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5 Minute C-Store Plan – $20,000 Profits

Finding time is never easy. ….

C-Store Daily Plan – Does It Pay?

“What would you rather me do? Take 5 minutes to know my store or just start to work?” This was the answer given by a successful c-store manager to the question – “Do you have time to plan your day?”

Nothing is free and everything takes time. Using time well is not easy, but if you had a set of key information, would it make sense to take 5 minutes to organize the day? If your managers have a good daily plan, what would happen?

Stores that grow 5% produce more than $20,000 in extra profits each year. Some argue that a good store manager can control many things in a c-store. If they manage the important work – staffing, stocking, cleaning and customer service, then good results will follow. Those that believe managers can control store activity, know they must have a plan to succeed. Using time well is the key to growing profits. Good managers control the work in their stores. They resolve problems, fix inventory issues, open the store and schedule labor. It takes knowledge of the situation and the ability to manage the resources. Providing the key information makes managing more effective.

So what information should be provided to make it easy for a c-store manager to have a great daily plan?

Many think helping them to choose daily work items wisely, is a key to success. Providing key facts allows a manager to assess the store performance and then assign the work to get the needed results. Making it easy to see the key indicators for store results allows the store manager to focus attention and make things happen. Here is a list of things used to make decisions that help improve store performance.

Five Minute C-Store Expectations Plan Considerations

  1. Same day sales – same day of week, last week or last year
  2. Monthly sales – year over year comparisons
  3. Categories that are going up or down compare to the same period last year
  4. Top selling items
  5. Items that are not selling at all
  6. Items that sold last week but are not selling this week
  7. Customer feedback on bathrooms, service and selection
  8. Store inspections
  9. Store maintenance items

Five Minute C-Store Expectations Plan – Make It Easy!

If there is a place that the most important information can be found so that the manager is not spending time gathering the information, then it becomes a quick check to decide what things need attention. Creating a list of actions and getting them done becomes a short task each day and leads to success. Knowing where to find the answers is a big part of the job. Make it easy!

For more information on C-Store planning

You may also want to read about our blog on C-Store Operations – Keep It Simple – The Hard Work?

The proven way to increase sales, simplify work and make time to grow – download now.

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8 Steps Consultants Use to Increase C-Store Sales

Sometimes familiarity and routine can block easy changes that can increase your c-store sales. Getting a fresh set of eyes to work with your team can be a quick  way to find a few break-through changes that can increase sales. Habits and history can sometimes limit choices and an outside view of possible changes can provide a different list of options to consider.

Attention Brings Focus

Engaging staff to think and share experiences while also opening the possibilities to new ideas brings attention to obstacles and opportunities. Focusing on making things better while reviewing existing work habits can uncover good ideas that are not hard to implement. For example, store managers may share that up selling is not consistently done. routine operations may have become sloppy and need improvement. Other times, you may learn that the competition has a lot better offers that have not been addressed. Many times, a new look at promotions and signage brings new ideas to the buyers that may not be aware of specific-store conditions.

Getting Buy-in for C-Store Performance

During the process of gathering information from staff, they become an owner of the new ideas. It also ensures the store-specific conditions are considered and as well as providing staff with a corporate perspective that may not be understood. Everyone gets a chance t0 understand the full range of issues. The most common obstacle is just the business of doing one’s day job that prevents special projects.  Having a consultant provides someone with the specific job to do the assessment, brings perspective and focus. Such a resource can often spark the energy and activity to make a few changes that have been left to be done ‘when we find time’. Of course, considering necessary work flow and keeping the changes to a few critical items is important to avoid overwhelming the staff and missing existing work tasks that remain necessary.

Choosing C-Store Consultant

When choosing a consultant to help your c-store operations to increase sales, experience and fit are key. Make sure you have sufficient buy-in from leadership and the objective is made clear. Setting a timeline and promoting open dialog will increase the initial participation level from your staff. Finding a consultant that understands your culture and works to balance existing needs with the right amount of change will provide the best results. Before choosing someone to help, ask for an outline of the consultant’s planned activities. Spend enough time so both you and the consultant have a clear understanding of the scope of work. While each situation is different, there are a few basic steps that any consultant will take to ensure a successful store-sales engagement.

8 Consulting Steps to Increase C-Store Sales

  1. Interview District Managers to Assess Strengths
  2. Visit Stores to Assess Cashier Interactions and Store Presentation
  3. Compare Competitive Promotions and Product Mix
  4. Determine Budget and Flexibility of Service Options
  5. Brainstorm Options and Pick the Best
  6. Implement Options and Train Staff
  7. Measure and Understand Results
  8. Celebrate Success, Learn from Failures and Adjust as Needed

Change versus Stability

Great operations know their culture and strengths. They seek outside perspective to challenge weaknesses and improve strengths. No one wants to delegate leadership, but having different perspectives add value and grow teamwork. Hiring a C-Store consultant will bring a balance of convenience industry best practices to your company’s culture and corporate capabilities.

C-Store Performance- Related blogs and links

You may also like a related blog regarding What C-Store Managers Need to Increase Sales.

C-Store Customer Survey Software – Product Information.

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C-Store Managers – What Do You Need to Increase Sales?

We asked our best C-Store Managers – What Do You Need to Increase Sales?

We often work with top stores that already have great customer service, nice clean stores and top results. We expected to hear that they needed more money for new hires and bigger bonuses for increased sales results. We certainly heard about more money with a few of the responses. Everyone wants to hire good people and be rewarded for achieving good results. Good companies, however, already pay well.

What we heard the most may surprise you. We took the feedback from dozens of top managers over the course of several months of sales consulting. We watched and listened to what they needed to increase upselling and drive net profits. Perhaps more interesting was what we did not hear as the most important needs:

NOT On the Most Needed List

  1. More Money for Store Managers
  2. Loyalty Programs
  3. Better Locations

Clearly, the above items can help increase sales, but these store managers were focused on addressing what they thought they could control, yet did not cost a lot of money. That is, what things can they manage as a company that impact sales without hurting profits. So here are the top items they listed:

Top Items Store Managers Need to Increase Sales

  1. Cigarette Multi-Pack Discounts
  2. Better Promotions
  3. Gas Toppers that Drive Traffic Inside (e.g., Food)
  4. Ready to Eat Food Options
  5. Visits from Owners and Top Managers
  6. Bathrooms in Full Working Order

They brainstormed items and ranked the most important. They felt they could work with suppliers to use promotional money that was available to help their staff increase sales by providing high value to customers while maintaining the margins due to supplier incentives. Even signs can be provided by suppliers with new products or hot specials that matter to customers. Of course, food is such a big area these days. Maybe the most surprising was the simple things they wanted from top management – store visits and help with maintenance items. Their staff is much more likely to do just a little extra when they see their owners and managers in the store motivating them and keeping the store a nice place to be proud to work in.

Related Information – C-Store Operations Assessment

If you work on things like up-selling, you probably care a lot about C-Store Operations and Performance. Take a free assessment of your C-Store operations. You will receive a written summary along with ideas to try to make operations a little better: Rate Yourself – C-Store Performance Assessment.

Learn More

How C-Store Managers Get More Upselling

Upselling in C-Stores – Leaving the Comfort Zone

The biggest obstacle to consistent upselling is cashier reluctance or discomfort. Store managers consistently state that upselling works when done well. Many, however, argue that getting consistent upselling from cashiers is not an easy task.

Just like most things building a habit takes time and practice. Managers must be consistent with expectations and make sure the staff know how to do it. Once trained, however, the job of the manager is to ensure it is done.

Many argue that having a tool to measure upselling is a key. Such a tool can measure the results of upselling by looking at:

  1. Average Sale
  2. Sales of Promotional Items
  3. Sales with Multiple Items
  4. Sales with Discounts
  5. Customer Traffic – Upselling a Return Trip
  6. Total Sales

Getting over reluctance is an important part of training and practice. Most managers will agree that if you know a customer well, you will know how to upsell. For some, it is just having their regular item available or calling them by name. For others, they may just be too rushed or distracted to bother. Sometimes, a friendly smile is all you can do.

Despite all the valid reasons to hold back on an offer, there are so many valid reasons to provide an upsell. Making sure the customer knows you care and want their business is important. Making them feel respected and valued is critical.

Managers that drive upselling lead by example and show their staff with patience how to do it. There are some easy things that make upselling a little less stressful. For example, saving a customer money or offering a free item with the purchase can seem much less uncomfortable for a new cashier. Based on store manager feedback, here is a list of tips they suggest makes it easier for even the most reluctant c-store cashier to have success with upselling.

The Tips – How C-Store Managers Get More Upselling:

  1. Implement Cigarette Multipack and Loyalty Discounts
  2. Provide Promotions
  3. Include Healthy Snack Choices
  4. Have Dispenser Toppers To Drive Traffic Inside
  5. Provide Good Food Options
  6. Make Sure Bathrooms Are Clean and Refurbished
  7. Family Owners Should Visit Stores and Meet Staff

Reducing the Stress of Up-Selling

Having pride in your company and its offerings makes upselling an easier ‘ask’. Making it a team effort and using results to acknowledge (and sometimes reward) good efforts reinforces the desired behavior. Feeling part of the team and respected improves morale and makes a tough task just a little bit easier.

The best operators measure success. The big winners know accountability to expectations are key. The managers with low turnover and high sales master the delivery of training and oversight with patient persistence. They work with their supervision to provide the environment for successful C-Store Upselling.

Related Information – C-Store Operations Assessment

If you work on things like up-selling, you probably care a lot about C-Store Operations and Performance. Take a free assessment of your C-Store operations. You will receive a written summary along with ideas to try to make operations a little better: Rate Yourself – C-Store Performance Assessment.

Learn More

Controlling Labor Hours to Match C-Store Sales

Control Your C-Store Operations

One of the most challenging jobs is getting the labor allocation to match sales in a C-Store. There are many things that are important to control in a C-Store. Getting the labor right is a key to ensure you have good operations with the labor costs that match the store sales when they happen. Too much – you hurt profits, too little – you risk bad service and lost sales.

Many companies are starting to use their sales data to align the hours to the sales that occur. There is always need for cleaning and stocking, but working the hours to match traffic allows the store to have the necessary staffing and keep the hours on track to hit performance goals. There are only so many hours available so it is key to assign them at the right time.

There are a few things that help when using sales to determine the labor hours:

  1. total sales and customers by hour
  2. same day comparison for several weeks to see trends
  3. day of week compared to other days
  4. average sale, discounts, loyalty
  5. inside versus outside traffic

Allocating Labor Hours in Your C-Store

With a good understanding of historical sales by the day of week and broken down by hour, labor can be scheduled to match the busy times. There are times when the registers will be the most busy and times when other tasks must be done. Together, a manager can utilize the hours to match the operational needs with the store sales.

Related Information – C-Store Operations Assessment

You may want to take an assessment of your C-Store operations It provides a written summary along with ideas for new things to consider: C-Store Performance Assessment.

Learn More