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Four Innovative Kiosks That Your Truckstop May Need

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail


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

Four Innovative Kiosks That Your Truckstop May Need


During my many travels to visit NATSO members, I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff at NATSO member truckstops. I’ve also seen a lot of cool stuff in many different retail and non-retail operations.

One thing I have seen a lot of in the last two years—innovative kiosks and vending machines. 

These retailers are using the space within their parking lots, turning extra space into an innovative profit center. This is important. We have these big parking spaces and most of us don’t utilize them properly.  Adding revenue sources to a parking lot enables operators to improve their campus net-operating-cost (NOC) by using parts of location that may not be producing any value to the operation.

With time being an issue for everyone, especially for those in vehicles, it is critical to look for reasons for customers to stop and spend money. Everyone sells fuel, most of us sell food, and all of us have restrooms, so what else within your operational parameters can you execute that makes you quicker, cleaner, different and more special? An out-of-the-box addition to your parking lot could be a differentiation between you and your competition.

An innovative kiosk or vending machine could also help you at your truckstop to change your customer demographic. For example, if your current location demographic is 99 percent male, a drive-through popcorn kiosk may just change that up. What about a drive-through cupcake kiosk or cosmetic kiosk?

Stop Watch magazine sat down with a handful of operators who are getting creative with their parking lot space. Stay tuned as that article will be out in May. But in the meantime, here are four great ideas that come from outside the industry. 

- Chick fil A Kiosk -



-Popcorn Kiosk -  



- Frozen Custard and Soda Bar - 




- Funnel Cakes -



Tell us in the comments. Have you seen any cool kiosks?

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

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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.