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12 Holiday Shrink Control Hints for Your Truckstop

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


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

12 Holiday Shrink Control Hints for Your Truckstop

With many of our operators within the industry reporting flat to declining diesel and gasoline gallon sales, it is as important as ever to ensure that your 4th quarter retail and food service plan is a robust and well thought out action plan.

We have written about the importance of creating such a plan already twice this year. (See Create a Specific, Measurable, Realistic Holiday Action Plan for Your Truckstop and Nine On-Trend Father's Day Displays for Truckstops.)

Additionally, it is imperative that your 4th quarter and holiday shrink control program is in place, specifically preparing yourself and your management team to pay particularly close attention to those areas where historically shrink loss increases during the holiday and 4th quarter season.

I have highlighted a dozen areas to pay particularly close attention to. It is critical that you do not lose sight of other warning signs and metrics that you look at daily.

  1. If you collect coins in any areas such as laundry or amusement games, stamps, etc., are they trending down when you notice more physical activity?
  2. If you collect payment for paid showers, are you noticing fewer dollars collected?
  3. If you collect payment for paid parking, does this year’s revenue match last year’s historical collection?
  4. If you collect payment for copies or faxes, are these amounts dropping off significantly prior to fuel gallons trailing off before the holiday?
  5. Examine your diesel and gasoline drive offs; are you seeing a marked increase?
  6. Is there an increase in waste in the food service area? For example, are you seeing more pizza supposedly thrown out late at night as a result of over-producing or call-in orders not picked up?
  7. Is your restaurant having more errors and/or unpaid tickets?
  8. Are you monitoring your returns to vendors closely? Do your returns go up markedly? Is the product really broken? Is it really a return?
  9. If you manage and collect your own ATM, are you monitoring your ATM checks and balances?
  10. When is the last time you audited your safe? Does it match your books, does it have any IOU?
  11. How closely are you monitoring your lottery and scratch-off tickets? Are you noticing anything strange, like an increase in sales on particular shifts and/or days that do not match common sense?
  12. Lastly, do not forget to check the trash on every shift. It is like sunscreen, it you do not apply it, you will get burned.


/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  



Want more shrink management tips? Join us Wednesday, September 11th at Jubitz Truck Stop & Travel Center in Portland, Ore. for a bonus workshop on shrink management.

For two and half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at The NATSO Show. Just like The NATSO Show, The NATSO Show Bonus Workshop is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. During the two-hour workshop, you’ll learn the basic signs of shrink loss and the more complex ways loss takes place in your operation.

The workshop is free for NATSO members and $199 for nonmembers. Learn more about The NATSO Show Bonus Workshop.

Addtional Shrink Management Resources:


Join the conversation! What do you monitor during the holidays?

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.