My Answer Is ‘No’


Q: I have been running convenience stores for many years and understand the importance of cash flow and inventory. But seriously, aren’t there some items that we just have to carry because we are a convenience store? You know, part of the customer-service experience?

A: No!

That might sound harsh, but in Meghan Trainor’s song “No,” she is correct: “You need to let it go” if you want to grow and maintain a pro­ table business with a healthy cash flow.

Blog: Hot Products in the Summertime

Goose Island sample bus

I­ find products everywhere. Call it a hazard of the job; I have a knack.

I was at an outdoor music festival recently in Chicago. This particular festival attracts all ages. The music is eclectic, the people-watching fascinating and the temperature usually 100 degrees.

But this year it was balmy. It even rained a bit, calming the dust from the ­fields that usually play host to Chicago 16-inch softball games and family barbecues.

So Long, Sriracha?


Rare is the food trend that’s actually new—just ask those in Southeast Asia who have been dousing their food in Sriracha for generations. In fact, unless we begin discovering entirely new plants and animals, the latest food trends will always be found by exploring the underexposed or long-forgotten.

The latest Flavor Forecast from McCormick & Co. identifies among its big menu trends of the year familiar ingredients used in new ways, untapped ethnic ideas and better-for-you bene­fits.

Foodservice Equipment: Choosing the Best

Vollrath Co. Stoelting AutoVend System

Every year, the National Restaurant Association (­NRA) announces the 25 recipients

of its Kitchen Innovations ­(KI) Awards, which honor groundbreaking equipment and technologies that have the capacity to vastly improve foodservice operations.

“KI Award recipients exemplify the advancements from foodservice industry professionals that solve the complex challenges of day-to-day back-of-house operations,” says Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle System Inc. and NRA convention chair.

Blog: From Ear Worm to Gummy Worm

Albanese Confection

I have to admit to something: I have any one of five songs stuck in my head all the time. One is “Bunny Hop,” one is “Yakety Sax,” two others are too embarrassing to mention, and the other is this lovely song I learned at Girl Scouts camp.

“Make new friends, but keep the old …”

Technology Product Helps Retailers Tailor Promotions


People may profess their love for exotic products from distant lands, but in the end most are captivated by all things local.  

Nashville, Tenn.-based Tri Star Energy found recent success implementing a locally driven operating strategy to leverage customer loyalty at 65 Twice Daily stores. Working with Knoxville, Tenn.-based NewsBreak Media, a technology and merchandising expert, Twice Daily now operates its own TV network at the dispensers and inside the store. 

What’s Driving All That Snack Sales Growth?


Snack foods grew dollar sales 3.5% in 2015, which outpaced total retail sales of consumer packaged goods (3.2%) and total food and beverage sales growth (2.9%), according to research from SNAC International (formerly the Snack Food Association) and Chicago-based IRI.   

The diverse sizes of snacks, innovation, intriguing flavor mashups and retail/online channel efficiencies—all combined with dynamic tiered pricing inducements—led to an upward trend of dollar sales and, to an extent, units. 

Shopping Outside of the Box

convenience store drone delivery

Convenience stores always seem to be fighting for share from bigger industries with fewer stigmas and stereotypes. But as grocery sales move online and technology and related services innovate, c-stores may find themselves with distinct advantages. Here’s a look at the latest trends in online grocery and some innovations on the fringe.

More Markets

Los Angeles-based research firm IBIS World predicts $9.4 billion in revenue for online grocery in 2017, a total

Three Reasons Not to Overlook RYO

roll-your-own cigarette

There is a chance the roll-your-own/make-your-own ­RYO/MYO‑ tobacco segment gets overlooked in your store. Industrywide, it accounts for approximately 1% of tobacco sales. Some might even say it doesn’t offer the glitz and glamour of other new tobacco products, such as e-vapor.

But it’s a mistake to overlook this segment, says former retailer Andrea Myers, director of business development for Republic Tobacco Co., Glenview, Ill.

Raising the Meat Bar

Epic Provisions meat bar

There are energy bars, fruit bars and granola bars, and nut bars, protein bars and candy bars. But a meat bar?

It exists.

While most meat bars are available now at retail locations such as Whole Foods, these bars, which tout natural ingredients and lots of protein, are poised to take the channel by storm.



clif energy granola blueberry crisp

 Snack mix, granola, pickles and more


New innovations across packaged and foodservice

jelly belly candy cones

Sour treats are trending in the confection world