Reporter's Notebook

What's fueling c-store moves

Foodservice means survival for convenience stores

This is part of Nation Restaurant News' special coverage of the 2012 MUFSO conference, taking place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Follow coverage of the event on NRN.com's ‘At the Show’ section, read onsite blogs from NRN editors at Reporter’s Notebook, and Tweet with us using #MUFSO.

Convenience stores have set their gaze on stealing foodservice market share from traditional restaurants, and part of the reason is survival.

Stan Sheetz, chief executive of Sheetz Inc., a family-owned 425-unit c-store chain based in Altoona, Pa., has continued to grow despite pressures from the economy, reduced tobacco sales, and increasingly low gasoline margins. Foodservice is one of the reasons for Sheetz’s success.

During the Award-Winning CEO Panel discussion Tuesday at MUFSO, Sheetz amplified his company’s strategy in starker terms.

“We decided we needed to learn foodservice so we could drive the profitability of our company,” he told the audience, explaining that retail gasoline sales operate on slim margins.

Gas margins are “horribly low, and it’s extremely competitive,” Sheetz said.

“It’s the only product in America where you post your price with three-foot letters out on the street,” he explained with a chuckle. “I’d like to meet the guy who decided to do that, cause I’d kill him.”

Sheetz was named a 2012 Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain award winner.

Find more MUFSO 2012 coverage online at NRN's sister publications, Restaurant Hospitality and Food Management.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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