Convenience Store News

MAR 2017

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68 Convenience Store News | MARCH 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages FOODSERVICE minute and 10 seconds." Robin Gabriel, co-proprietor of Hinsdale Shell, a single store in Hinsdale, Ill., agrees that technology has gone full throttle. "Originally, we had a combi oven, which was about as high-tech as we got," she said. "We've since replaced that unit, and being able to program your equipment — just push a button and go — is a huge time saver. And it's great for the customer because things get done consistently." C-stores, of course, are typically tight on space, so retailers are often challenged with how to fit the foodservice equipment they need, without taking space away from other products. But there are always cre- ative solutions if you look for them. "Our regular ovens can be stacked two high, and our conveyor ovens can be stacked three high, which obviously gives you more counter space," said TurboChef's Crellin. "We have some stores that had no foodservice before they purchased an oven [and] then [they] actually create a menu around the oven once it's installed." At RaceTrac, a time-motion study is conducted to determine which products will come into the store and, most importantly, where they will go once in the store. "We have an exercise designed to determine what it's going to take to make and package this item," said Derian. "Then, we procure equipment that fits into that model so a person can stand in one spot and everything is within reach. There's no running back and forth." Questions asked during this exercise include: What has to be stored? Is it all on the top level? What has to be put on a shelf, and what's the best shelf to put it on? "It's all been vetted. We do a good job of looking at the overall need of our employees, who we want to put products out as quickly and efficiently as pos- sible," he said. Still, given the general lack of space, when do you reach the point of too much equipment? "You have to edit. You can't just keep adding," acknowledged Wawa's Hochberg. "It's an evolution. Certainly stacking and having equipment take up as little space as possible is key." Undeniably, when all is said and done, it comes down to speed. Customers want to walk into a c-store, get what they want, check out, and be back in their cars in a matter of minutes. "Manufactures need to be proactive in this area — and to bring their expertise and knowledge to the con- venience channel," said Nemco's Parrish. CSN everything we do." If you hope to have a successful operation, you have to make food safety your No. 1 priority. "Because if it's not and someone gets sick, not just RaceTrac gets stained, but the entire industry gets stained," Derian said. "I've seen the Wawa's and Sheetz's of the world heavily into food safety for the right reasons." Indeed, Wawa does a safety and sanitation review before any new piece of equipment is introduced. "That's accompanied by a cleaning procedure review," said Hochberg. For TurboChef's Crellin, the most important factor to ensure efficiency in the operation of his company's fast-cook ovens is keeping them clean, he states. "Our ovens are designed around airflow, and we have impingement plates in the oven," he said, explaining that impingement plates contain holes that allow for high-velocity heated air to speed the cook- ing process; the air can heat up to 500 degrees travel- ling up to 60 miles an hour. "If you keep the holes in the plates clean and the oven free of debris, you won't have any problems." It's very much like keeping your car maintained, Crellin reasoned. "If you change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and keep your engine clean, you're going to get a lot more mileage out of it than you would if you abuse the car," he said. HIGH-TECH ADVANCES Technology plays a huge role in how a c-store chain purchases and uses its equipment, too. "Our touchscreen ovens are Wi-Fi connected," said Crellin. That means a chain of convenience stores using TurboChef ovens can upgrade the menu chain- wide by downloading information to all of their ovens from one central location. "It's amazing how technology is affecting the world of cooking," he added. "A soufflé that would normally take 18-29 minutes can be cooked in our oven in a "We are definitely a food safety culture. When I came to [RaceTrac] eight years ago, we had two people who were ServSafe certified. Now, we have at least two or three in every store." — Bob Derian, RaceTrac Petroleum

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