Convenience Store News

MAR 2017

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66 Convenience Store News | MARCH 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages FOODSERVICE fully finished items to bring into the store. Those items are very expensive, and the gross margin tends to be relatively lean. But if you're willing to bring in foodservice-grade equipment and to work with compo- nents, you will create quite a bit more gross margin for your bottom line," continued Leising. Retailers must constantly compare the costs of their vendors, according to Richard Speckman, proprietor of The Corner Deli & Grill in West Los Angeles. It should be a daily job. "Don't assume you're always getting the best price. Constantly check your vendors and what they offer vis-à-vis the competition," Speckman urged. "If you don't watch your food costs daily, it can get out of control quickly." KEEP IT CLEAN Keeping your foodservice equipment clean is impera- tive to present your food to customers in the safest, freshest manner, while making sure you adhere to state and local regulations. Food safety is paramount at RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., an Atlanta-based chain of more than 600 com- pany-owned and third-party, contract-operated conve- nience stores under the RaceTrac and RaceWay names in 12 Southern U.S. states. "We are definitely a food safety culture," said Chef Bob Derian, director of food and beverage innova- tion at RaceTrac. "When I came to the company eight years ago, we had two people who were ServSafe certified. Now, we have at least two or three in every single store. The entire executive team, all of category management, and all of the leadership of operations are ServSafe certified. Food safety is paramount in development for Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc., opera- tor of 700-plus convenience stores in Florida and the Mid-Atlantic. "The cost savings come after you have a successful program," Hochberg said. "We're in so many different businesses, it's hard to generalize. I do think it's about how much you're selling and where the opportunities are, vs. something small that might not be as big an opportunity. You have to grow into opportunities to effect cost savings." It's very important that a c-store chain has con- sistency in its equipment across its stores as well. As Green pointed out, this helps drive costs down in terms of purchasing the equipment, as well as the amount of time and energy it takes to train personnel on how to utilize the equipment. TurboChef is one of the more popular speed ovens used in c-stores and quick-service restaurants. Steve Crellin, TurboChef's regional sales director for the Northeast U.S./Canada, said the oven's programmabil- ity is key in controlling costs. "You will have less food waste because you won't have to recook something that wasn't cooked correctly the first time," he said. Preparing food items in-store as opposed to pur- chasing them fully prepared can also be a huge cost- cutter. "When you're not buying something that's fully finished, and you can do some or most of the culinary prep work on-site, you will save a substantial amount," explained Steve Leising, convenience chan- nel marketing manager at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products Corp. Rich's is a supplier to the c-store, food- service, in-store bakery, and retail marketplaces. "There are companies that specialize in creating Cost savings are paramount for both big and small retailers: "The savings come after you have a successful program ... It's about how much you're selling and where the opportunities are." — Lynn Hochberg, Wawa "Don't assume you're always getting the best price. Constantly check your vendors and what they offer ... food costs get out of control quickly." — Richard Speckman, The Corner Deli & Grill

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