Key Takeaways from NACS
#TeamCESO was in Atlanta, GA, for the National Association of Convenience Stores Conference (NACS) last week. Being the largest c-store event with over 20,000 attendees representing more than 70 countries gathered was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and strategies for the convenience and fuel retail industry. Our team attended first-rate education sessions led by industry thought leaders and explored the future of c-store. In this NACS conference recap, we highlight the key takeaways of the future evolution in the automotive convenience market from our Business Development Director, Mike Pothast, Market Leader, J.D. Damrath. and Automotive Convenience Client Manager, Matt Finke.
Food on the Go
State of the Industry, presented by Chris Rapanick, Managing Director, NACS Research, was a deep dive into data factors impacting store performance both inside and outside the physical store, considering the inflationary environment. Foodservice growth continues to lead the way as more c-store chains attempt to diversify from the competition and press forward, eating into QSR's market share. It will be essential to optimize QSR design within c-stores while designing efficient site and building layouts to maximize available space for QSR and c-store operations and customers.
Shifting to EV
The difference in tone from last year to this year relative to EV charging was vast. Last year’s message focused on buckling up and going along for the ride toward adopting EV stations, but this year’s message was that EV stations are simply a part of the fueling mix moving into the future. It will continue to grow share, so fuel centers need to make room for EV stations and site layout applications while maintaining cost and efficiency for both the operator and consumer. There are many considerations before engaging in the EV environment:
1. Site Assessment: Evaluate potential locations for EV charging stations based on accessibility and infrastructure
2. Design and Layout: Create efficient and user-friendly station layouts, including parking spaces and charging equipment placement
3. Permitting and Compliance: Navigate regulatory and permitting processes to ensure compliance with local codes and regulations
4. Accessibility: Ensure that charging stations are accessible to individuals with disabilities
5. Scalability: Design EV station layouts that can accommodate future expansion as demand grows
As larger c-store chains continue to grow, merger & acquisition activity will increase. The top operators all have their eyes set on ways to grow store count rapidly, and in a market where financing is more challenging, acquisition and remodels are a popular approach. This road allows the opportunity for the quick rebranding and remodeling of current locations y. With this fast-paced approach for operators, there is a lot to consider:
1. Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence on potential acquisition targets to assess existing stores' condition and potential renovation needs
2. Cost Savings: Identify cost-saving opportunities in store design and optimize
3. Consolidation of Facilities: Integrate acquired stores into existing sites and optimize their physical footprint
4. Store Rebranding: Assist with rebranding acquired stores to align with the parent company's image and standards
We look forward to these changes and growth within the convenience and fuel retail industry. For more information on how CESO is helping build the future of automotive convenience, you can see our experience here.