NAG presenters explain how foodservice can be done well with modest means.
The National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference continued Tuesday Sept. 11 in Jacksonville, Fla. with a significant industry topic: foodservice
John Zikias, chief operating officer for North Carolina-based Holmes Oil Co., moderated the session entitled Foodservice: Doing More with Less. Panelists from progressive c-store explained ways they are pushing the food envelope while effectively engaging customers hungry for different offerings.
First up was Larry Jackson, managing director for the Howard County, Md.-based convenience chain Good to Go Markets. Jackson told attendees foodservice has been a cornerstone at the chain, but it was with the roll out of the Bullhead Pit Beef food truck, that things began getting really profitable.
“The truck has taken up a life of its own,” said Jackson.
Aside from creating meaty menu offerings, the company has also sponsored creative partnerships with local businesses to garner visibility including Guinness and area breweries.
Jackson explained essentials include the right foodservice equipment to meet customer expectations, as well as adequate time to develop the concept.
Innovation will also help drive a foodservice program founded on limited resources.
“I like the idea of someone build something fresh and new,” said Jackson.
ALL DAY LONG
Stephanie Mahoney, food service development manager for MFA Oil Co., which operates 74 Break Time c-stores in Missouri, said Break Time also grew its roots with traditional food offerings including roller gill and nachos but a brighter foodservice future beckoned.
“But, we wanted more,” said Mahoney, including food sales over multiple dayparts.
As part of several upgrades, the company developed the popular Smokestack Bar.B.Q., including fast-casual and express models of the barbecue offer. Also on the c-store’s agenda was the launch of a made-fresh breakfast sandwich, which has taken off. Mahoney explained that company just a few years ago sold an average of 40 breakfast sandwiches daily. Currently, that number has grown to 1,600 sandwiches per day.
“Don’t be afraid to step outside of the daypart,” said Mahoney.
As a result, Break Time experienced an overall breakfast sales hike of 84% year over year. And increases food sales a total of $1 million in the 20 locations since the company revamped its foodservice program.
Besides equipping those Break Time locations with efficient equipment, which has increased its cooking productivity, Mahoney told retailers they should be willing to Also nurture vendor relationships, utilize partner training programs and collaborate with industry colleague.
Hannah Holt, marketing and operations director of Holt Cstores, based in Wilmington, N.C., couldn’t attend the NACS session because her company was preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence. In a summation for Holt, Zikias explained that the Holt chain of 20 locations has been a longtime co-branding partner of Subway, dating back to 1995.
Regular visits and advice from Subway representatives helped Holt craft a better offering.
“This helped them be better foodservice operators,” Zikias said of the Carolina chain.
The success of the Subway partnership also enabled Holt to grow its in-house food sales, to a point the North Carolina chain is considering the creation of a kitchen for Holt’s non-foodservices sites to supply grab and go as well as auto fry chicken program at more store locations.
The NAG Conference runs through Wednesday, Sept. 12.