Topics: Great Ideas

Truckstops Face New, Varied Competition

The truckstop and travel plaza industry is facing competition from a number of fronts. Last year in Stop Watch magazine, we covered some of those sources, including grocery stores and restaurants installing gas pumps and home improvement stores adding food offerings. These and other forms of competition are becoming much more formidable as our customers continue to be starved for time and as vehicles improve their miles per gallon. Not only are drivers stopping less, now more than ever they are looking for the closest, most convenient one-stop shop. Retailers are responding by offering them more opportunities to stop, shop and fuel, which may mean less opportunities in our locations. More

Calculating the ROI in Truckstop Technology Projects

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. More

10 Ways To Be A Better Holiday Merchandiser Than Santa Claus

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. More

Four Great Ideas from The NATSO Show

During Great Ideas! Session for Independent Operators at The NATSO Show, truckstop and travel plaza owners and managers came together to discuss the successful things they are doing. Here are four great ideas operators shared with their peers: More

Six More Ways to Turn Your Truckstop Into a Treasure Truck of Sales

Last month, I shared Five Ways to Turn Your Truckstop Into a Treasure Truck of Sales. Today I am back with five more. More

Checklist for Truckstop Team Building

There is a need to achieve, belong and contribute, but ensuring employees feel like part of the team takes work. Follow these steps to help engage your staff. More

Great Ideas in Action at Donna's Travel Center

In 2013, Donna’s Travel Center in Marysville, Washington, added a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine that allows customers to choose from more than 40 Coca-Cola products to create their own special drink. More

Five Ways to Turn Your Truckstop Into a Treasure Truck of Sales

As the world gets smaller and time more fleeting, competition for our customers flat to shrinking available spend is growing. Let’s take advantage of our lots, our space to energize our locations. Let’s get back to becoming destinations of the local and traveling public. First identify day of the week where you can capitalize on your traffic counts such as the weekend buying frenzying that is typical retail and then GET CREATIVE with your sales. Here are some ideas to you started. More

Three Examples of How to Offer The Personal Touch at Your Truckstop

I shared with the reporter the story of doing a quick survey at a NATSO member location to help the owner determine why truck drivers were stopping at his location. In this instance, the member thought the main reason drivers were stopping at his location was the price of their fuel. However, the reason was the friendliness of their staff. I think a lot of our independent members who are putting a priority on providing the personal touch would get the same survey results. Here are a few ideas on providing the personal touch at your truckstop. More

10 Things To Make Your Truckstop Customer Comfortable

In an industry known for its hospitality, customer service is key. That starts even before the customer walks in the door. Here are ten areas to examine to ensure your customer is comfortable. More