In-Convenience Podcast hosts Frank Beard and Al Hebert joined NATSO's podcast to talk about what they think is working and not working for c-stores, retailers and truckstops during the pandemic.
They offered their insight on food service, the future of fuel and convenience retailing and more in this special episode.
“If you own a travel center or you manage one, I’m hoping that you stop at every travel plaza and look around. One of my favorite places is Oasis Travel Plaza in Robertsdale, Alabama. That place... is for kids of all ages. They have a big giant toy area in there... They have just everything. That is one of the places, if I pulled up there, I would think I just want to go explore this place. The exterior has a bunch of train cars that look they crashed into it and it is called the Derailed Diner. When you go in, it’s an amazing dining area but they also have a specific area that is built like a vintage train dining car and it is so cool. And I mean you can walk around that place forever, especially if you’ve got kids. Kids are going to love it. The checkout counter is like a crashed pirate ship, broken in two... Those are the kind of places that are fun to be in. I can see plugging in my electric car and running in there and hanging out. Plus they also have amazing fried fish.” – Al Hebert
Listen to our interview with Oasis Travel Plaza in Robertsdale, Alabama here.
“Differentiation is one of those buzzword that gets thrown around conferences a lot, but it really is not a buzz word. It is literally going to be a survival strategy at some point. If you can’t provide a compelling reason for someone to come to your store, this is the time when you need to start asking it. There are a lot of stores in the industry, quite frankly, that if you removed their branding you wouldn’t even know where you are at because they sell the same products as each other from the major CPG companies. That’s fine and that has been a model that has worked for a long time. I think in the near future though you are going to see some structural challenges to that because the advantages in that type of model belong to other types of retailers that have scale.” – Frank Beard
Be sure to check out the bathrooms at Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza Beard mentions here.
The Truck Stops Here podcast launched in early 2020 and is out every other Tuesday. Don't miss an episode. Subscribe now!
It is a disruptive time in the fuel business, but NATSO’s The Truck Stops Here podcast is packed with critical analysis on what to expect as well as ideas to propel your travel center business into the future. You'll hear from experts on and off the NATSO staff and directly from NATSO members on what techniques they use to excel. Pull up, grab the fuel nozzle and get ready to fuel up with NATSO's newest educational offering!
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