Convenience Store News - May 2018 - 42

COVER STORY

The process involved trial
and error as Maverik worked
out what would make
good menu items, what its
customers wanted to eat,
and what was feasible in a
c-store setting.
A common error for the
foodservice team, which
Green describes as being
made up entirely of "foodies," was to veer too far into
upscale items, which could
be too expensive to offer or
too esoteric to be appealing,
such as a spicy Italian pizza
with Calabrian chilies.
Other missteps came from
simply misjudging customer
response. One example of
this is what Lore calls "The
Great Gravy Revolt," when
Maverik rolled out a new
recipe for its biscuits and
gravy. The new version
wasn't bad, but it was a
change customers didn't
want. So, the chain rolled it
back, and biscuits and gravy
remain a core item today.
The financial crunch of testing new items at lower margins was another challenge,
but the eventual results
made it worth overcoming.
"It's all been really good for
us. Even though it takes
time and investment to build
a platform based on quality
and distinction, I think our
customers recognized the
difference and rewarded us
by visiting more frequently
and buying more food,"
Green said.
BonFire Grill features an open kitchen where
customers can watch the preparation of madeto-order items like pizza and tacos. Grab-and-go
options are also available.

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

As Maverik has reinvented
its food, the BonFire brand
has evolved with it, going
from a quality grab-and-go
program to a made-toorder initiative in the form
of the BonFire Grill, an open
kitchen where customers
can spectate the preparation of items like pizza
and tacos.

The BonFire Grill concept began testing
in late 2014 and is now included in all
new-build Maverik stores. In 2015, Maverik
underwent a store redesign that places
food front and center, making its foodservice offerings visually prominent inside
the stores and increasing sales by huge
numbers in some of the updated stores.
"That effort, particularly in new stores, definitely swung the pendulum more toward
foodservice," Green said.

The Journey Continues
At the end of the day, Maverik keeps
convenience as the No. 1 factor, refusing to
compromise either speed of service or the
quality of its menu.
"Simplicity is important to us, so we can
deliver convenience," Green said.
Striving to balance both attributes affects
everything - from designing Maverik's
store kitchens to ensure the least amount
of wasted time during food preparation,
to using equipment that meets the retailer's unique needs. Advances in restaurant
technology help, such as the TurboChef
ovens Maverik uses that can cook a pizza in
30 seconds.
Upcoming developments for Maverik may
include a made-to-order beverage program,
which the company is in the initial stages of
exploring. Green acknowledges that such a
program is a "tough one" for the company,
describing how he's observed sudden beverage orders like a made-to-order milkshake
disrupt the rhythm of the kitchen.
Working with third-party delivery services,
such as Uber Eats or DoorDash, is also something the company is exploring. However,
the logistics are more complicated than they
seem, particularly when taking into account
the multiple delivery services customers use
and the labor necessary to fulfill delivery
orders during all dayparts, Green explained.
Whatever new additions the company
might make in the future, Maverik wants to
be sure it has mastered its existing program
and delivers it right to customers every day.
"We've had so much rapid growth, focused
so much on innovation and program development," Green said. "We're stepping back
and looking at how we can hone and simplify our existing operation, get it humming
like a well-oiled machine."


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Contents
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