Convenience Store Resolutions for 2019

A new year presents an opportunity to examine your convenience store business and set resolutions to drive your operations.

By John Schaninger

It’s that time of year again, when many of us begin to think of the past, future and how we can improve ourselves. Sometimes we decide to lose weight, exercise more, or discontinue any myriad of vices.

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There has been a lot of change in our industry over the past year, and while many of us are continuously reviewing opportunities and ways to improve our companies, it may be a good time to do a business self-examination as well, especially if your company does not have a formal strategic planning process.

And what are some of those headlines? Certainly technology is at the forefront of driving change, from external customer facing such as Amazon Go model and Skip mobile checkout at Ricker’s, or self-checkout, long a staple at QuickChek, and now just introduced at Parker’s. We have read about, and seen first-hand, some of the robotics to help with production in the restaurant arena. Data-based decisions are imperative in today’s world, rather than an old style gut instinct, although prior experience is a strong and important factor. How could we utilize data and artificial intelligence (Al) to assist in decision making and predictions?

Commitment to People
However, regardless of the strategy and functional area, our businesses are driven by people. A commitment to people is what drives a successful company. That means a commitment to our team members, customers and vendor partners. We are nothing without them, and all three groups should be at the forefront of our values, strategies and plans. All three deserve our commitment to leave them better than they were before, whether that’s in their career, shopping experience or product sales.

On a recent cross country plane ride to visit family on the opposite coast for a Thanksgiving dinner, I began to think about the most important areas of our businesses, the critical responsibilities that we have to each, and I developed a Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions list. It could probably be longer. I could probably have consolidated it, but, it’s my list, and I urge you to meet with your team and develop yours.

A new year is upon us, and it will bring another 12 months of change, challenges and success. Below are my 2019 New Year Resolutions for c-store operators:

  1. People:
    -I will hire team members with great attitudes while respecting, rewarding and recognizing them for jobs well done.
    -I will develop great training programs with continuous opportunities to grow, but should they leave, insure that when they do, they will be more knowledgeable.
    – I will listen to them.
  2. Customers:
    – I will understand that customers are our lifeblood, work to instill that philosophy in each and every team member and search out opportunities to delight, engage and make their lives easier.
    – I will listen to them.
  3. Vendor partners:
    – I will respect our vendors, rewarding those who are true partners and grow to our mutual benefit.
    – I will listen to them.
  4. Technology:
    – I will embrace technology, devoting the proper resources to ensure we are maximizing our customer experiences and team member productivity, while easing stress and friction.
  5. Data:
    – I will use all relevant information, making data-based decisions, to assess, discuss and decide.
  6. Be famous:
    – I will find my differentiator, whether it is services, people, foodservice, technology or    some combination of, and leverage it to be my competitive advantage.
  7. Process and systems:
    – I will develop processes and systems to ensure that we are delivering what our customers, team members and partners desire in a consistent and efficient manner.
  8. Community:
    – I will serve and support the communities in which I operate with the financial and personnel resources that are fiscally and morally responsible.
  9. Values:
    – I will, with my team, embrace a strong set of values to be the driving force in everything we do.
  10. Me:
    – I will love, embrace and make time for family, friends, myself and all that is important to each.
    – I will be true to me.

Wishing you a Wonderful and Very Happy New Year.

Please send me an email with your 2019 resolutions or discuss mine at [email protected]. John Schaninger is the owner of The Schaninger Group.