Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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36 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2016 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM cover story Food & Beverage Pairings Traditionally, the practice of food and beverage pairing has most often been seen at higher-end restaurants where waiters will recommend wines to go with particular meals. However, the practice in now coming to convenience stores, as industry beverage and foodservice suppliers are beginning to partner up to double their effectiveness in the channel. Anheuser-Busch and Tyson Convenience teamed up at last month's 2016 NACS Show to illustrate the importance of fresh food in conve- nience stores and highlight how beer and food can complement each other to drive total basket volume — in particular, increasing sales of products like chicken sandwiches, pizza and hot dogs. The Coca-Cola Co. has also conducted research on pairings and found, surprisingly, that carbonated soft drinks are among the top three beverage choices for breakfast food pairings, and most fre- quently purchased with breakfast sandwiches French toast. Packaging makers are getting in on the act as well, helping to make the practice of pairing food and beverages even easier to execute. With companies such as Snacktops, "food couplers" allow prepared food packages to snap onto a range of stan- dard beverage cup sizes, including coffee cups, bottled beverages, foun- tain drinks, and beer. Sous-Vide Cooking Convenience store shoppers are coming to expect a higher qual- ity of foodservice from the channel. For those c-store retailers strapped for resources, the sous vide method of cooking could offer a meeting point between efficiency and quality. Sous vide refers to cooking food slowly in a vacuum-sealed pouch at a low temperature to retain most of the moisture and flavor. Among the advantages of this cooking method for c-store retailers is the ability to offer a fully-cooked meat with less shrink and better yields, increased shelf life, improved nutrition, fewer ingredients, and consistent flavor, color, texture and tenderness. Operational benefits of sous vide include ease of execu - tion, simple management of fluctuating traffic periods, and increased speed of order to the customer. What's more, sous vide can be accomplished using a variety of foodser- vice equipment that's already readily available to c-store operators, like convection ovens, microwaves, Turbo Chefs or thermalizers. C-stores that lack the manpower and/or expertise to offer full made-to-order foodservice programs could use sous vide as an efficient, cost-effective hot food differentiator. Pumped-Up Fuel Pumps Effectively getting customers from the forecourt into the convenience store is still one of the biggest challenges for c-store retailers. However, innovation at the gas pumps is helping retailers better interact with customers by deliver- ing customized, compelling content in the form of enter- tainment, promos, ads, games, loyalty program informa- tion, instant feedback, and more. Technology like the Optic 12 Solution from NCR appears to have come of age. The modular, self-service solution accepts a range of payment options, including EMV and magnetic stripe cards, contactless, mobile wal- let, and 2D barcode scanning. It's all about the interaction at the pump and driving customers into the store with compelling content. And the time couldn't be riper, as retailers are facing a significant expense in the coming year to upgrade their fuel pumps to be EMV-capable before the October 2017 deadline when liability for fraudu- lent charges shifts from the card com- panies and banks to the retailers. Why not change this expense into an investment in innovation?

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