Young executives tour RaceTrac locations to get an up close look at the chain’s latest initiatives.
The National Advisory Group’s (NAG) third annual Young Executives Organization (YEO) Roundtable hosted by RaceTrac Petroleum wrapped up in Atlanta on Thursday.
Nearly 50 of the convenience store industry’s young and next-generation executives representing 38 convenience store chains received a guided tour of two local RaceTrac locations—a 6,000 square foot model and a 5,400 square foot model—to get a firsthand look at some of the initiatives discussed during the first day of the conference. RaceTrac was Convenience Store Decisions’ 2014 Convenience Store Chain of the Year.
As RaceTrac embarks on an aggressive remodel of its legacy stores, all of its c-stores will begin to incorporate many of the features seen in the 6,000-square-foot locations. As stores are remodeled they will begin to feature fresh biscuits instead of frozen, a fresh toppings bar to accompany the roller grill and an expanded iced tea selection that incorporates a variety of tea flavors. All stores will receive a smaller version of the Swirl World frozen yogurt program—with the 5,000-square-foot stores featuring four yogurt machines and the smaller legacy stores featuring three.
Attendees were able to order a customized Speedy Avocado burrito via touchscreen and eat in the outdoor seating area at the 5,400 square-foot store. RaceTrac currently features the Speedy Avocado program at six locations. The chain is about to launch a made-to-order sandwich program at a different location next month.
At the 6,000 square-foot store, high ceilings and eye-catching graphics and signage greeted guests, including visuals of produce on the ceilings, such as mixed greens and oranges.
“I really liked the high ceilings at the (6,000-square-foot) location. It makes the store feel more open and spacious. And I liked the produce photos on the ceiling as you walk in because it really advertises a healthy lifestyle and fits with the new made-to-order sandwiches that the chain is launching that are fresh and healthy. I also found the backroom really interesting—a garage door opens and the guys delivering beer come in that way through the back and drop the beer right in the coolers without ever going onto the floor or interfering with customers,” noted Andrew McIntosh, director of sales and marketing for McIntosh Energy.
“The most interesting thing for me was how organized the backrooms were and that they planogram the backroom. That must lend itself to consistencies from one store to the next. From a marketing perspective, RaceTrac’s commitment to its newly launched loyalty app really shows in the way they market it from the pump toppers to signage at the store entrances and throughout the store,” said Dimitri Olympidis, director, marketing and central enterprises for Family Express Corp., which hosted the YEO Roundtable in 2015.
“For me, the internal graphics and signage were really impressive and different from what we usually see in a typical convenience store and almost more like a grocery store with the images of fresh produce,” said Sharif Jamal, corporate training manager for Chestnut Petroleum Distributors Inc. “I also liked seeing the hot tamales on the roller grill—I’ve never seen those on a roller grill before.”
In addition to learning about RaceTrac, attendees had more opportunities to network with their peers during the tours. The c-store industry’s young executives and leaders of tomorrow face unique challenges as they grow their businesses and YEO’s mission is to cultivate young industry talent through education and networking.
“I think it is beneficial to see what industry leaders are doing and get new ideas to take back, and to network with our peers from different areas,” said Dana Moloney, food service director for Warrenton Oil Co., and a member of the YEO Board of Directors.
“The NAG YEO is an unmatched opportunity to share ideas and experiences with young industry peers and to learn from the best and brightest in the industry,” said Jared Sturtevant, YEO board chairman and supervisor of digital marketing for CST Brands.
YEO will meet again at the National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference this September in Savannah, Ga. For more information or to view the NAG Conference agenda, visit www.nagconvenience.com.
To join YEO or NAG, contact NAG Executive Director John Lofstock at [email protected].