Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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14 Convenience Store News | JANUARY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM INDUSTRY ROUNDUP I n addition to building up its physical footprint and rolling out the new global Circle K brand, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is gaining traction around its new foodservice initiatives. The Canada-based convenience store retailer has rolled out its Simply Great Coffee program to more than 400 locations in its North America network. In all, Couche-Tard plans to introduce the dispensed offering to 750 North America stores this year. "The Simply Great Coffee concept recently won the Convenience Store News Innovator of the Year Award for 2016, which adds to our confidence that we're doing the right thing for this category," said CEO Brian Hannasch. "…[We're] seeing this potential come to life." (Circle K was honored as Best Hot Beverages Innovator in the 2016 CSNews Foodservice Innovators Awards program, sponsored by Tyson Convenience.) Citing locations in Quebec, Hannasch reported that the program's results have been stronger in some areas than others. "We may be a little early, but we certainly think [this is] where the younger consumer is headed as evidenced by the success of McDonald's and Starbucks with their offers," he said, empha- sizing that Couche-Tard is committed to the rollout. "We plan to be aggressive in the con- text of our balance sheet in the coming year on coffee." And this isn't the only foodservice initia- tive the retailer has cooking. Couche-Tard's logistics solution of supplying fresh offerings like fresh sandwiches, pastries, salads and fruit cups to its Circle K stores continues to expand. The solution had reached 1,285 locations as of the second quarter of its 2017 fiscal year. Plans call for it to reach an additional 200 stores before the end of the 2017 fiscal year, according to Hannasch. Couche-Tard has also launched an initia- tive to add fresh bakery items to a greater percentage of its retail network, and the chief executive explained that its fresh- prepared food program — which he referred to as "foodvenience" — is operational at approximately 10 sites. The company is "excited" about its pending acquisition of Corner Store parent CST Brands Inc. and what it will mean for the "foodvenience" offering once the inte- gration begins. "They've been on the same journey with regard to foodvenience or made-to-go type offer. And I think they've got an offer that fits very well for the southern half of the U.S.," Hannasch said, explaining Couche-Tard is anxious to get the experts together from both retail chains "in the coming years, as I'm con- fident that it can accelerate our journey." Couche-Tard Gets Cooking on Key Initiatives Food program expansion leads the way for the chain in its fiscal second quarter By Melissa Kress This year, 88.6 percent of convenience store retailers expect their average sales per store to increase year over year. Last year, this figure stood at 82.1 percent of retailers. Source: Convenience Store News 2017 Forecast Study (page 36) "Many of our competitors seem to neglect the in-store experience, content with having great locations. In- stead, Mission Market aims to be a 'one block more kind of store,' where urban consumers will gladly walk past competitors, including drug and grocery stores, to shop here." — Roland Foss, Progressive Convenience (page 84) FAST FACT QUOTABLES

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