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Truckstop Travels: Smiles, Suggestive Selling and So Good Food in La.

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Truckstop Travels

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I recently had the opportunity to visit truckstops and travel plazas in Louisiana with Herb Hargraves, Cash Magic, and Al Hebert, Gas Station Gourmet. 

Smiles and Suggestive Selling at Cash Magic
Visiting the Cash Magic locations I was struck by the amazing service we experienced.

I usually entered the stores first without Herb, allowing me the opportunity to have an unbiased customer experience. In most cases, I was greeted by a friendly Louisiana hello and sent off with a come back again departure salutation.

Herb has done an amazing job installing a company-wide suggestive selling program. In all but one of the locations that I visited I was suggested sold.

In conjunction with the operations team and his vendor partners, he has created a very strong sales increase in most of his locations. In some of the locations where he is getting thorough participation, the sales increases are beyond amazing.

Vendor partners are seeing a 1,000 percent increase in everyday items such as Mentos, Reece’s etc.

Team members are awarded for participating with reward opportunities gladly supplied by the vendors.

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Distinctive Food Brings in Traffic
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Al Hebert and I also visited numerous travel plaza locations that specialize in distinctive food experiences.

While many locations in this area sell boudin balls and cracklins, there were a few operations that stood out over others selling these two Louisiana signature items.

One location in particular is selling over 500 freshly made boudin balls a day. Mind you, as boundin balls are primarily sold as a single ball, that is a lot of unique buyers. This same location sells thousands of pounds of cracklins monthly, which they make themselves daily.

This location is a perfect example of knowing who your customer is and selling products that create a destination experience. In speaking with customers I found some that drove almost 17 miles to get cracklins and boudin balls. That is a long trip for an under $10 combined purchase.

Although the cracklins and boudin balls I ate were very tasty, the most unique food item I tasted was at Herb’s Cash Magic location in Eunice. There the amazing manager and team treated us to a homemade accidental concoction that has become all the rage. In fact, they sell so many they can barely keep up with demand. What is it? Well of course, it is the delicious french toast sandwich pictured above. I will not share their secret, but you can imagine how good it tastes just by the name. It is certainly a unique breakfast sandwich.

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/// Read more Truckstop Travels here.  

Photo Credit: Amy Toner/NATSO, Darren Schulte/NATSO

 

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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.