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Top 10 Daily Metrics to Check for Truckstop Operators

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


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

Top 10 Daily Metrics to Check for Truckstop Operators

Travel plaza and truckstop operators often ask me which performance metrics would be the most helpful to them. They want to know what they should look at hourly, daily, weekly and monthly.

Before I can give them an answer, I always start out with the questions, “What are you trying to understand? How will you use the information once you get it and will you really use this data?”

While it seems as though operators always want more data and think that they can understand their business better if they just had more. But, it is important to remember that even without sophisticated point-of-sales (POS) systems, each of the operators in our industry has a plethora of data that they can capture.

In fact, there is so much data that if they really focused on capturing, analyzing and then acting on the actual data, they would find themselves to have data disorder--they would not know what to do with it.

Much of the available data in our operations can be collected just by asking, observing and simply tracking on pen and paper and this does not even include all that amazing data that is provided by whatever POS system we own.

Collection of data does not make you a better operator. Collecting data because everyone else is doing it or someone is telling you should does not make you more profitable. In fact it probably makes you less profitable because labor dollars deployed in the search of data that will never be executed and implemented could be used to drive sales and profitability. Collection of data that is actionable and that you execute makes you a better and more profitable operator.

During my time on staff at Petro, the merchandising team had the ability to understand associated purchases and basket item analysis among other amazing statistics and trends, and this was in 2005 to 2007.

Most of us have some understanding of averages, surveys and statistics--at least enough to make educated decisions on the information provided.

Whatever ratios, comparisons, and metrics you are going to look at, it is imperative you look at these regularly without fail. If they are daily metrics, then you view them and discuss the findings with members of the management/staff daily. The same applies to weekly and or monthly metrics you review. Items such as labor cost and certainly credit card fees really stand out as the higher numbers when looking at costs and retail and fuel sales really stand out as high numbers when looking at revenue.

There are many ways to look at metrics, comparisons and ratios. Obviously, multi-unit operators often have different market condition—labor rates, utilities, taxes, etc., that can make comparing operations difficult. Single-site operators don’t really face the comparison issues. But whatever direction you take, follow the ‘KISS’ rule and ‘keep it simple stupid’ for maximum effectiveness and ease of execution.

Here are my favorite top ten daily metrics to check:

  1. Fuel gallons sold for both diesel and gasoline compared to the daily average, budget and last year
  2. Retail sales compared to the daily average, budget and to last year
  3. Food service sales compared the daily average, budget and to last year
  4. Retail inventory level daily and compared to last year
  5. Invoice deliveries, including fuel deliveries
  6. Labor ratio to sales
  7. Returns
  8. Voids, no sales, item corrections and drawer open too long
  9. Average ticket/sale per register, shift and overall day in each profit center
  10. Transaction counts compared to last year in each profit center and as a total

Every operator has his or her favorite daily metrics to look at. What are yours?

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



Join the conversation! Every operator has his or her favorite daily metrics to look at. What are yours?

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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.