CHICAGO - As fuel consumption continues to decline, "The future of the convenience store industry will depend on foodservice," declared Dean Dirks, founder and CEO of c-store and foodservice consulting firm Dirks & Associates, speaking at the 2012 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this past weekend.
During an educational session titled "How to Do World-Class C-Store Foodservice," Dean stressed the importance that foodservice will play on convenience store profits, stressing it must be "done right."
"You must do your due diligence to make sure that it€™s going to work," he said, offering up an example of a situation with one small c-store operator where it didn€™t make sense to offer a QSR. For those to succeed, "you must have at least 1,500 people a day in your store," he said. Anything less won€™t be able to turn a profit.
The panel session included insights by Dr. Jack Cushman, executive vice president of foodservices for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, and Jim Bressi, director of food research and development for Kwik Trip, Inc.
Cushman began by laying out three essential considerations for succeeding with a foodservice program:
- Maximize the foodservice real estate by providing customers what they want. To do so requires a thorough understanding of the customer psychographic.
- Maximize gross margins by choosing distributors wisely, engaging in menu engineering to add value, and viewing labor as a variable cost.
- Differentiate your business by continuously reviewing and implementing foodservice and convenience store industry trends.
Bressi said that foodservice is "a daily challenge," one that requires a near fanatical attention to detail, especially cleanliness €" paramount as convenience stores try to change consumer perceptions as to the quality of c-store foodservice.
For more on how to offer world-class foodservice, see the NACS CAFE foodservice training program. August class registration is now open.