In Challenging Labor Market, Simplification Is Key to Successful Foodservice

Retailer panel at Convenience Foodservice Exchange will discuss how to tackle labor and logistics challenges.
Kay Segal
Kay Segal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Today's challenging labor environment doesn't have to impede the growth of a convenience retailer's foodservice business. By simplifying menu options and streamlining the food production process, a c-store retailer can minimize the impact of decreased labor availability, according to Kay Segal, founding partner of the Business Accelerator Team.

Segal will moderate a retailer panel titled "Optimizing Opportunities in a Challenging Labor Environment" at this year's Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange, to be held Nov. 9-10 at The Westin Charlotte.

"One of the challenges with foodservice is variety and managing production and waste," said Segal. "The pandemic has caused supply chain issues that will probably continue into 2022."

She recommends retailers streamline their menu, use less ingredients, consider bringing in more finished or almost-finished products, and utilize fewer vendors.

Joining Segal to discuss real-life logistical challenges in today's market will be:

  • Chris Postlewaite, director of foodservice, Minuteman Food Mart;
  • Jeff Keune, vice president of sales and merchandising, MAPCO Express;
  • Keith Boston, vice president of foodservice and culinary, EG Group/Cumberland Farms; and
  • Ed Burcher, former Wawa foodservice executive and now a member of the Business Accelerator Team.

The theme of this year's Convenience Foodservice Exchange is "Solving the Post-Pandemic Riddle: How Convenience Foodservice Needs to Adapt." Foodservice operations were one of the hardest-hit areas of the store as the nation reeled from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic is likely to have a lasting impact on American consumers' tastes and desires, in how they shop, and in their expectations and comfort level for purchasing food at convenience stores. In short, everything has changed for the nation's convenience foodservice retailers.

The sixth-annual Convenience Foodservice Exchange will explore the ways retailers are reviving their foodservice sales in the new normal. In addition to the labor challenge, the agenda will tackle such key issues as:

  • Embracing the New World: Gray Cat Enterprises' John Matthews will address the safety, transactional, marketing, foodservice, and store design long-term strategic concerns of c-stores in the new normal.
  • Why C-store Foodservice Will Have a Record Year: Tim Powell, managing principal at FoodserviceIP, will present the firm's comprehensive intelligence on c-store foodservice and discuss how retailers and suppliers will revise their go-to-market plans over the next two years.
  • Curbside 2.0 Lead or Get Left in the Dust: King-Casey Principal Tom Cook will focus on the state of curbside in the convenience channel, the issues and barriers to entry, and what c-stores must do to be successful with curbside to stay ahead of their convenience store and restaurant competitors.
  • Food Safety Protocol for Non-Restaurant Operators, Staff & Vendors: A Johnson & Wales professor will discuss the latest techniques and programs for ensuring food safety.
  • The Hottest Foodservice Trends: Plant-Based Foods, Sustainability, Ghost Kitchens, Takeout & Delivery: Participate in an interactive discussion as a Johnson & Wales professor helps identify real food trends that have staying power and are appropriate for the convenience channel.
  • The New Convenience Retailer: A panel of retailer executives will show off and discuss their newest food-forward stores and programs aimed at meeting the needs of the evolving consumer.

As in previous years, the 2021 program will also include the presentation of CSNews' annual Foodservice Leadership Awards and one-on-one business development meetings among attendees.

In addition, this year's Convenience Foodservice Exchange will feature a guided food and retail tour exploring Charlotte's most delicious and innovative restaurants, food shops and markets. Led by Taste Carolina, guides will introduce attendees to the history and architecture of this beautiful city, too.

Retailers may register at For more information, retailers should contact CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo at [email protected].

Sponsorships are also available for this exclusive, exciting event. For more information on sponsorships, contact CSNews Brand Director Paula Lashinsky at [email protected] or (917) 446-4117.