Topics: Operations

Reducing Risks at the Fuel Island at Your Truckstop

The flammable nature of fuels make fire a top concern among operators, but there are a number of steps locations and employees can take to reduce the risk of a fire occurring or to avoid making a situation worse a fire if a fire starts. As a best practice, operators should ensure all employees know the where fire extinguishers are located. They should also be know how to utilize the emergency shutdown button that will stop fuel from flowing through the pumps are located. They also need to prevent people from smoking near the fuel islands, during loading and unloading operations and within twenty-five feet of bulk trucks and transports. More

Compliance Corner: Menu Labeling Requirements Take Effect Next Year

Beginning in May 2017, chain restaurants and “similar retail food establishments,” including many convenience stores operated by truckstop owners and operators, will be required to post calories for prepared food items they sell. The menu labeling rule applies to any retail establishment with 20 or more locations, including franchises, operating under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items, that sells food that is intended for consumption soon after being purchased. More

Gain a Deeper Understanding of Business Operations at Your Truckstop with These Four Calculations

Business owners today have more information coming in from more places than ever before in history. There are a number of different ways owners and managers can look at the data to better understand their operations and their customers. During The NATSO Show 2016, retail expert Tom Shay shared his insight into several key areas operators should look at, plus he offers 22 different calculations on his website,, that operators can use to dig into their data. “These calculators tell you what they mean and how the formula behind them,” he said. More

Water Saving Tips from Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza

When Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza underwent a rebuild several years ago, Dave Shoemaker, owner, made the decision to construct a LEED-certified building. LEED—or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design—is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Shoemaker took advantage of several technologies and designs, including the type of lighting used as well as the HVAC layout, that could cut costs while also increasing the location’s sustainability. More

Three Construction Tips from Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza

A remodel or renovation can improve a location’s aesthetics, strengthen its brand and enhance its merchandising, but getting through the construction can be a challenge. Dave Shoemaker, owner of Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza, experienced a rebuild several years ago and shared his insights on surviving a renovation with NATSO. More

Best of Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators in 2015

Thanksgiving means pumpkin pie, time to give thanks and if we are lucky a trip out of town with family and friends. As Darren enjoys a much-deserved vacation, I thought I'd guest host with a round-up of his most popular blog posts. More

Nine Tips to Keep Your Location Clear of Snow and Ice

Winter will be here before you know it and many areas of the country will also start seeing snow. Whether locations receive a light dusting or blizzard-like condition, removing snow quickly and safely can improve the customer’s experience as well as their safety. NATSO sat down with two truckstop operators—Chris Wolf of Iowa 80 in Walcott, Iowa, and Dave Shoemaker of Shoemaker’s Travel Plaza in Lincoln, Nebraska—to learn how they keep their locations clear in the winter. More

White’s Travel Center to Share Their Great Idea of a Pharmacy at The NATSO Show

In the fall of 2015, White’s Petro Stopping Center in Raphine, Virginia, added a number of new amenities, including a pharmacy. Owner Bobby Berkstresser first began thinking about adding the pharmacy when they added a doctors’ clinic in 2012. The truckstop is a rural area and is about 15 minutes away from the closest pharmacy. With the clinic now seeing as many as 70 to 80 patients a day and, of course, giving many of those patients prescriptions, he felt it was time to pursue his idea. Their first step was to do a demographic study, which study found that a pharmacy at their location could be profitable with local traffic alone. More

Four Ways to Create or Improve Your Truckstop’s Culture

A strong company culture can benefit employees and customers alike, but creating a culture isn’t always easy. During this month’s operational exchange conference call, NATSO members joined together to share their insights on how they are building and strengthening their corporate culture. Here are four key ideas operators shared during the call. More

Are Your Truckstop Property Limits Accurate?

When discussing insurance values with your provider, be sure you include anything that could affect value: new machines or equipment, inventory (raw material, in-process and finished product, etc.), property of others, remodels, etc. And, don’t forget to consider inflation and other valuation factors. The amount you have on your balance sheet or the item’s cost new may not be an accurate reflection of your contents’ replacement costs. Remember, you probably had time to shop around and buy the items at the best possible price, but you won’t have that luxury when you need to get your business back up and running as fast as possible. More

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