Convenience Store News - May 2018 - 40

COVER STORY

The BonFire Grill concept, which began testing
in late 2014, is now included in all new-build
Maverik stores.

color-coded labels based on the type of product, such as
a red flame for high-traffic hot items and a green flame for
fruit and salads.

Grill made-to-order program and add it to all new stores,
Maverik plans to keep the adventure going.

Forming a Foodservice Identity

By the fall of 2013, the company was ready to move Maverik and BonFire to the next level.

Maverik has made several significant moves as it's built up
its foodservice program.

Enter Maverik's new BonFire Grill made-to-order program.

First, it began experimenting with creative, "out of the box"
limited-time offers (LTOs), some of which became mainstays on the menu, like the M.O.A.B. (Mother of All Burritos).

"Sales were kind of flat. We were in growth mode, trying to
figure out what foodservice meant to us and what the next
five years looked like," Green recounted.
The team gathered and came up with some guiding principles to help the retailer along the journey. These included:
a serious focus on "fresh"; a goal of becoming destination-worthy; and a unique presence in Maverik's operating
footprint and in the convenience channel.

Next, the retailer reexamined what went into its
products and improved the quality to become a more
ingredient-based operation.

"We wanted to give customers a reason to come to
Maverik to eat something they can't get anywhere else,"
Green said.

Maverik also hired a new corporate chef who brought a
different perspective to the business. Chef Kyle Lore spent
much of his career working in fine-dining restaurants in
places like luxury hotels. He later spent some time in retail
as a corporate chef for West Salt Lake City-based Harmons
grocery stores. Joining Maverik marked his first step into
the convenience channel.

These efforts have helped Maverik's foodservice offering
"explode" in the years since. But it isn't looking to let up
on the momentum. As it continues to develop the BonFire

Lore's knowledge and ability to help the Maverik team see
things differently combined well with the company's knowledge of customers in the convenience world.

Maverik reached the 300-store
mark in July and is shooting to
have 400 stores within the next
four to five years.

"We had a pretty happy marriage there," Green said.
Together, they asked a simple question with a complex
answer: How could Maverik bring more flavor to its menu?
The company decided to create a taste profile that was
spicier and more flavorful - something that differed from
its competitors, which include quick-service and fast-casual
outlets, as well as other convenience stores.
While it risked alienating consumers who don't enjoy that
kind of food, eschewing a distinct identity in favor of chasing universal appeal would have had its own risks.
"When you try to be everything to everybody, you end up
nothing to nobody," Green said.

40 Convenience Store News C S N E W S . c o m


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