Operators Rely on Managers for Purchasing Decisions


Truckstops and travel plazas incorporate several profit centers into one business. Quite often, each profit center has its own manager that focuses on day-to-day operations. Front-line managers often have additional knowledge of consumers’ likes and dislikes, and operators have told NATSO that involving profit center managers in purchasing decisions can help them identify new items or services that could boost sales or increase profitability.

To help industry suppliers better understand the managerial positions within a travel plaza, Highway Business Matters talked with location owners to learn more about their key managers.


Restaurant Manager: Depending on the location, restaurant managers can be responsible for scheduling employees, setting the menu, accounting for sales receipts, minimizing expenses, working with vendors and overseeing payables.

Travel Store Manager: In addition to overseeing operations within this profit center, travel store managers typically oversee the buying. Seth Miller, travel store manager at the Petro Travel Plaza in Portage, Wisc., said that to supplement the buying he does, he delegates some buying to key team players. “They run the cash registers so they know what the customer is looking for. I give them freedom to try new things, but exit strategies play an important role for us. We don’t want to order a lot of things that don’t sell and be left holding the bag.”

Garage/Service Center Manager: From ordering parts to overseeing technicians, garage/service center managers oversee all aspects of a location’s shop. Bill Vollenweider, owner of the Detroiter Travel Center in Woodhaven, Mich. said his garage supervisor is responsible for purchasing products related to the shop, including bulk oil.

Fuel Island Manager: These managers oversee all aspects of fuel sales. They may be responsible for accounting for sales receipts, purchasing product and overseeing payables.

Director of Maintenance: Locations typically hire their own director of maintenance to keep operations within the location running smoothly.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

Help tailor Highway Business Matters to meet your needs by sharing your feedback and story ideas. Send your input to: atoner@natso.com.


Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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Retailer Featured:
Detroiter Travel CenterPetro Travel Plaza

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