Food Articles

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Truckstop Operators Use Varied Food and Offerings to Appeal to Travelers and Locals

July 1, 2018

Truckstop Operators Use Varied Food and Offerings to Appeal to Travelers and Locals

Wendi Powell, co-owner of Big Boys Truck Stop in Kenley, North Carolina, knows that travel centers need to be all things to all people, and she tries to create solutions that appeal to all types of customers, whether they are locals, the traveling public or professional drivers. “The more creatively we can make the mix work, the better for us,” Powell said. Although convenience and time are always important, local customers love favorites while travelers like experiences. “It's my goal to create a mix,” Powell said. At Busy Bee, a regional chain of travel centers in Florida, local customers are in the store weekly and form close relationships with the locations and teams. “We see them coming in to not only to fill up their cars, but also meet daily/weekly needs from grocery items to our locally made cakes,” said Elizabeth Waring, president of Busy Bee. “However, with our traveling guests the needs slightly vary. When they stop in at our facility, they are there to fill a more immediate need. We have tried to build those relationships so that as they travel they look to us first to fill that—or empty that.”

Top Highlights of NATSO’s July Food and Fuel Tour in Chicago

June 14, 2017

Top Highlights of NATSO’s July Food and Fuel Tour in Chicago

Food and fuel are two of the most important offerings at a truckstop or travel plaza, and the NATSO Foundation has handcrafted a customized Food and Fuel Study Tour to give operators a behind-the-scenes look into a biodiesel plant, two successful travel plaza locations offering biodiesel and some of the hottest foodservice locations in Chicago.

Manage Food Costs to Increase Margins and Maximize Profits

April 30, 2017

Manage Food Costs to Increase Margins and Maximize Profits

Managing food costs is a key way to improve restaurant margins, and even small changes can result in big savings over the course of a year. Truckstop and travel plaza operators said they take a multifaceted approach to address supply costs as well as food waste and theft.

Great Idea: Add Eclectic Items to Your Truckstop Buffet

March 1, 2017

Great Idea: Add Eclectic Items to Your Truckstop Buffet

After concluding that drivers are tired of eating the same foods everywhere, L.G. Truckers City dba TA Wapakoneta in Wapakoneta, Ohio, started putting unusual meat products on its buffet. Items include duck in orange sauce, lamb, frog legs and pastisio, which is a Greek lasagna.

Trends To Target Unhealthy Foods: What Does It Mean for Truckstops

August 31, 2016

Trends To Target Unhealthy Foods: What Does It Mean for Truckstops

From menu labeling requirements to taxes on sodas, there is a push at the federal and state levels to discourage the consumption of certain types of foods. The trend is increasing the number of regulations truckstop and travel plaza operators must adhere to and could alter sales.

Food From the Best at Columbus West

June 30, 2016

Food From the Best at Columbus West

In the 11 years since it opened, Columbus West Travel Center in Columbus, Wisconsin, has grown from a convenience store to a full-service truckstop. “It started out as a convenience store and then as truck traffic increased, it was converted over to a truckstop by adding seven die­sel fueling positions, three showers, laundry, game room, lounge, Arby’s restaurant and hot food, prepared on site,” said owner Richard Sheard.

Food Service is About More Than Food

May 1, 2016

Food Service is About More Than Food

When it comes to food service, today’s consumers are looking for much more than food. By tapping into their customers’ true needs and wants, truckstop and travel plaza operators can attract more people and dig deeper into their wallets when they come in the door.

Tap Into Retail Trends To Shape Renovations at Your Truckstop

March 1, 2016

Tap Into Retail Trends To Shape Renovations at Your Truckstop

A remodel or renovation can give a location a face-lift and improve its aesthetics, but to be truly effective, changes should also strive to improve the store layout, offerings and merchandising in ways that reflect the latest sales trends. When done right, remodels can help operators increase sales and attract new customers.

USDA Proposes New Requirements for SNAP Retailers

February 16, 2016

USDA Proposes New Requirements for SNAP Retailers

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule Feb. 16 that would make it far more difficult for NATSO members to redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamp) benefits.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Summary And Compliance Guide For Truckstops and Travel Plazas

January 18, 2016

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Summary And Compliance Guide For Truckstops and Travel Plazas

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) Food and Nutrition Service (“FNS” or “Agency”) published a final rule altering the eligibility requirements for retailers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP” or “the program”). The final rule contained several substantial improvements over the proposed rule which, if it had been enacted as originally proposed, would have virtually eliminated the truckstop industry from SNAP. NATSO has prepared this compliance guide that contains an overview of the new requirements from the USDA.

Menu Labeling Summary And Compliance Guide For Truckstops and Travel Plazas

November 20, 2015

Menu Labeling Summary And Compliance Guide For Truckstops and Travel Plazas

In the near future, chain restaurants and “similar retail food establishments,” including many restaurants and convenience stores operated by truckstop operators, will be required to post calories for prepared food items that are sold in the establishment. NATSO has prepared this summary and compliance guide for its membership.

Cookies and Rice Crispies at Pine Cone Travel Plaza

June 30, 2015

Cookies and Rice Crispies at Pine Cone Travel Plaza

For four decades Jim Glover has owned Pine Cone Restaurant in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. In late 1990, he also bought Pine Cone Travel Plaza.

Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators Find Ways to Boost Food Service

June 30, 2015

Truckstop and Travel Plaza Operators Find Ways to Boost Food Service

Food service is becoming a more important component of the overall sales at truckstops and travel plazas, and today’s customers are demanding greater quality and convenience in the food they purchase.

Truckstop of the Future

June 30, 2015

Truckstop of the Future

To stay relevant, businesses have to change as their customers change. New innovations can drive sales and create convenience, and the truckstops and travel plazas of the future will embrace improvements that will enhance the customers’ experience.

Who Drinks Iced Coffee?

July 3, 2014

Who Drinks Iced Coffee?

Each day iced coffee is consumed by roughly 30 million adult Americans and this once-novelty coffee beverage has seen modest growth in the past two years, now appearing on the menu in 74% of quick serve restaurants and 60% of casual dining facilities.

Independent Operators Share Ideas For Growth And Cutting Costs During The NATSO Show

July 1, 2014

Independent Operators Share Ideas For Growth And Cutting Costs During The NATSO Show

Independent truckstop and travel plaza operators are constantly seeking out new products, great ideas and the latest business innovations. But NATSO members aren’t just in search of new ideas, they’re more than willing to share them with their peers.

Truckstops Purchase 35% More Grocery Products

March 25, 2014

Truckstops Purchase 35% More Grocery Products

The January to December 2013 McLane/NATSO Foundation Index is now out. The index found that average purchases per truckstop jumped to $16,335 per week during 2013, compared with $15,784 in 2012.

A Day in the Life of a NATSO Truckstop Operator: Keith Wade, Petro Dodge City #397

November 8, 2013

A Day in the Life of a NATSO Truckstop Operator: Keith Wade, Petro Dodge City #397

When you’re preparing to greet 1,000 drivers or more a day, mornings come early. For Keith Wade, operations director at Petro Dodge City #397 in Hanceville, Ala., each day starts with two cups of coffee and plenty of conversation with his staff. He likes to learn what is going on in each department and hear about the managers’ plans for the day.

McLane Index: Healthy Snacks Boost Sales

August 14, 2013

McLane Index: Healthy Snacks Boost Sales

Total travel plaza and truckstop convenience purchases from McLane averaged $16,273 per week during Jan to June 2013 versus $15,772 in the first six months of 2012.

Visual Study Tour: Valuable Business Insights from Abroad

April 18, 2013

Visual Study Tour: Valuable Business Insights from Abroad

Attending the International Study Tour in person is the best way to gather valuable business insights abroad, but as a distant second best, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, is providing readers with a virtual tour of his trip through pictures he gathered last fall.

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