What You Missed in the Biz Brief This Week: July 16, 2014

Pilot Flying J Reaches Agreement With Federal Government and more...

In today’s information-overloaded business world, we often find ourselves deluged with literally hundreds of news items from dozens of sources. While it is likely impossible to read every article and remain productive, by not doing so we risk missing the one article that could change a key business practice or thought process. And that is where the NATSO Foundation’s publication, Biz Brief, provides assistance! The NATSO Foundation's Biz Brief is a daily collection of the most relevant business intelligence for truckstop and travel plaza operators. 

While we think the Biz Brief is a must-read every day, if you only read ten news articles this week, these ten most-clicked Biz Brief articles are the ten to read. 

  1. Pilot Flying J Reaches Agreement With Federal Government 
    Representatives of Pilot Flying J said July 14 that an agreement has been reached with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Justice. The company will not be prosecuted for fraud related to the company's diesel fuel sales discount programs assuming it follows the terms of the agreement. Terms include including paying a monetary penalty and fully cooperating with the investigation. Click here to read more >

  2. Retail Shrink Averages 1.27 Percent 
    U.S. retail theft averages 1.27 percent of sales, according to the U.S. Retail Fraud Survey. The research comes from 100 of the leading U.S. retailers. The leading source of shrink continues to be employee theft, which comprises 38 percent of total fraud. Cash theft and bookkeeping errors make up 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively, while actual shoplifting accounts for only 11 percent of the total. Discount stores register the highest levels of theft at 2.5 percent, meanwhile specialty retailers experience the lowest at 0.7 percent. Click here to read more >

  3. Diesel Mechanic Shortage 
    Many of today's diesel mechanics are baby boomers nearing retirement. Unfortunately, younger technicians are not entering the industry at a fast enough rate to fill the diesel mechanic pipeline. According to Tony Molla, vice president of communications for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, “We’re only graduating about 35,000 technicians, total, in this country a year. That includes auto, collision and diesel.” He estimated that only about 10 percent of those graduates are diesel and truck technicians. "In the truck market, I think it is already too late. We’re looking at a significant shortfall,” Molla said. Click here to read more >

  4. Inside a Chinese Truckstop 
    Ever wondered whether truckstops in other countries were markedly different than those in the United States? With 400 truck parking spaces, this Chinese facility is considered a small stop. Some have more than 10,000 spaces. Converted shipping containers suffice for brokers' offices and the retail snack store. Interestingly, this particular stop does not sell fuel. Approximately 70 percent of the trucks on the road in China are owned and driven by single-truck owner-operators. Click here to read more >
  5. Independent Travel Stop Opens in Texas 
    The Panola Pines Travel Center recently opened in Longview, Texas. The facility, located along U.S. Highway 59 in Panola County, will offer diesel, gasoline and deli foods. A restaurant offering, Mom's Country Kitchen, will open in the next several weeks. The business employs 75 people. Click here to read more >

  6. Quick Trip Drives Volume Through Design 
    While gasoline demand is slipping across the nation due to improved fuel efficiency and changing demographics, Quick Trip continues to experience growth in the gasoline category. The 700-store, Tulsa, Okla.-based chain said design changes have made the difference. Stores have four entrances to improve in and out speed, are 40 percent larger than their previous stores and have 16-20 MPD's. The company also is acquiring larger pieces of property. Click here to read more >

  7. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld Visits Flynn's Truck Plaza 
    Flynn's Truck Plaza in Shrewsbury, Mass., is featured in the July 10 episode of Jerry Seinfeld's show Comedian's in Cars Getting Coffee. The season four premiere kicks off at noon eastern time. Seinfeld is joined by comedian Aziz Ansari for a cup of coffee and a ride in a classic car. Click here to read more >

  8. W.Va. Toll Road Clogs Traffic for Miles 
    Traffic was backed up for nearly three miles at West Virginia's Turnpike toll booths, which struggled to handle 164,000 vehicles on the Sunday of the July 4 holiday. According to Greg Barr, general manager of the state's Parkway Authority, "We were doing 2,200 transactions an hour northbound, and 1,800 transaction an hour southbound,” he said. “We couldn’t flip a lane because it would have backed up in the other direction." Click here to read more >

  9. Convenience Store Multiples Make Acquisitions Risky 
    The sales of the Susser Holdings convenience store chain and Hess' retail operations recently drew relatively high earnings multiples. The high multiples caused some c-store players, such as Alimentation Couche-Tard, to back away from those acquisitions. Instead, Couche-Tard is looking at opportunities in Europe and Asia. Additionally, Keith Howlett of Desjardins Capital Markets thinks the company, which is the fourth-largest corporation in Canada, may find growth by partnering with supermarket chains to operate its gasoline retailing segments. Click here to read more >

  10. Food Costs to Rise 
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that food costs will continue to increase throughout 2014. Beef prices are expected to grow by 6 percent, poultry by 4 percent, dairy products by 3 percent to 4 percent and egg prices are projected to be up 5 percent to 6 percent. Fresh fruits and vegetables also will increase 3 percent to 4 percent. The rising costs have caused several quick-service restaurants to push up menu prices. In-N-Out Burgers increased its hamburger and cheeseburger prices by 10 cents and double cheeseburgers by 15 cents. Chipotle Mexican Grill has also decided to increase its menu pricing. Click here to read more >

I might be biased, but I think if you aren't receiving Biz Brief, you are missing out! Not a subscriber? Be sure to submit a request to be added to the email list. Already receive it and have feedback for me? Be sure to email me at editor@natso.com.

Subscribe to Updates

NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.