Convenience Store News

MAR 2017

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64 Convenience Store News | MARCH 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages FOODSERVICE A t the core of any convenience store retailer's foodservice operation is the equipment used to prepare and present the menu items to consumers. From roller grills to coffee stations to fast-cook ovens, there is no question that foodservice equipment is an important piece of the profitability puzzle for conve- nience store operators. "Convenience retailers are looking at ways to increase their foodservice offerings and, just as importantly, they're looking at ways to lower costs and increase margins," said Brad Parrish, president of Dallas-based BK Parris LLC, which represents Nemco Food Equipment Ltd. Nemco is a foodservice equipment supplier based in Hicksville, Ohio. "That's where manufacturers come in, partnering with their retail clients to help control costs." According to Parrish, c-store retailers are typically looking for units that can cook food fast, and handle multiple tasks. The latter function cannot be understated. "Typically, you're seeing TurboChef, MerryChef, or something similar. Those companies offering quick cooking solutions that can handle multiple products," he continued. "And that's what you need — a piece of equipment that can handle multiple tasks." A convenience store's equipment can be a crucial differentiator, noted Rich Green, foodservice director for Maverik Inc., a western U.S. convenience store chain with more than 275 units based in downtown Salt Lake City. "There are certain pieces of equipment that are ubiquitous throughout the industry," said Green. "Speed ovens will facilitate a lot of what you do. We use TurboChef ovens. But then we use the NU-VU — another popular oven used throughout the foodservice industry — as well. Those are pretty standard. But when your program starts to get unique, you need other pieces of equipment to facilitate that differentiation." As an example, Green points to a piece of equip- ment used by Maverik to cook raw corn tortillas for tacos. "They basically go in as corn dough and come out really nice," he explained. "Then, we have a spe- cial piece of equipment for our Neapolitan pizzas. And we have a unique prep table for our taco program." Equipment that controls the food's environment cor- rectly is imperative to extending the life of the ingredi - ents in a retailer's offering. "We have steam tables that maintain the life of our hot ingredients for longer than we need to move them through, and that's very helpful," said Green. "Holding food under the right conditions is a big part of it." CONTROLLING COSTS When a retailer designs a new foodservice program, it's imperative to account for shrinkage and spoilage up front, advised Lynn Hochberg, director of product Equipped for Anything Fresh food necessitates well-maintained equipment to cook, present and hold products By Bob Phillips

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