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NATSO Blog: Great Ideas

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Be Easy To Do Business With

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

One of the most important keys to success for companies today is being easy to do business with. That ease equates into higher ticket sales and repeat customers. The best way to be easy to do business with is to provide top-notch customer service.

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Truckstop Travels: Innovation At Fontana Truck Stop

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Operations, Truckstop Travels

Today’s innovation comes from Fontana Truck Stop in Fontana, California.

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Truckstop Travels: Drive-Throughs and Clothing Donation in Ohio

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Operations, Truckstop Travels

I have had the pleasure of witnessing some great ideas being implemented and executed in the field that are distinguishing these independents from the competition.

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How to Set Your Truckstop's Coolers

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

Cooler space is a valuable commodity in truckstops and travel plazas. The number of products that can fill the cooler are increasing. Today we’re seeing a wider variety of sodas, juices and energy drinks and a growing grab-and-go food segment.

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Truckstop Travels: NATSO Staff Visits Davis Travel Center

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Operations, Truckstop Travels

This summer, NATSO staff visited Davis Travel Center in Stony Creek, Virginia, to learn more about their operations as well as ways NATSO can continue to help independent operators through education, knowledge and training.

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Create a Strong Microwave Section to Increase Grab-n-Go Offerings

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

According to this article from the Institute of Food Technologists, “Microwavable foods are changing, thanks to consumers’ increasing time pressure, nutritional awareness, and desire for foods that taste and smell like they were cooked in a conventional oven.” (Be sure to check out the article. While old, it still has a lot of relevant points.)

This is especially true for the time-pressed travelers who visit your truckstop. For them, the microwave section of your truckstop can be a destination location. Not only will customers heat food within the location, over-the-road drivers may grab something they can prepare in their truck later.

The number of products that can be microwaved continue to increase. We are also seeing microwavable products of better quality. Some examples of popular food items include popcorn by Orville Redenbacher, Campbell’s soup and pastas by Barilla. We’re also seeing new products, such as single-serve Rice-a-Roni cups and mashed potatoes by Idahoan.

As quoted in the article linked above, “Microwave cooking is not simply a shorter way to heat things, but rather it is an integral part of the way people live. This is a very positive environment for microwavable food.”

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Truckstop Travels: How the Flowers at White's Travel Center Blew Me Away

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels

Last week Pamela Hayes, NATSO’s vice president strategic partnerships, and I had the pleasure of spending five quality hours with NATSO member Bobby Berkstresser at his two truckstops, Lee Hi Travel Plaza and White's Travel Center, LLC. The majority of our time was spent at White's Travel Center, LLC.

Both locations are top examples of cleanliness, efficiency and effective service. There are so many amazing positive programs, processes and procedures taking place that create a wonderful customer experience.

Among all these sights, smells and sounds that you experience at White’s, there is one that really stood out for me. It was all the flowers. Entering the White’s location you are greeted by well-groomed grass, awesome landscaping and artistically placed boulders and rocks. And then, there are the flowers! Flowers of all types are everywhere.

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Five Tips for Selling Gifts and Themed Apparel

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

In today’s economy, gift programs in many locations do not sell like they used to. Travelers and over-the-road drivers have significantly less disposable dollars, which means they’re more selective about the items they buy.

While they may be purchasing less, gift items are still an important category for truckstop and travel plaza operators, so it is important to utilize the space and inventory you dedicate to gift items.

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Eight Ways to Be A More Productive Leader at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail, Operations

While no two days are ever exactly the same for truckstop and travel plaza operators, one thing that is consistent is there is never enough time to get everything done. To succeed, independent operators need to excel at the basics while constantly strategizing and innovating for the future.

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Ten Ways to Get Customers to Come Inside From the Fuel Islands

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

To increase the likelihood that fueling customers will make the 100-foot trek into the main building from the gasoline islands, you need to be hitting on all cylinders when it comes to the fundamentals. Plus, try these additional 10 helpful hints to help increase the chances your gasoline customers will come in and buy.

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