Related Content

Browse by Category

Browse by Date

Most Active

Newest Posts

15 Items Every Truckstop Operator Should Check Daily

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

15 Items Every Truckstop Operator Should Check Daily

With summer drive in full swing, I thought I would revisit one of our more popular blog posts and expand on it with some additional details.

Outside store appearance is a large factor on how many customers move from the fuel islands to inside the store, thus giving you the potential to make a sale. Breaking it down further, you could say that besides your posted fuel price, it may be the reason someone pulls into your operation in the first place. We have all heard the phrase curb appeal. Practicing it is critical on all three shifts.

Once the customer is inside your operation additional evaluation takes place as well.  Restroom cleanliness, store clutter, team member friendliness and service as well as other sensory observations that impact smell, sight and hearing are rapidly taking place. Most experts believe that the average person coming into a fueling location is spending less than three minutes in your operation once they have fueled. It is tough to make a sale in so little time and thus, imperative that you get as many potential customers inside your operation as possible.

Here are 15 specific items to check DAILY during your managerial walk through.

  1. No team member is outside smoking in customer views.
  2. Outside promotional signage is not tattered, worn, or containing an inaccurate or out-of-date marketing promotion. This should include your fuel price signs as well. They should be in working order with no missing numbers. If they are faded and or weather worn, they should be replaced.
  3. Your front entrance way is free of clutter and your front doors are clean, can be seen through, have limited signage and have NO HAND WRITTEN SIGNAGE.
  4. Your windows are limited to one sign per. The one sign is placed in the upper-right hand side of the window and like your front door, and does not severely impact visibility. Let the light shine through!
  5. If you have promotional bulks stack items outside like a 12-pack of soda or gallon of windshield wash, make sure that they are all organized, clean and properly marketed. Worn or sun-faded promotional materials should be replaced immediately.
  6. Grass, shrubs and trees should always be trimmed, pruned and neat. Eliminate weeds.
  7. Parking lot should be clean with limited to no litter.
  8. The appropriate number of trash bins should always be available as shorting on these will only lead to more labor spent on cleaning up trash and litter that has found its way to the pavement.
  9. Trash cans should always be emptied when they are at ¾ full to reduce the frequency of over spill. If you choose not to invest in more expensive durable bags, double-bagging trash bins should be considered.
  10. All fuel islands are clean and free of oil and fuel spills. Create a maintenance schedule for maintaining this area with a power-washer or absorbent cleaners.
  11. Inspect fuel pumps to ensure nozzles, break aways, swivels, hoses, splash-guards, retainers, inspection stickers and octane decals are in good condition. Specifically look for cracks, splintering, sun damage, weather damage and accuracy.
  12. Pump toppers should have IMPACTFUL marketing that stresses food service options. Fountain, coffee and other high demand items should be prioritized. Do not promote items that sell slowly and or do not match your demographic. Pump toppers should be in good repair, not faded, legible and contain consistent messaging.
  13. Squeegees for automotives and truck brushes for over-the-road vehicles should be available. This is important to traveling customers.
  14. Washing solution should be changed out regularly and should be as clean as possible. Easy of bug removal is important to drivers of all types.
  15. Paper towels on all fuel islands should be available. However, rather than having lose paper towels dispended either from a pole dispenser or a trash bin receptacle consider placing a dispenser on the poles with roll paper towels inside. Traditionally, this change will reduce your supply cost on this line item as it reduces waste, liter and over usage.

Did you miss our original blog post? Check it out here and download its downloadable sample merchandising and marketing checklist by clicking the banner below.


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


Join the conversation! Did I miss anything important? Do you do a daily walkthrough? 

Subscribe to Updates

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.