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NATSO Blog: August 2015

Seven Tips for Tapping Into Holiday Sales At Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

In 2014, holiday retail sales reached $616.1 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported, and truckstops and travel plazas are well positioned to tap into a portion of those sales. But simply putting in holiday-themed merchandise won’t drive sales. To boost sales, operators have to market the right products at the right times.

NATSO members joined together this month during an operational exchange conference call to share their experiences with holiday merchandising and offer quick tips to boost holiday sales. Here are seven key ideas operators shared during the call.

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Longtime Mechanic Sold On Benefits Of Biodiesel

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

For the past several years, biodiesel production and how engines respond to the fuel have been part of the curriculum.

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Five Tips for Making the Most of a Trip to Disney World

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show

The NATSO Show 2016 is heading to The Disney Yacht & Beach Club in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, making it the perfect time for NATSO members to add a few days of Disney magic to their itinerary. Here are five quick tips for those planning to take on the parks while in Florida.

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Calculating the ROI in Truckstop Technology Projects

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

When I am out in the field visiting members, they frequently ask me about technology. Operators are often wondering if they should upgrade their pumps or their point-of-sale system, invest in a mobile app, update their web site or purchase digital devices, such as a menu board.

As with any major purchase, business owners also want to know what the return on their investment (ROI) will be, but that isn’t always easy with technology investments.

To start, it is helpful for operators to gather information about the benefits of the technology they are considering, such as increased speed of service for their customers or their employees, which can result in decreased costs and an improved experience.

From there, operators can begin putting a pencil to paper. Let’s say you find new point-of-sale technology that can save employees time counting a till, and it saves you one hour and you’re paying that employee $15 an hour and you have three employees on shift. Now you have a number associated with your return. You may also find that an updated POS system provides a streamlined reporting process, allowing you to take care of it faster, or create a loyalty program that will allow you to establish a correlation of growth. Those are all quantifiable benefits.

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What Is The Risk Of Using A Generic Schedule Of Work Hours?

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Human Resources

Are we at risk if employees' timecards are consistently showing a "generic" schedule of 8am - 5pm with an hour lunch? Even if the employee is entering the time themselves manually onto a timesheet?

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{NATSO News} August 10, 2015

Posted in: Our Legislative and Regulatory Issues

Judge Rejects American Express Swipe Fee Settlement and more...

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Lessons From The NATSO Show: Suggestive Selling Adds Up to Increased Profits

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show, Marketing & Retail

For Herb Hargraves, director of fuel and retail sales at Cash Magic Truck Plazas and Casinos, suggestive selling is adding up to significant profits. Hargraves launched his company’s suggestive selling program several years ago and has seen it grow year over year.

“The first year we made an additional $10,000, the next was $20,000 the next was $35,000. When I look at my year over year, it is a 1.5-3 percent increase,” Hargraves said while addressing operators at The NATSO Show 2015. “Those incremental rings can add up to the bottom line. As companies, we want to increase our sales and profits.”

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10 Ways To Be A Better Holiday Merchandiser Than Santa Claus

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

Yep, the summer drive is not even over and I am beginning to see holiday themes, gifts and toys popping up in big retail. Recently, on a trip overseas, I saw early signs of Christmas shopping at two of England’s landmark retail operations.

So what does that say about your operation?

Do you need to have Santa Claus, Rudolph, and a Christmas tree displays up now? Certainly not, but I hope that you have a plan in place to take advantage of the upcoming holiday season.

Let’s cover a host of items you should have in place already.

1. You have noted on your calendar when your holiday shipments, winter additives and fourth quarter product will be arriving. You have made sure that your staffing needs are appropriately deployed to get this merchandise properly checked in, properly priced and properly displayed as soon as it arrives.

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Which Items In The New UST Regulations Will Be Most "Expensive" For My Truckstop?

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking

NATSO recently prepared a memorandum summarizing the new Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised Underground Storage Tank Regulations rules for NATSO members.

Several NATSO members have reached out to me as NATSO's Legislative and Regulatory Counsel with questions on the rule. Below is my answer to “Which items in the new UST regulations will be most expensive?”

Which items in the new UST regulations will be most expensive will depend upon a number of factors (what type of equipment you have installed, what the status of your state regulations are, etc.) but at a high level, these are the five major takeaways from the final rule that we think equipment owners should be aware of:

1. Secondary Containment. New and replaced tanks and piping must be secondarily contained with interstitial monitoring systems, and new dispenser systems must be equipped w/ under-dispenser containment. The rule also includes secondary containment testing requirements.

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