In the convenience store marketplace, margins continue to tense up on core products such as candy, snacks and tobacco. Prudent operators wanting to originate the wave by introducing foodservice items into their stores. Most facilities provide plenty of customer traffic and space within the store permit modifications for introducing a foodservice operation. While the desire to incorporate foodservice is on the front, operators need to address every part of the execution.
With the appropriate modifications to their in business systems and procedures, convenience store owners can slowly reveal a foodservice offering. Many items need to be addressed including a concerted effort in marketing foodservice equipment beyond the store to attract new clients, capitalizing on improved merchandising and signage, and developing better metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Only via a of utilizing holistic approach, can the stores be positiioned for a giant leap forward to improved earning.
Overall Business Planning: It is essential to understand the direction of the c-store and foodservice operations. Isolating the foodservice component from all of those other P & D will enable a genuine assessment of the operation. For easy processing, labor can be an estimated assigned number of hours. By doing this, one can see if the operation is performing adequately with the use of a break-even analysis and four wall analysis. In addition, any CAPEX improvements can be reviewed for MOTOROLA ROI and each of these reports can be thrown up into a 3-year Proforma.
In business Excellence: Foodservice operations are viewed differently than typical retail from an accounting understanding. The big three in foodservice are food, paper and labor. Tied to inventory management, this is truly the only way to manage foodservice. Systems and procedures are then developed to support the overall management of operations. Foodservice operators leave nothing to chance and develop metrics and procedures in a self-displined fashion to regularly monitor the business. Prepare for opportunity.
Merchandising And In-Store Promotion: All of the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR’s) utilize some sort of value or combo meal. Take the time to develop — and market — mixtures to your customers to help them decide on items; improve speed of operation, and raise average ticket. That being said, out of stocks need to be non-existent and better merchandising should be executed through product placement adjacencies. These on the house items are developed in order to capture all of the opportunities. Addressing these potential shortfalls improves sales and margins and can be easily avoided through systems and procedures.
Local Store Marketing and advertising Plans: While customer traffic in the convenience industry is stronger than the QSR market, the items above will address some of the additional opportunities to capture sales. External cultivation of customers — both onsite and offsite — is generally non-existent in the convenience industry. Window signage with product photography are a must, and outside local store marketing opportunities need to be executed. Overall signage needs a completely new approach to guide and entice customers. Opportunities in catering and “To Go” marketing are abundant and require a aggressive plan addressing these opportunities. All marketing activities should be included in an annual advertising plan.
Key Performance Indicators: Knowing the key drivers is the only way to improve the bottom brand of the business. Lumping the foodservice results in with the convenience product P & D makes it difficult to understand the ins and outs of foodservice. A series of KPI’s should be developed in order to know where the opportunities exist and provide the measurements on the steps toward improvements. Doing a marketing/operational preliminary is a key step up creating the standards to a target.
Vendor Management And Purchasing: Vendor management is important for the convenience store and foodservice operations. Managing your vendors with regard to fall off times is very important (i. e. not having totes stacked in front of foodservice at 11: 45 am). Inventory management at the store level with regard to FIFO (First In, First Out) is not only smart, it is food safe. Foodservice means you need to be arranged with the right vendors that can help you expand your operation in tandem with the customer needs — it cannot be a deterrent.
Launching a foodservice operation in your c-store is both an exciting effort and a smart decision. Manage it correctly and you enjoy the benefits of high-margin products that address an expanding customer need of improved foodservice items. On the bright side, running your foodservice operation like a typical c-store and you will be disappointed with your results.