Single Store Owner

AUG-SEP 2016

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cover story cover story ter promote the breakfast program at Taco Urbano. Sampling at the pumps has proven to be a successful strategy, too. "Whenever people sample our breakfast offerings, they have enjoyed it," continued Spina. "We just need people to come in and try it." While c-stores are well known for grab-and-go coffee and doughnuts or muffins, items that require preparation are a tougher sell. And McDonald's expanding its breakfast menu to all-day sales can be problematic to the single-store operator. As a single store, Spina finds space limitations particularly chal- lenging in keeping up with the "big boys." "The biggest difference between our lunch and breakfast menus is eggs, which can be a problem since we make everything fresh," he said. "If a customer wants a breakfast sandwich or burrito during the lunch rush, you only have so much prep space. Since you're busy making salads and regular lunch sandwiches, it's hard to start pulling out all of the breakfast stuff." Dinner isn't a priority at Taco Urbano — at least for now. "We're hopeful of building a dinner business at some point," said Spina. "But we're only open until 7 p.m., and after 3 or 3:30 p.m., there's not much business at all. So for now, lunch is our biggest seller Taco Urbano specializes in Mexican food with "a modern twist." "It's not totally traditional, but everything is fresh and made to order," explained Spina. "We make our own salsa. We offer black beans and burrito bowls, which aren't traditional fare. So we made things a little more modern while still offering authentic Mexican fare." According to Spina, Taco Urbano's core consum- er is male aged 18-30, "but our offer has an appeal to all of our customers," he said. While the c-store attracts approximately 2,000 customers per day, Taco Urbano currently averages 80 checks per day, a total that Spina is confident will continue to grow once consumers experience the food. Located on a major thoroughfare, Taco Urbano serves not only local customers, but also commuters and passersby. Taco Urbano's primary business is done at lunch- time — between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., specifically. "But we're working hard to increase our breakfast sales," said Spina. Breakfast can be a particularly hard daypart to break into. "People already have their habits, and habits are hard to break," he acknowledged. Messaging at the fuel pumps has changed to bet-

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