Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 31

Ricker Oil Co.

Ricker remembers. "I worked for Shell for seven years until
we decided I should leave."
Founded in 1979, Ricker Oil began with one tank wagon
that supplied gas to Middletown, Ind.'s farmers and service
stations. Ricker drove the wagon while Nancy managed the
books from their home. Ten years later, Ricker Oil purchased
its first convenience store in Middletown, and the company
has grown since then to include 57 stores.
Over the years, Ricker Oil has grown through acquisitions
and new builds. All the company's operations are in Indiana,
concentrated in three areas as part of a strategy to build the
Ricker's brand and maintain managerial efficiency. Most of
Ricker's convenience stores are in the Ft. Wayne, Anderson and Indianapolis areas. "We build about four stores per
year, but this year we only built two because we are getting
into the fresh prepared foods market," Ricker notes.
To stay ahead of the competition, Ricker's convenience
stores are kept modern, clean, staffed with friendly associates and inspected regularly. "We are very focused on
inspections," Ricker explains. "We have every single store
inspected every month by an outside firm to rate our customer service and cleanliness. We have another that focuses
on food safety, which takes about two hours and a manager's
bonus is tied into that. We also are checked to make sure our
associates are carding everyone for cigarettes and alcohol.
"We have a variety of outside inspectors and one internally that we have visit our stores," he continues. "We do
monthly and quarterly inspections to be sure we are doing
what we say we are doing. I can't be at all 57 locations on a
daily basis."

"We got the menu to what we
think is the best and are now
rolling it out." - Jay Ricker
food program. "Our son, Quinn, came to me with the food
program idea and we had had pizza and other programs that
did OK," Ricker says. "So we knew we needed to do a better
job with it."
Ricker's has also partnered with a new supplier to provide
fresh deli sandwiches, fruit and vegetables daily, and at a
reasonable price. "The big issue is getting fresh product like
that delivered and still sell it at a competitive price," Ricker
says. "We do have waste, but we understand that. This is a
quality product and soccer moms can feel comfortable eating it themselves and buying it for their family at a reasonable price."

Feeding the Demand
"If you would have asked me 20 years ago if we would be
selling food or operating an ATM, I would have probably
said no," Ricker says. "But it's what customers want and
things change so quickly. If it's legal, moral and our customers want it, we should look at selling that in our stores. The
point is you have to be flexible and willing to change."
About one-and-a-half years ago, Ricker's bought a food
truck, parked it in downtown Indianapolis and served TexMex products to test the market. "We had a good array of
products [on the food truck] and we were able to tweak our
flavor and quality profile because we didn't want a complicated menu," Ricker explains. "We got the menu to what we
think is the best, tried it out in a couple stores and are now
rolling it out in virtually all our stores."
The company is building only two new stores this year
because it is remodeling 20 locations to accommodate the
food & drink international * winter 2016 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

31


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1

Contents
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Cover1
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Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 1
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Contents
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