Convenience Store News

JUL 2015

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90 Convenience Store News | JULY 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Spotlighting major industry events OUTABOUT & Celebrating the Entrepreneurial Spirit NRA Show highlights the significant economic impact of foodservice retailers By Angela Hanson T he restaurant industry encompasses many different styles of eateries and styles of cui- sine from across the globe, but it also offers something uniquely American, according to the keynote speakers at the 2015 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, which took place May 16-19 at Chicago's McCormick Place. "The American dream is alive and well in the restaurant industry," NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney said during the keynote presen- tation entitled "State of the American Dream 2015: Empowerment." Many foodservice retailers are single-location operators, making them small businesses that have a large impact on the economy, and more than 50 percent of people in the United States work in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives. This makes the industry a bridge to even non-foodservice careers by teaching workers skills and the ability to face chal- lenges and failures along the way, according to guest speaker Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in- chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Hundreds of foodservice industry suppliers displayed the latest innovations in products and equipment at this year's NRA Show, which featured multiple pavilions for exhibitors and attendees with special interests, including organic and natural; special dietary needs; sustainable products and services; and startups and franchises. A significant number of show attendees gathered to learn about the latest advancements in retail foodser- vice offerings in convenience stores and grocery stores, which have expanded significantly in recent years and show no signs of stopping. Consumers today view retail foodservice as a con- venient opportunity to get meals for themselves and their families, and prepared foods are heating up as time-crunched shoppers embrace ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals as alternatives to eating out, said Jim Dudlicek, editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer and moderator of the panel "Foodservice Advancements in the Grocery and C-store Channels." Major factors influencing this changing eating behavior include increased buying power of millenni- als and Hispanic consumers, aging baby boomers and smaller households. Convenience stores are also seeing major change when it comes to prepared food. "Most convenience stores offer some kind of foodservice," said panel speaker and Convenience Store News Editorial Director Don Longo. The growth of foodservice in c-stores has outpaced that of in-store merchandise for the past decade. "Foodservice has become the most profitable category in the store," Longo cited. C-store foods driving the growth include sandwich- es and wraps, hot dogs, pizza and chicken, with frozen treats showing notable improvement. CSN National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show May 16-19, 2015 Chicago

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