Convenience Foodservice Alliance Meets in Savannah

Retail and restaurant expert Carl Orsbourn talks about delivering the digital convenience store.
Don Longo
Editorial Director Emeritus
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Convenience Foodservice Alliance

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Carl Orsbourn, a global retail executive, kicked off the annual meeting of the Convenience Foodservice Alliance (CFA), a Convenience Store News community, with a talk on delivering the digital convenience store.

The CFA is a membership community dedicated solely to foodservice professionals in the convenience store industry. Through access to valuable benefits, shared research and powerful connections, members help shape industry best practices that will assist all industry participants in regaining and growing their sales and profits in the critically important foodservice category in the convenience channel. Alliance members are food-forward convenience retail executives and key suppliers and solution providers.

The need to digitize the shopping experience grows out of consumers' new demands on retailers, which Orsbourn summed up as "IWWIWWIWI," or "I Want What I Want When I Want It."

Orsbourn's experience spans across convenience (the BP-owned ampm chain), disruptive startup ventures (including Kitchen United ghost kitchens), and restaurants (Alfa Co.).

Frictionless is still the buzzword when it comes to serving twenty-somethings, according to the former ampm executive. "These younger consumers seek out experiences and enjoyment. Instead of paying a mortgage, it makes more financial sense to them to rent. They eat out or order delivery rather than cook at home, even though their culinary interest is high and they seek to eat healthy," Orsbourn told the group of convenience channel foodservice executives.

Some other key points of Orsbourn's talk included:

  • The sales growth of third-party delivery platforms, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates, is not a fad. Concentration is greatest on the two coasts, but mid-America is seeing the greatest growth now.
  • Many restaurant chains are moving toward first-party delivery due to the 30 percent fee that third-parties charge. He believes more companies will transition from third-party to first-party delivery.
  • Customer satisfaction with delivery is falling, thus there is a growing movement for call ahead and pickup.
  • Ghost kitchens are a huge trend because they allow a company to expand into multiple brands while utilizing just one central kitchen.

In a post-pandemic era, c-store operators are looking toward a future in which customers' expectations have dramatically altered. The rise of work-from-home models, stay in and order delivery, and a heightened preference for fresh food and better hygiene are pushing c-store retailers to reevaluate their foodservice operations.

Following Orsbourn's talk, the CFA members discussed best practices and suggested solutions around these critical topics:

  • The labor crisis;
  • Supply chain issues;
  • New customer expectations for convenience;
  • Commissaries and ghost kitchens;
  • Eliminating friction with technology; and
  • Emerging trends, such as delivery and drive-thru operations.

This year's in-person CFA meeting was held June 20 in Savannah, a day prior to the 2022 Convenience Foodservice Exchange, a networking and experience-focused conference hosted by Convenience Store News that is designed to give attendees actionable knowledge and research to strengthen their foodservice businesses.

Anyone interested in joining the Convenience Foodservice Alliance membership community should contact Linda Lisanti, Editor-in-Chief, at [email protected]

    Convenience Foodservice Alliance members are:

    • Heather Davis, Director of Foodservice, The Parker Cos.
    • Dave Grimes, Vice President of Foodservice, Martin & Bayley Inc./Huck's
    • Jeff Hagans, Food & Beverage Category Manager, The Spinx Co.
    • David Hall, Vice President, Global Foodservice, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc./Circle K
    • Shannon Harvey, Foodservice Director, Coen Markets
    • Kimberly Hay, Senior Director, Client Experience, Steritech
    • Jeff Keune, Senior Vice President, Foodservice & Innovation, MAPCO
    • Timothy Klinedinst, Channel Marketing, C-store Foodservice, Tyson Foods
    • Ryan Krebs, Director of Food & Beverages, Enmarket 
    • Sharon Kuncl, Merchandising Foodservice Strategist, Eby-Brown
    • Benjamin Lucky, Senior Category Manager, Foodservice & Dispensed Beverages, Dash In/The Wills Group
    • Stephanie Mahoney, Food Services Development Manager, MFA Oil Co.
    • Robin Murphy, Senior Director, Fresh Foods, 7-Eleven Inc.
    • Jessica Pierce, Foodservice Category Manager, Maverik — Adventure's First Stop
    • Ryan Riggs, Senior Director of Foodservice, Murphy USA Inc.
    • Luisa Salazar, Director of Offer Development, BP/ampm
    • Paul Servais, Retail Foodservice Director, Kwik Trip Inc.
    • Scott Stanfield, Category Manager, Yesway Inc.
    • Angela Stinnett, Foodservice Leader, Express Lane Stores/Heas Energy Services LLC
    • Brian Sullenger, Director of Category Management, Parkland USA
    • Melissa Tatman, C-store Manager, Tyson Foods
    • Dallas Wells, Vice President, Foodservice & Training, High's
    • Vann Williams, Director of Strategic Accounts, Steritech
    • Chef Paul Young, Corporate Chef, Eby-Brown

About the Author

Don Longo
Don Longo is Editorial Director Emeritus of Convenience Store News. Read More