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Three Ways to Spur Food Sales Shared at 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. 

Three Ways to Spur Food Sales Shared at The NATSO Show

Food sales are becoming a bigger part of operators’ sales, particularly as other categories, such as tobacco, are dropping.  When it comes to grab-and-go foods, today’s customers are looking for speed as well as service, and there are a number of ways truckstop and travel plaza operators provide both to customers. During The NATSO Show 2016, Ed Leddy a retail, food service and truckstop expert, took part in Snap Learning sessions on the show floor and shared his thoughts on ways operators can provide even more convenience to customers.


Move Condiments Away from the Offerings: Leddy said freeing up space around food offerings can attract customers, so he suggests moving condiments away from the main service counter to encourage customers to move away from the counter. “It is no different than a parking lot. If you had 20 parking spaces up front but there is nowhere to park, you’re not going to sell anything,” he said.

When Leddy worked within a location, the company moved condiments away from the coffee and raised sales by 500 cups a week. “It had nothing to do with better brewing or training of the people. It was about freeing up the space,” he said. “If you notice when you go to Starbucks, they hand you the cup of coffee right up at the counter and if you want cream and sugar, you go far away. They do that on purpose.”

Provide Healthier Offerings: Leddy said sales of healthy snacks are on the rise.  “People are putting their money where their mouth is. Those things we tried 15 years ago that wouldn’t sell are selling now,” he said.

Offer Customization for Beverages: Today’s customers love to customize their offerings, whether it is with coffee, hot drinks or fountain sodas. Offering condiments, such as syrups and other flavorings, can bring in customers and encourage word-of-mouth advertising. “The more the customer likes it, the more they will tell their friends,” Leddy said.

While customization is key, Leddy added that it doesn’t mean locations have to offer every base flavor, particularly with coffee. “Not many retailers are successful selling more than about four flavors of coffee on an every day basis, but you have to have great condimenting. Condiments are a very key part of what the customer wants,” he said.

Photo Credit: Chuck Fazio/NATSO

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

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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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