NATSO Blog

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Truckstop Travels: Smiles, Suggestive Selling and So Good Food in La.

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels

I recently had the opportunity to visit truckstops and travel plazas in Louisiana with Herb Hargraves, Cash Magic, and Al Hebert, Gas Station Gourmet.

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{NATSO News} July 28, 2014

Posted in: Our Legislative and Regulatory Issues

Senate Poised for Highway Funding Bill Vote and more...

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Create a Strong Microwave Section to Increase Grab-n-Go Offerings

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail

According to this article from the Institute of Food Technologists, “Microwavable foods are changing, thanks to consumers’ increasing time pressure, nutritional awareness, and desire for foods that taste and smell like they were cooked in a conventional oven.” (Be sure to check out the article. While old, it still has a lot of relevant points.)

This is especially true for the time-pressed travelers who visit your truckstop. For them, the microwave section of your truckstop can be a destination location. Not only will customers heat food within the location, over-the-road drivers may grab something they can prepare in their truck later.

The number of products that can be microwaved continue to increase. We are also seeing microwavable products of better quality. Some examples of popular food items include popcorn by Orville Redenbacher, Campbell’s soup and pastas by Barilla. We’re also seeing new products, such as single-serve Rice-a-Roni cups and mashed potatoes by Idahoan.

As quoted in the article linked above, “Microwave cooking is not simply a shorter way to heat things, but rather it is an integral part of the way people live. This is a very positive environment for microwavable food.”

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Truckstop Travels: How the Flowers at White's Travel Center Blew Me Away

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels

Last week Pamela Hayes, NATSO’s vice president strategic partnerships, and I had the pleasure of spending five quality hours with NATSO member Bobby Berkstresser at his two truckstops, Lee Hi Travel Plaza and White's Travel Center, LLC. The majority of our time was spent at White's Travel Center, LLC.

Both locations are top examples of cleanliness, efficiency and effective service. There are so many amazing positive programs, processes and procedures taking place that create a wonderful customer experience.

Among all these sights, smells and sounds that you experience at White’s, there is one that really stood out for me. It was all the flowers. Entering the White’s location you are greeted by well-groomed grass, awesome landscaping and artistically placed boulders and rocks. And then, there are the flowers! Flowers of all types are everywhere.

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What You Missed in the Biz Brief This Week: July 23, 2014

Posted in: Industry Trends & News

Truck Parking on Recycled Lots and more...

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{NATSO News} July 21, 2014

Posted in: Our Legislative and Regulatory Issues

NCWM Votes Down Diesel Dispenser Filter and DGE Proposals and more...

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International Study Tour to Showcase Innovation and Business Acumen

Posted in: Truckstop Business, International, Leadership & Strategy

This year the NATSO Foundation is taking truckstop operators to Santiago, Chile September 7 - 11.

Attendees will tour facilities and meet with executives of Copec, one of Chile's most successful companies. Copec has maintained a 50 percent fuel market share in Chile over the past two decades, despite formidable competitors including Shell, PetroBras and others. Learn more about Copec on their website. (To translate, view the website using Google Chrome and select Translate at the top of the page.)

Other Copec highlights include:

Excellence in network planning, investment and innovation;
Self-serve food ordering kiosks and fuel dispensers that accept cash in addition to credit cards;
Sustainability initiatives such as wind energy and solar energy use; and
Innovative branded vending.

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What You Missed in the Biz Brief This Week: July 16, 2014

Posted in: Industry Trends & News

Pilot Flying J Reaches Agreement With Federal Government and more...

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{NATSO News} July 13, 2014

Posted in: Industry Trends & News

House and Senate Committees Pass Transportation Funding Patches and more...

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Five Tips for Selling Gifts and Themed Apparel

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail

In today’s economy, gift programs in many locations do not sell like they used to. Travelers and over-the-road drivers have significantly less disposable dollars, which means they’re more selective about the items they buy.

While they may be purchasing less, gift items are still an important category for truckstop and travel plaza operators, so it is important to utilize the space and inventory you dedicate to gift items.

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