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Ten Great Ideas for Truckstop Operators from The NATSO Show

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show

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For two and a half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at The NATSO Show. Just like The NATSO Show, The NATSO Show Magazine is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. Unlike The NATSO Show it is year-round. 

Ten Great Ideas for Truckstop Operators from The NATSO Show

Great ideas were flying through the room during the Great Ideas Session at The NATSO Show 2016. The session is an annual opportunity for independent truckstop and travel plaza operators to come together to share what is working for them as well as tips and tricks that are improving operations at their locations.

This year’s session was led by operators who shared details on specific topics, such as developing a theme and adding a pharmacy. Operators also broke out into round-table discussions to jot down ideas they then shared with the room. Dozens of ideas came from the table discussions.

Here are 10 great ideas that operators shared during the conference.

  1. Offer samples of items within the c-store to employees as well as customers. One location has a local peanut brittle and sales went through the roof when employees tried it because they could recommend it. The location also let customers sample the peanut brittle inside the store.

  2. Use an app to manage schedules and allow employees to change their schedules online.

  3. You have to differentiate yourself. Use the typical industry suppliers, but take about 20 percent of your store and make it your own.

  4. Develop a coffee brand, which includes hot and iced coffees, and don’t be afraid to charge for it. “As the younger generation comes up, the younger drivers are more specific and not afraid to pay $4 for a caramel macchiato,” one operator said. 

  5. Add hard-boiled eggs to the grab-and-go case. Several operators said these are their top-selling item. 

  6. Invest in a suggestive selling program and reward cashiers accordingly. One operator uses a weekly email as well as a contest to spur employees to action. “We have Team A, B and C and it is based on monthly volumes. We break them into buckets based on store volume and you can also look at store traffic,” the operator said.

  7. Give a bonus to people for recruiting and bringing in people they want to work with. 

  8. Give free samples of the restaurant’s food to entice customers to dine with you. This can be done both inside the store and out on the fuel islands. 

  9. Have someone on the fuel islands to wash windows and fuel the truck, which frees up drivers so they can go inside to shop. 

  10. Upsell dessert by suggesting customers add a scoop of ice cream to a slice of pie or offering a bowl of fresh fruit as a healthy alterative. 

/// The NATSO Show 2017 will be held January 21 - 24 in Savannah, Georgia. Learn more about the NATSO Show here

Photo Credit: Chuck Fazio/NATSO

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About the Author

Mindy Long

Mindy Long

Mindy Long has been writing professionally for over 15 years and freelancing full time for the last four. In 2010 Long formed Mindy Long Freelance LLC. As a journalist, she has written about everything from video games to diesel fuel additives. 

Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. In addition, she has completed writing courses at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md., and through the OpEd Project, Writer’s Digest and She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Northwestern Alumni Admissions Council.

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