visual interaction with the food and seamless station-to-station order flow. To achieve this, photos of their colorful dishes appear throughout the online ordering process so customers can see what their final order will look like.

In 2022, Panda Express launched its loyalty program, which features points earned from every

Technology Column | Loyalty & Mobile Ordering
Abbey Karel • Bounteous
66 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

dollar spent, birthday rewards, a monthly gift and more — around the theme “Good Fortune.”

The brand’s iconic panda bear takes the customer on an interactive journey that subtly highlights its key brand tenets of authenticity, generosity and inclusivity. The loyalty rollout resulted in increased ordering frequency, average order value and incremental revenue, in addition to elevating brand perception.

The takeaway: Loyalty goes beyond discounts — it can be anything that creates a stronger connection between the customer and the brand.

In fact, the best strategies hit on both transactional and emotional elements. Convenience retailers have traditionally relied on discounts, which can deliver short-term loyalty, but more progressive brands are also adopting a more productive balance, focusing on customer connection over the long term.


When Jack in the Box wanted to up the ante to provide a more personalized and seamless digital guest experience across consumer touch points, it moved the entire ordering experience within the brand framework. This reduced reliance on 3PD services and allowed Jack in the Box to gain access to critical data and insights into its customer base’s ordering habits.

Now, customers can see suggested items during their ordering flow and gain rewards like double points on delivery orders, while interactive features like an animated Jack in the Box mascot create “surprise and delight” moments that foster engagement and cultivate emotional loyalty.

The takeaway: To provide the level of customization that customers expect, brands need data. Bringing all ordering under one brand umbrella ensured Jack in the Box received the maximum amount of information related to every order. This can be especially challenging for convenience retailers who have not established technology and processes to enable data collection, much less aggregation and analysis. However, as demonstrated by Jack in the Box, this is essential to providing customers with a high level of personalization and a customized digital experience overall.


In addition to a full-service restaurant (FSR), Dave & Buster’s has a video arcade and games component, which makes it a unique foodservice destination. A visit to Dave & Buster’s is more than a meal — it’s an experience guests associate with special occasions and celebrations.

Integrating a customer data platform (CDP) helped Dave & Buster’s gain a more holistic view of its customer base in order to administer appropriate value propositions in its loyalty offer.

A CDP accepts data inputs from multiple sources (such as email lists), builds profiles and activates audiences. It acts as a centralized data capture library that helps marketers segment out their campaign audiences.

Integrating a CDP into its existing tech ecosystem allowed Dave & Buster’s to track digital events more robustly and extract granular data from guests who viewed certain content. From there, brands can create personalized messages and even propensity models that analyze which customers are most likely to return.

The takeaway: Although many c-store brands may not be ready for a CDP, it’s important to know how it might fit into your existing ecosystem and what it makes possible. For brands who are committed to building long-term customer loyalty on par with restaurants and QSRs, they must invest in the same technologies and platforms such as a CDP that will allow them to deliver a similar digital experience that leverages every touchpoint to further enhance their connection with their customers.

As convenience retailers build out their tech stacks and lay the foundation for future integrations, they can learn valuable lessons from the QSR industry. Knowing what is possible in terms of robust loyalty programs and consumer expectations for hyper-personalized experiences helps brands better navigate the path to digital maturity.

Abbey Karel is vice president of business development for convenience at Bounteous. With a background in mobile product management in retail, Karel’s focus is on deeply understanding clients’ needs to optimize global teams throughout the product lifecycle and driving strategic, long-term partnerships centered around co-innovation.

cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 67

PRODUCT Showcase

Compostable Straws

Eco-Products announced a new line of compostable straws made from plant-based plastic that are as durable as conventional straws. Because the straws are made with plant-based PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), their organic nature allows them to act as a food source to the bacteria that aid in decomposition. These PHA straws can biodegrade in a commercial compost facility or a home compost pile. The new straws are offered in a variety of lengths from 5.5 to 10.25 inches and are available in individually wrapped or unwrapped options. The wrapped version is clearly marked as compostable.



Chocolate Mint Cookie Protein Bar

1440 Foods announced the rollout of Chocolate Mint Cookie Bar, a new flavor of Pure Protein’s popular protein bar line. The Chocolate Mint Cookie Bar is the latest flavor innovation from Pure Protein’s lineup of pre- and post-workout gluten-free bars. It is a refreshing mix of mint and chocolate. It features just two grams of sugar, 180 calories and 19 grams of high-quality protein for lasting energy. 1440 Foods brands can be purchased online at Amazon or at a wide range of grocery, pharmacy and convenience store chains nationwide.

1440 Foods


Orange Soda With New Formula

The Coca-Cola Co. announced that it will release new innovations in 2023, including with Fanta. Fanta will unveil a new and improved Fanta Orange and Fanta Orange Zero Sugar featuring a superior formula and a bold new visual identity. Fans will still enjoy the bright, bubbly and instantly refreshing taste they know — with a bolder taste than ever before.

The Coca-Cola Co.


Funfetti Popcorn

General Mills Convenience is expanding the ready-toeat popcorn category with its new Pillsbury Funfetti Popcorn. Coated with Funfetti Glaze, the popcorn features tiny rainbow-colored flecks that boost the visual eating experience and fun factor. The new popcorn offers consumers a new form to enjoy the nostalgic Funfetti flavor. The Pillsbury Funfetti Popcorn will be available in a 2.25-ounce bag nationwide in May 2023. It has a suggested retail price of $2.29. General Mills also introduced cereal-flavored popcorn, available in Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs flavors, in 2022.

General Mills Inc.


68 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

PRODUCT Showcase

Dual-Sided Sweet and Tart Gummies

The SweeTARTS brand released its newest innovation — Gummies Fruity Splitz. Each piece is a single fruit-flavored, poppable and mouthwatering gummy that “splits” into two sides to give consumers the best of both worlds: a sweet side and a tangy tart one with a soft bouncy gummy texture. Each pack features six flavors: Blue Punch, Cherry, Grape, Orange, Lemon and Green Apple. The candy comes in a three-ounce Share Pack for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $1.79, a threeounce Peg for an SRP of $1.79, a five-ounce Peg for an SRP of $2.99 and a nine-ounce SUB for an SRP of $3.49.

Ferrara Candy Co.


Sweet Mint Gum

The Hershey Co. recently released a new flavor of its Ice Breakers Ice Cubes brand: Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Mint Crystal Gum. The Mint Crystal Gum flavor is a refreshing, sweeter minty taste. Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Mint Crystal Gum is currently available in a 3.24-ounce bottle pack.

The Hershey Co. www.thehersheycompany.com

Special-Edition Lighter Series

The BIC Lighter is 50 and is celebrating this milestone in style with a Flick My BIC Special Edition refresh. From flower power to virtual reality, the featured imagery encompasses fun, colorful, nostalgic elements from the last five decades. This 50th anniversary lighter is only available for a limited time. The lighters in this series have a suggested retail price of $2.09 per lighter. BIC Maxi Lighters are long-lasting, reliable and 100% quality inspected.




Ranch Dip

Doritos unleashed its new Doritos Dips in a Cool Ranch Jalapeño flavor. The first-ofits-kind dip pairs well with all kinds of foods — from pizza to pretzels, veggies and more. Doritos Dip Cool Ranch Jalapeño is inspired by Doritos Cool Ranch. This reimagined smooth and creamy ranch dip intensifies flavor with a touch of spicy jalapeño. The Doritos Dip flavor is available at retailers nationwide and online.



cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 69

PRODUCT Showcase

Strawberry Acai Non-Alcoholic Beer

Labatt Blue Light recently introduced its refreshingly fruity take on nonalcoholic beer, Labatt Blue Light Non-Alc Strawberry Acai. With 75 calories, this year-round non-alcoholic beer stands out with bright notes of strawberry and popular acai. As the selection of non-alcoholic products expands, Labatt brings one of the first fruit-forward non-alcoholic beers to the segment. New Labatt Blue Light Non-Alc Strawberry Acai is a refreshing and flavorful alternative for those who want a flavored non-alcoholic beer. Labatt Blue Light Non-Alc Strawberry Acai is available all year in six-packs of 12-ounce sleek cans.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV www.ab-inbev.com

Chewy Confetti Cake Cookies

Chips Ahoy! announced the launch of a new cookie variety: Chewy Confetti Cake Cookies. Inspired by the brand’s 60th birthday celebration, Chips Ahoy!’s new confetti cake-flavored chewy cookies have colorful rainbow sprinkles. Chips Ahoy! Chewy Confetti Cake Cookies is currently available in stores nationwide. Chips Ahoy! Chewy Confetti Cake Cookies is the brand’s latest cookie creation in the Chips Ahoy! portfolio and can be purchased in family-sized packages for a suggested retail price of $4.99.

Mondelēz International www.mondelezinternational.com

Modernized Pancake Packaging

Cold-Pressed Juices

AllWellO offers retail customers gluten-free, vegan and kosher coldpressed juices in 11-ounce bottles. The juice comes in three different flavors: Go Green, Tropical Escape and Berry Delight. Go Green includes ingredients such as cucumber juice, kale juice, spinach juice, green apple juice, lime juice, parsley juice and dill juice. Tropical Escape's ingredients include passion fruit juice, pineapple juice, peach juice, banana puree, mango juice, apple juice, pear juice and coconut water. Berry Delight includes cherry juice, cranberry juice, purple carrot juice, strawberry juice, raspberry puree, mulberry juice and bilberry juice ingredients.

AllWellO www.allwello.com

Hungry Jack created a new look featuring refreshed packaging across all pancake and waffle products, including dry mixes, frozen pancakes and microwaveable syrup bottles. The packaging features a bolder and more modern design that signifies where the brand stands today. The new Hungry Jack packaging was designed to modernize the look and feel of the brand to appeal to today’s pancake and waffle mix shoppers, while staying true to the brand’s rich history. The packaging also highlights that the pancake and waffle mixes are now made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Hometown Food Co. www.hometownfoodcompany.com

70 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com

Italian-Inspired Meat Snacks

Fiorucci is a leading producer of Italianinspired specialty meats and snacks, using old-world techniques through innovative, modern ways to delight families across the world. Customers can enjoy the brand’s signature flavor with its finest snacking offerings.

. Sigma Alimentos


New Cookie Flavors and Merchandisers

Rich Products expanded its extensive cookie portfolio of over 250 options, adding three flavors to the individually wrapped Our Specialty Treat Shop Cookie lineup — peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and sugar — which join the existing chocolate chip cookie. In addition, Rich’s introduced retail-ready merchandisers for three of these four flavors. The 1.35-ounce cookies come 120 per case with a shelf life of 365 days frozen and 21 days ambient. Rich's also launched a retail-ready countertop merchandiser with bright red and navy blue accents featuring 12 gourmet Christie Cookie Co. Triple Chocolate Cookies. The 1.4-ounce cookies come 48 per case with a shelf life of 365 days frozen and seven days ambient.

Rich Products Corp.


Modular Displays and Graband-Go Refrigeration Units

Designed exclusively for convenience store applications, LSI's modular displays by JSI bring unmatched versatility, available in custom widths and heights, with numerous stains and finishes. JSI’s grab-and-go refrigeration units are equally at home in a convenience or grocery store. Made to order, they bring a whole new dimension of merchandising power to convenience stores. The modular displays and grab-and-go refrigeration units by JSI allow convenience store owners to elevate the décor of their stores while stocking the most popular, highest-volume products customers love.

LSI Industries Inc. www.lsicorp.com

‘Star Wars’ Candy Fans

CandyRific, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, created “Star Wars” Classic-themed character candy fans, inspired by Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and Yoda characters. Customers can push the button and feel a burst of cool air from these “Star Wars”themed character candy fans. Each fan comes complete with 0.53 ounces of assorted fruit-flavored dextrose candies (natural flavors and colors). It has a suggested retail price of $5.99 and ships in six 12-count displays per case.

assorted fruit-flavored



PRODUCT Showcase
cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 71

Making Connections that Drive Business

Classifieds/Ad Index cstore decisions.com February 2023 • CSTORE DECISIONS 73 ADD Systems 63 800.922.0972 / www.addsys.com Fiorucci Foods 39 www.fioruccifoods.com Franke 41 us.coffee.franke.com Haleon 3, 65 Chapstick: L.Hankins@haleon.com Nicorette: Scott.F.Breisinger@haleon.com Hatco Corporation 35 hatcocorp.com / 414.671.6350 High Tea 11 800.358.8100 / www.highteawraps.com Hunt Brothers Pizza 23 800.453.3675 / www.huntbrotherspizza.com/csd John Middleton Co. 2 877.968.5323 Johnsonville C-Store 25 foodservice.johnsonville.com Kretek - Djarum 47 800.358.8100 / salesinfo@kretek.com Liggett Vector Brands 57 877.415.4100 MOJO Balanced Energy Pouches 49 https://mojo.shop North American Bancard 72 866.481.4604 / www.nynab.com NRS Petro 13 888.260.0112 / www.nrspetro.com Paragon Solutions 61 817.927.7171 • www.paragon4design.com Perfetti van Melle 29 www.perfettivanmelle.com Placon 5 800.541.1535 / www.placon.com Prairie City Bakery 15 www.pcbakery.com Premier Manufacturing, Inc. 17 www.gopremier.com Recuerda Brew 7 sales.us@recuerdacafe.com / www.recuerdacafe.com Swedish Match 800.367.3677 www.zyn.com 9 www.generalsnus.com 51 www.gamecigars.com 76 TransAct Technologies 75 www.transact-tech.com Trion Industries, Inc. Between 26 & 27 570.824.1000 / www.TrionOnline.com CStoreDecisions.com is geared toward C-Store retailers, convenience store suppliers, and distributors looking to stay abreast of industry trends, new product offerings and category management best practices. We use the latest media technology, delivering content the way you want it: print issues, digital issues, enewsletters, and videos. Use CStoreDecisions.com to help you strengthen your peer network with social engagement through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. Browse, bookmark, share and interact with the most relevant industry content and people in the market.
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Focusing on Food Safety

As they double-down on foodservice programs, c-stores must work to integrate food safety best practices.

CStore Decisions spoke with Jessica Greeno, food safety specialist for Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners, to learn how she’s approaching food safety at the company’s more than 530 c-stores that include chains Alltown, Alltown Fresh, Xtramart and Jiffy Mart.

CStore Decisions (CSD): Why is food safety crucial to convenience stores?

Jessica Greeno (JG): Food safety isn’t just important when you eat at your favorite restaurant; it should be just as important at home, at a drive-through and at convenience stores. While we, as a company and an industry, move forward with more robust food and beverage programs, it’s as important as ever to have a solid food safety training program. All employees need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to keep their team members and guests safe and healthy.

CSD: What are some of the food safety strategies you have implemented at Global Partners LP?

JG: We have created onboarding food safety training, food safety manager courses and job aids for stores to use as food safety reminders. We also employ in-person training so we can use real-time examples to provide necessary food safety knowledge. All of our tools and

documentations are easily accessible for stores to use at all times. Our goal is to continue nurturing a culture of food safety in our stores. We want food safety to be second nature to our team members.

CSD: If a c-store chain wants to implement a food safety program, where should they start?

JG: Building a food safety program starts with your store team members. It should be a part of the culture. Gaining trust from your team members is critical. You don’t just want to be a name behind a screen. For us, this meant getting into every store, face-to-face with employees to get a sense of their baseline food safety knowledge so that we could grow and train from there.

CSD: How would you define a food safety culture?

JG: I don’t define food safety culture as simply training and proper certifications — it’s so much more than that. Building a food safety culture takes time, dedication and effort, starting from the top down. It’s important to have full support from all areas of your company to have a successful food safety program. Building a food safety culture requires everyone to work together as a whole. Support; acknowledgment; and systems for tracking necessary products, metrics, training needs and job aids make for a fun and successful food safety culture.

CSD: What are some tips for creating a food safety culture at a c-store chain?

JG: It can’t just be one or two people pushing for a food safety culture; it takes the whole village. Be a food safety champion among your peers, and others will follow. Developing a food safety culture is never fully complete, but food safety standards and practices can become second nature if you build shared food safety patterns and behaviors.

CSD: What other advice do you have for other c-store retailers when it comes to food safety?

JG: Even though some c-stores don’t have a full foodservice program, I also like to share with people that chips, gum and coffee are all food too. Too many times, I’ve heard, “We don’t sell food here,” but there is food all around us. Food safety doesn’t stop at a restaurant or deli; it also includes your facilities, temperature logs, equipment, cleanliness and so much more. We can drive change with support and training. Keep an open mind; food safety, food culture and food programs within c-stores are changing. We, as an industry, have to evolve as our food programs become more robust and dynamic.

Food safety best practices remain a key component of growing a successful food program.
74 CSTORE DECISIONS • February 2023 cstore decisions.com
Jessica Greeno
www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS EQUIPMENT FOOD PREP www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS FOOD PREP www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS EQUIPMENT MONITORING FOOD PREP www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS EQUIPMENT MONITORING FOOD PREP TEMP TAKING www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS EQUIPMENT MONITORING FOOD PREP TEMP TAKING www.transact-tech.com/csn | boha@transact-tech.com www.transact-tech.com/csp | boha@transact-tech.com TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FRESH FOOD PROGRAM ON-DEMAND LABELS EQUIPMENT MONITORING FOOD PREP TEMP TAKING www.transact-tech.com/cd | boha@transact-tech.com
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Articles inside

Focusing on Food Safety

pages 92-93

PRODUCT Showcase

pages 87-90

PRODUCT Showcase

page 86


pages 84-85

Leveraging Loyalty Programs at Convenience Stores

pages 80-83

WINNER: Oak Grove Market

pages 76-79


pages 72-75

Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise

pages 70-71

Vape & Modified Risk

page 68

Tobacco: New Year, Old Battles, Different Outcomes?

pages 64-67

Cain Brings Classic Culinary Skills to Wally’s

pages 62-63

Take the 2023 CSD/Humetrics Human Resources Benchmarking Survey Now!

page 61

Profits by the Cupful

pages 58-60

WINNER : Kum & Go

pages 54-56

A clear win for safety Protect

page 53

Best Foodservice Launch Awards

pages 51-52


page 50


pages 44-49

CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER

pages 41-43

CASE STUDY: Relocation to New Retail Space in Canada

pages 38-40

Store Redesign Metrics

page 37

CASE STUDY: Storefront ROI in the United States BY STYLMARK

page 36

Foodservice Challenges and Opportunities

pages 28-35

THE 2023 Foodservice Report

pages 22, 24-28


pages 16-19

Time Mart Rebrands to Movement Fuels

pages 10-15

Growing Business Through Loyalty

pages 8-9


pages 5-8

Focusing on Food Safety

pages 93-94

PRODUCT Showcase

pages 88-91

PRODUCT Showcase

page 87


pages 85-86

Leveraging Loyalty Programs at Convenience Stores

pages 81-84

WINNER: Oak Grove Market

pages 77-80


pages 73-76

Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise Candy Sales Climb as Prices Rise

pages 71-72

Vape & Modified Risk

page 69

Tobacco: New Year, Old Battles, Different Outcomes?

pages 65-68

Cain Brings Classic Culinary Skills to Wally’s

pages 63-64

Take the 2023 CSD/Humetrics Human Resources Benchmarking Survey Now!

page 62

Profits by the Cupful

pages 59-61

WINNER : Kum & Go

pages 55-57

A clear win for safety Protect

page 54

Best Foodservice Launch Awards

pages 52-53


page 51


pages 45-50

CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER CASE STUDY: Rethinking the Customer Experience in India BY GENSLER

pages 42-44

CASE STUDY: Relocation to New Retail Space in Canada

pages 39-41

Store Redesign Metrics

page 38

CASE STUDY: Storefront ROI in the United States BY STYLMARK

page 37

Foodservice Challenges and Opportunities

pages 29-36

THE 2023 Foodservice Report

pages 23, 25-29


pages 17-20

Time Mart Rebrands to Movement Fuels

pages 11-16

Growing Business Through Loyalty

pages 9-10


pages 6-9
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