Related Content

Browse by Category

Browse by Date

Most Active

Newest Posts

Essentials of Successful Truckstop Retail and Food Service Merchandising

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


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

Essentials of Successful Truckstop Retail and Food Service Merchandising

We are seeing a lot of new independent and small regional operations coming into the market place.

Many of these locations could be considered non-traditional or hybrid travel plaza and travel center operators. They offer limited services for over-the-road drivers with robust modern crafted food-to-go programs, which equates to a low cost of operation compared to traditional truckstops. This model offers a potentially stronger net operating cost (NOC).

Additionally, many operators are expanding and/or remodeling their locations, specifically focusing on the retail and food segment areas.

In this uncertain economic recovery, it seems to me that operators are feverishly pushing to maximize their capital improvement investments and create differentiation from their competitor. From my travels to truckstops, I'd say this push is stronger now than five years ago.

As this exploration on the value of facelists says, “Renovations come in all shapes and sizes, which is causing some retailers to re-evaluate how extensive their remodeling plans should be." 

Unsure how extensive your new build and or remodel plans should be? NATSO members should reach out to Chairman's Circle member Paragon Solutions for a free consultation. (NATSO members can set-up a free consultation to learn more about the services Paragon Solutions offers by contacting Michael Lawshe or Bud Moore at (817) 927-7171.)

In the mean time, keep these 11 key essentials top of mind when considering adding new operations and/or remodeling areas within your operation:

  • Store location
  • Product offering, product lines, and product services
  • Store design and layout
  • Product placement and display
  • Signage, messaging, advertising, and promotion
  • Product availability and inventory management
  • Receiving, pricing and stocking touch points
  • Selling prices
  • Suggestive selling, selling of product and customer service
  • Employee expectations, morale, appearance and conduct
  • Curb appeal, customer experience, housekeeping and sanitation 

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



Join the conversation! What elements do you look at when considering remodeling?

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.