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NATSO Blog: Operations

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Six Ways to Improve Your Speed-of-Service at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Operations

Professional drivers and consumers are increasingly pressed for time, and it isn’t just because they have somewhere to be. For Class 8 truck drivers, hours-of-service regulations and electronic logging devices strictly dictate how they must spend their time, and they have to get the most out of every minute.

So, my question to independent truckstop and travel plaza operators is with all these changes that are taking place revolving around speed, what are we doing about it? Are you staffing to get customers in and out quickly? Are you laying the store out for speed? Are you designing the parking lot and fuel pumps to get trucks in and out faster?

My nephew is a professional driver and tells me he recently began to stop at QuickTrip because no matter how busy they are, he is always in and out within 30 minutes for food, fuel and the restroom. That tells us so much about where the industry is heading.

Here are six areas where you can drive the speed-of-service at your location.

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Decrease Shrink to Increase Profitability: NATSO Truckstop Webinar

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

Part of any net operating cost improvement plan should include a robust plan to manage retail and cost shrink.

“Reducing shrink is super important for increasing profitability. It is money plain and simple,” said Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership. Schulte led a webinar on April 13 outlining 12 actionable steps operators can take to immediately improve their shrink management program.

Schulte said average shrink is 1 to 1.5 percent, but fortunately, shrink is controllable.

NATSO is also offering a webinar on How to Win at Truckstop Inventory Management Webinar on June 22.

Here are 12 tips shared during the webinar.

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12 Tools to Reduce Truckstop Shrink from NATSO

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

I'm interupting our regularly scheduled NATSO Best Practices in Truckstop Merchandising video series to bring you a video of today's 12 Tools to Reduce Truckstop Shrink Webinar.

This morning, myself and NATSO's Vice President of Membership Darren Schulte, led more than 35 participants through 38 minutes of truckstop shrink management ideas.

Watch the video to learn:

Why shrink management is critical to improving profitability;
Where and why shrink takes place;
Tips for reducing shrink from employees; and
Processes to reduce vendor theft.

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Silver’s Travel Center Hits the Mark with a Re-Branding

Posted in: Marketing & Retail, Operations, Truckstop Travels

When Silver’s Travel Center rebranded its c-store location by franchising with On The Run by Circle K, it brought a new atmosphere to the store and led to a 15 percent increase in sales.

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Don’t Get Burned: Fire Prevention Week – October 9-15, 2016

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

Every year, fires costs business owners billions of dollars – and that number doesn’t even begin to measure the impact fires have on businesses and families of employees who are injured or killed by the blaze.

Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2016, is a great opportunity to remember that preventing workplace fires is not a yearly, monthly, or even weekly activity—it is a daily activity. Investigations reveal that most fires can be prevented if businesses consistently pay attention to a few, very specific hazards. To help you and your employees make it home safely each day, your Federated Insurance team is excited to share a new resource: a customizable, fire prevention checklist.

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Reducing Risks at the Fuel Island at Your Truckstop

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

The flammable nature of fuels make fire a top concern among operators, but there are a number of steps locations and employees can take to reduce the risk of a fire occurring or to avoid making a situation worse a fire if a fire starts.

As a best practice, operators should ensure all employees know the where fire extinguishers are located. They should also be know how to utilize the emergency shutdown button that will stop fuel from flowing through the pumps are located. They also need to prevent people from smoking near the fuel islands, during loading and unloading operations and within twenty-five feet of bulk trucks and transports.

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Compliance Corner: Menu Labeling Requirements Take Effect Next Year

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Our Legislative and Regulatory Issues, Operations, Compliance Corner

Beginning in May 2017, chain restaurants and “similar retail food establishments,” including many convenience stores operated by truckstop owners and operators, will be required to post calories for prepared food items they sell.

The menu labeling rule applies to any retail establishment with 20 or more locations, including franchises, operating under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items, that sells food that is intended for consumption soon after being purchased.

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Gain a Deeper Understanding of Business Operations at Your Truckstop with These Four Calculations

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show, Operations

Business owners today have more information coming in from more places than ever before in history. There are a number of different ways owners and managers can look at the data to better understand their operations and their customers.

During The NATSO Show 2016, retail expert Tom Shay shared his insight into several key areas operators should look at, plus he offers 22 different calculations on his website,, that operators can use to dig into their data. “These calculators tell you what they mean and how the formula behind them,” he said.

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Water Saving Tips from Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

When Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza underwent a rebuild several years ago, Dave Shoemaker, owner, made the decision to construct a LEED-certified building. LEED—or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design—is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Shoemaker took advantage of several technologies and designs, including the type of lighting used as well as the HVAC layout, that could cut costs while also increasing the location’s sustainability.

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Three Construction Tips from Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Operations

A remodel or renovation can improve a location’s aesthetics, strengthen its brand and enhance its merchandising, but getting through the construction can be a challenge. Dave Shoemaker, owner of Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza, experienced a rebuild several years ago and shared his insights on surviving a renovation with NATSO.

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