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.

Day One: Biodiesel. The two-day learning event will kick off with a focus on biodiesel and a tour of the REG Seneca Biodiesel Plant in the morning. Jon Scharingson, executive director of sales and marketing for NATSO Chairman's Circle member Renewable Energy Group, will share his insights and help operators understand the benefits of biodiesel, explain what to look for when choosing a fuel provider and how to use biodiesel to grow their business. As part of the tour, Junge Controls will discuss the infrastructure required for biodiesel blending at travel centers.

In the afternoon, operators will visit Sapp Brothers Peru and TA Morris. Operators at the host truckstops will share their biodiesel expertise with attendees, giving very detailed accounts of what makes their companies so successful. The evening will end with dinner at R Place Restaurant.

Day Two: Foodservice. The food focus on the tour will continue the next day when operators visit some of the most interesting dining locations in Chicago. This portion of the tour will be led by Ed Burcher, an industry leader and principal at Burcher Consulting. Burcher spent the past 18 years at Wawa where his team was responsible for developing the fresh food and foodservice offerings. He has been in the c-store industry for over 38 years in both operational and marketing roles. These have included chief operating officer at Coen Markets, where he implemented the Neighbours Store at Petro-Canada and led the foodservice components for their SuperStop convenience stores.

Attendees will get an in-depth look at Revival Food Hall and Eataly, and get the inside scoop from management within the locations. They will also take part in a guided walking tour of some of the most popular quick-service restaurants and grab-and-go spots in Chicago’s Loop area guided by Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, and Burcher.

Operators will also hear about the latest regulatory issues facing the food service industry from NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov.

Registration Details. The registration fee is $1,000 for members and $1,500 for non-members to attend. (The registration fee includes two days of meals and bus transportation. It does not include hotel accommodations, travel expenses or incidentals.) Register online here* or by contacting Sharon Butler at or (703) 739-8569.

Quick Links:

Contact Darren Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 with questions.

Photo credits: Jules Clifford/NATSO, Christine Schoessler/NATSO

Amy Toner's photo

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. More

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