InsightRS sends our prayers to Puerto Rico

September 28, 2017

Map of Puerto Rico

Our hearts go out to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as they face their current crisis.

Stay strong Puerto Rico.

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From Nacs Online:

JONES ACT WAIVER ISSUED FOR PUERTO RICO

September 28, 2017

​NEW YORK – CNBC​ reports that Trump administration has issued a Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico

 

Early this morning, in recognition of the severe impacts on Puerto Rico from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke approved a waiver of the federal Jones Act. The decision follows yesterday’s request from the governor of Puerto Rico and the Secretary of Defense’s determination that a waiver is in the interest of national defense. The waiver will be in effect for 10 days after signature and covers all products being shipped to Puerto Rico.

“This waiver will ensure that over the next ten days, all options are available to move and distribute goods to the people of Puerto Rico. It is intended to ensure we have enough fuel and commodities to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of these devastating storms,” said Acting Secretary Duke.

The Jones Act prohibits the transportation of cargo between points in the U.S., either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel that has a coastwise endorsement (e.g. a vessel that is built in and owned by persons who are citizens of the United States). The last Jones Act waiver was issued earlier this month, for petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance in anticipation of the effects of Hurricane Irma.

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Here comes the sun. The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

August 18, 2017

694940094001_5543989438001_5543971021001-vsLots of talk about the upcoming “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” on Monday August 21, 2017.  People from Oregon to South Carolina are lining up and making plans to place themselves in the “path of totality” for the big event and are hopefully in for an unforgettable experience.

Space.com gives us this reminder:  During totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon, it is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye. But sky watchers should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. See our complete guide to find out how to view the eclipse safely.  – Please follow the rules and stay safe.  Don’t let a few minutes of sun gazing ruin your life.

As people flock to the “path of totality” gasoline stations are seeing heavy volume as eclipse watchers are making their travel plans and lining up for their perfect spot in the path.   NACS reports that some gasoline retailers had ordered 20% more fuel than for their usual busy holiday weekends while others that didn’t plan ahead are now seeing shortages.

For youngsters this may seem like a first time occurrence which would be far from true. The English word eclipse comes from the Greek ἔκλειψις, ekleípō: disappearance, abandonment. A solar eclipse is the moment in which the sun disappears, abandoning the world. It’s like being forsaken by a god.

The ancient Greeks thought of a solar eclipse as an act of abandonment, a terrible crisis and an existential threat. It meant that the king would fall, that terrible misfortunes would rain down on the world, or that demons had swallowed the sun.

Yet not everyone thought of the eclipse as a horrible threat. For some cultures, the eclipse was an act of creation: The sun and moon were coupling, and would create more stars. For others, it was a random and chaotic act by a trickster or a mischievous boy, causing trouble just for the sake of it.

So wherever you are, seeing full or partial, sporting $.50 paper glasses or a cardboard box, be safe, have fun and listen to a little Eclipse by Pink Floyd while watching the slide show below!

 

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Credit to:

Getty Images, NACS Online

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/8/18/16078886/total-solar-eclipse-folklore

 


GETTING CRAFTY WITH BEER SALES

July 11, 2017
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July 11, 2017

 

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The craft beer segment is a healthy category for U.S. convenience stores, posting double-digit increases in both sales and units last year, per the recently released NACS State of the Industry Report of 2016 Data.

Craft beer also offers great opportunities for c-stores to grow sales and be more local.

“There’s a lot of beer being sold these days and people want to drink what they know and really feel passionate about,” says Van Orden. This idea resonates with convenience retailers who are always looking for new ways to engage with their local communities.

 

Read entire NACS Online article by clicking here.


As the C-Store offerings change and products are expanded, backOffice Software™ continues to be the perfect fit for your changing needs.  Don’t let price changes bog you down.  Our EDI Module makes receiving orders a breeze compared to the long hours of data entry of the past.

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Less Beer Drinkers?

June 6, 2017

“IWSR data finds that global alcohol consumption is declining faster for beer than wine and spirits.”  And for this reason, and more, you MUST have a reliable back office system!

NACS Online reports that Global Alcohol consumption is declining.  Retailers must stay on top of their margins in order to be successful.  Our backOffice™ Software with EDI module allows retailers to easily adjust pricing and make the most profit on special quantity purchases.  Read the entire article by clicking here, or simply see below.   Cheers!

 

June 6, 2017

​NEW YORK – The latest International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) data suggests that the consumption of alcoholic drinks is declining at an increasingly faster rate than has been previously reported.

For 2016, the IWSR reports that the global market for alcoholic drinks shrunk by 1.3%, compared with an average rate of just -0.3% in the previous five years. The reasons for the accelerated downward trend include a faster decline in beer, a reversal of trends for cider and slowing growth for mixed drinks.

Cider declined by 1.5% after years of solid growth. The markets responsible for this reversal of trends were South Africa, which saw decline following a period of growth, and especially the U.S., where volumes collapsed by 15.2% after years of double-digit growth.

The beer category was down 1.8% in 2016, compared with a five-year rate of -0.6%. The global trend reflects developments in three of beer’s largest markets: China, Brazil and Russia, which all saw steeper declines than in previous years, declining at -4.2%, -5.3% and -7.8%, respectively, in 2016.

Global spirits grew by 0.3%, according to IWSR data. Vodka is dragging down overall spirits performance, declining at 4.3% last year. Volumes were boosted by gin (+3.7%), tequila (+5.2%) and whisky (+1.7%). The negative trend in vodka is largely due to steep volume losses in Russia (-9.3%), which nevertheless remains vodka’s largest market by far. Key growth markets for total spirits last year were China, the U.S. and Mexico.

Wine was flat overall (-0.1%), with sparkling wine growing at 1.8% and still wine down by 0.5%. This is roughly in line with the trend of the previous five years.

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What will Tomorrow’s Gas Stations look like? InsightRS will be ready!

May 26, 2017

NACS Online has this great article about the changing look of Gas Stations, aka C-Stores.  As the look and operations change, Insight Retail Software and backOffice™ Software changes too.  Our state of the art reporting keeps you informed of the health and operation of your business.  Inventory Control, EDI, Group Price Changes are made simple with backOffice™.  Scan Data services are an added bonus.  Our customers love to log onto their Altria and RJ Reynolds account and see $$$$.  Call to get your free money too.

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Call Chris at: 518-633-4111 x 108

WHAT WILL TOMORROW’S GAS STATIONS LOOK LIKE?

Oil companies experiment with mobile apps, delivery and foodservice as analysts predict a future with declining demand for gasoline.Tags: Trends

May 26, 2017

​IRVING, Texas – The world’s largest oil companies are tinkering with what makes a gas station, as mobile apps, fuel delivery, alternative fuels and foodservice become more prominent and consumers look for even more convenience, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Analysts like the firm Wood Mackenzie are forecasting softening demand for gasoline as electric cars become more popular and fuel efficiency improves. Automated cars and vehicle sharing also will likely impact the gasoline station industry.

Over the next year and a half, Royal Dutch Shell will play around with adapting fuel stations to provide hydrogen, electric chargers and liquefied natural gas alongside gasoline. BP already has 50 locations with electric chargers globally, while France’s Total SA will put in 300 charging stations throughout Europe and 400 hydrogen pumps in Germany by 2023. Exxon Mobile is working on a new gasoline aimed at more fuel-efficient cars.

While many of these companies jettisoned retail station ownership recently, now some of them are opening new gas stations or revamping current ones with an eye to the emerging alternative fuel markets. For example, BP will open 200 stations in Mexico and as many as 3,500 in India in the coming years. Many of its U.K. stations have Marks & Spencer food locations too. “Fifteen years ago it was just fuel,” said Alex Jensen, vice president for BP’s retail arm in Europe. Today, half of the company’s U.K. customers stop by for food, not fuel.

Shell has a mobile app that lets consumers pay for gas with their phone and might install lockers for online order pickup. The company is also considering a restaurant concept to bolster its convenience food. Shell also began a pilot fuel-delivery service in the Netherlands, where customers can request a Shell fill up delivered to wherever their car is parked, via a company-developed app.

see NACS online article here

 

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MARS, WRIGLEY UNVEIL MORE THAN 30 NEW PRODUCT INNOVATIONS

May 24, 2017

From new Starburst and Snickers to M&M’s and Skittles, iconic candies are getting flavor extensions.

May 24, 2017

​CHICAGO – During this week’s National Confectioners Association (NCA) Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley will share a unified vision of driving growth for customers through three key areas: product innovations, effective activations and selling strategies. Taking center stage at the trade show are several new flavor extensions to consumers’ favorite brands, including: Extra Chewy Mints; 5 Gum Mega Packs; M&M’S Caramel Chocolate Candies; M&M’s White Chocolate Candies; Skittles and Starburst Sweet Heat; Snickers & Hazelnut Bar; and Twix Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars.

“This year we’re launching more than 30 new products and packs that offer a range of choices to meet consumer preferences,” said Timothy LeBel, president of sales for Mars Chocolate North America, in a press release. “Our new products deliver on several key industry trends, including focusing on transparency and choice, offering the opportunity to indulge in moderation, and meeting consumers’ desire for fun and functional gum and mints, as well as new formats and flavors in chocolate. We’re tapping into consumer trends and producing surprising twists and experiences from our most popular brands.”

In addition to product innovations, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate will unveil new selling strategies aimed at driving sales for retailers. “We’re looking within and even beyond our category to not only understand what innovations will resonate with consumers, but also to truly understand the way they shop for those products,” said Edward Taylor, vice president of U.S. sales and operations for Wrigley. “Helping our partners maximize opportunities is a top priority for us and to expand on the success of our Transaction Zone Vision program, we’ll be highlighting a variety of new shopper behavior findings from our Path-to-Purchase research at this year’s show, as well as sharing online insights.”

Read NACS Online here


⇒  Are you sick of adding new products?  

Please tell me you aren’t doing this at the register or gas pump controller?

Don’t tie up your POS system with price changes and entering new products.  DO THIS IN YOUR BACKOFFICE SOFTWARE!  backOffice™ from Insight Retail Software makes the time consuming job of price changes and new product additions a breeze.  Your gas pump controller should be used to ring up SALES, not changing prices.
Group price changes and our EDI module will more than pay for your backOffice™ Software.  Give us a call today:  518-633-4112
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“Honey, Please Pick Up Some Grilled Tilapia at the Gas Station.” by Bryan Miller

March 13, 2017

Last week we attended “The Really Big Expo” in Myrtle Beach, SC where there was much discussion about the growing and changing food service options in C-Stores.  We attended NACS  “Ideas 2 Go” program discussion which showcased emerging concepts that redefine convenience stores.  Another huge topic of conversation is how the millennials are changing the way people eat and shop. Gone are the days of a dried hot dog spinning on a warmer as your only option.  C-Stores are ‘destination spots’ – not just a place to fill your tank.  Bigger selections and healthier options are becoming the norm.

http://sepetroshow.org/


Here’s a great article from NACS:

WHEN C-STORES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES COLLIDE

Feature highlights hidden gems of single-store operator foodservice programs that rival any restaurant.

March 13, 2017

LEESBURG, Va. – The New York Times captured a growing trend throughout the U.S. convenience store industry, particularly among small, single-store operators, in a feature titled, “Honey, Please Pick Up Some Grilled Tilapia at the Gas Station.”

If you’ve seen the 2013 NACS Ideas 2 Go program, then you’ll recognize many of the retailers the NY Times visited: Thai Pan, Flory’s and Seoul Food D.C. Each establishment was part of a segment on some of the best gourmet ethnic food found at a single-store operation, and the retailers behind these businesses that deliver exceptional food and innovative new ideas.

“Encouraged by the changing tastes of consumers and the potential for profit, a metamorphosis has taken place in at least 1,500 locations nationwide: at independent gas stations as well as those owned by oil giants like Shell and Exxon and convenience store chains like 7-Eleven,” writes the NY Times, adding that “fresh produce, elaborate sandwiches and even grilled tilapia and Korean bibimbap” are becoming more ubiquitous at the local convenience store.

These locations “are now cool to discover and tell others about,” Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president for strategic initiatives, told the news source. In fact, the industry has come a long way from food offers that merely served up punchlines for movies such as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” where Chevy Chase laments, “I’m so hungry I could eat a sandwich from a gas station.”

“We definitely see, year after year, convenience stores presenting a competitive threat to quick-service outlets like McDonald’s,” Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic, told the news source. Citing NACS State of the Industry data (newly released numbers will be presented next month at the State of the Industry Summit), in 2015, about 34% of in-store profits at convenience stores came from foodservice, up from 22% in 2010.

Larger convenience store chains, such as Sheetz, are adding drive-thrus and touchscreen ordering kiosks to accommodate their growing foodservice operations. The NY Times writes that there’s also “an increasing number of roving food trucks” at c-stores, such as Andrae’s Kitchen, in Walla Walla, Washington (hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches), and the Brew Pump, in Asheville, North Carolina (eight beers on tap, beer garden and sandwiches).

“Food industry analysts now consider convenience markets competition for some of the most powerful names in the restaurant industry,” writes the NY Times, adding that an estimated 10% of the 154,000-plus convenience stores across the country—a $575 billion industry—“could be described as food-forward.”

Read full NACS article here

 

 

LEESBURG, Va. — Last summer, when two women were looking for a restaurant space in this Northern Virginia town of 48,000, one of the options held multiple enticements: It was affordable, it had a good location, the kitchen was fit for Asian cooking and it was in a gas station.

They signed on the dotted line and retained the name of the previous business, Thai Pan. Now, while the brick exterior is connected to a Liberty gas station and resembles a well-fortified bunker, the authentic Thai fare served in a charming dining room is drawing locals and adventuresome foodies from throughout the region.

“People come in here and say, ‘Wow, I never expected something like this,’” said Wilaivan Kammoongkun, one of the women behind the new Thai Pan.

The restaurant is part of a wave of gas stations and convenience stores capitalizing on a growing demand for fresh, healthful and convenient road food. Encouraged by the changing tastes of consumers and the potential for profit, a metamorphosis has taken place in at least 1,500 locations nationwide: at independent gas stations as well as those owned by oil giants like Shell and Exxon and convenience store chains like 7-Eleven.

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Wilaivan Kammoongkun helped open Thai Pan, which is attached to a Liberty gas station in Leesburg, Va., and serves authentic Thai fare. “People come in here and say, ‘Wow, I never expected something like this,’” she said.CreditAndrew Mangum for The New York Times

As a result, roller-grilled hot dogs and little packaged cakes of indefinite shelf life are, in many places, giving way to fresh produce, elaborate sandwiches and even grilled tilapia and Korean bibimbap. Popular food trucks and food carts are adding to the variety, many setting up shop just feet from gas pumps to take advantage of a steady stream of customers.

Continue reading the main story

The locations “are now cool to discover and tell others about,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president for strategic initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores.

It certainly hasn’t always been this way. In fact, convenience store food regularly stood in as a joke. In the 1983 film “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” a hapless dad behind the wheel of a station wagon, played by Chevy Chase, laments, “I’m so hungry I could eat a sandwich from a gas station.”

Major oil companies still tend to shy away from the complicated and risky food business. But in the early 2000s, when a long-term decline in revenue from food, gas, cigarettes and other products approached troublesome levels, many gas station and convenience store owners started to rethink their business models.

Now, an estimated 10 percent of the 154,000 convenience stores across the country — a $31 billion industry — could be described as food-forward, the National Association of Convenience Stores says.

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Flory’s, a family-owned enterprise, has four locations. “We were apprehensive about doing this because we were not sure about customers wanting to eat in a convenience store,” said Jamy Flory, a co-owner and vice president of the business. CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The largest chain, 7-Eleven, with 10,900 stores in North America, has been polishing its game for more than a decade. Nearly all of its fresh food, heavy on fruits and vegetables, is prepared in regional commissaries.

The service station strategy appears to be working: In 2015, about 34 percent of in-store profits at convenience markets came from food and beverage service, up from 22 percent in 2010, according to the trade organization. Food industry analysts now consider convenience markets competition for some of the most powerful names in the restaurant industry.

“We definitely see, year after year, convenience stores presenting a competitive threat to quick-service outlets like McDonald’s,” said Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic, a research company that follows the food industry.

Upgraded convenience stores are found across the country, especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Greater Dallas and the area around Harrisburg, Pa., are two hubs. The Tigris and Euphrates of the genre, though, might be the region in and around Washington. Here, one can feast on a variety of treats, including house-cured corned beef, Thai specialties, regional Mexican fare, homemade pizza, fried chicken and barbecue.

In 2012, Jon Rossler had the opportunity to permanently park a corned beef food truck at an Exxon station in Olney, Md., north of Washington.

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Thai Pan draws both local people and adventuresome foodies from throughout the region.CreditAndrew Mangum for The New York Times

The following year he moved inside, opening a spiffy 20-seat restaurant with faux brick walls, granite counters and large computer screen menus. Today, Corned Beef King goes through 150 pounds of corned beef and pastrami weekly, and 100 pounds of brisket. The business started with two employees; today there are 16.

“It’s wild,” Mr. Rossler said. “I think I may have gotten too big.”

Occupying part of an Exxon station in suburban Silver Spring, Md., is Seoul Food D.C., a cheerful, three-year-old art-festooned cafe serving gorgeous Korean dishes like bibimbap (sticky rice with vegetables, greens, a sunny-side-up egg and choice of protein) and the super bowl (rice, caramelized kimchi, spicy relish, two cheeses and Korean red sauce).

The experimentation also extends to the Hudson Valley town of Fishkill, N.Y., and the family enterprise Flory’s, which has four locations.

At first glance, especially at night, one of its stores — sleek and modern and large at 1,900 square feet — resembles a small casino with 14 gas pumps.

All food is made in-house: sandwiches, salads, soups and prepared meals. There is also a healthy fare section and make-your-own-milkshake machines. Two cooks toil in a small open kitchen preparing specialties like chili, lasagna, quesadillas, fried chicken and stuffed sole. Breakfast begins — with 16 types of coffee — at 4 a.m.

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Recent offerings at Flory’s included macaroni and cheese, vegetables, rice, chicken stew, fried chicken and French fries. CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Jamy Flory, a co-owner and vice president of the enterprise, said the concept had succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations. When he first opened, he said, the meat and cheese purveyor Boar’s Head was reluctant to be associated with a gas station. Flory’s is now a regular customer.

“We were apprehensive about doing this because we were not sure about customers wanting to eat in a convenience store,” Mr. Flory said.

Taking cues from fast-food restaurants, many convenience stores are also providing drive-through windows and ordering kiosks. Sheetz, a chain of 541 gas stations based in Pennsylvania, has a store near Harrisburg that welcomes customers to relax outside at umbrella-shaded tables that afford the exhilarating view of automobiles being topped off.

There is also an increasing number of roving food trucks at service stations, among them Andrae’s Kitchen, in Walla Walla, Wash., (hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches), and the Brew Pump, in Asheville, N.C. (eight beers on tap, beer garden and sandwiches).

“We want to be about good food but also about some fun,” said Mr. Flory, proudly showing a customer his arctic-themed “beer cave” with a giant simulated polar bear on top. (It’s where beer inventory is kept.) “People get a kick out of it, so why not?”


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