Couche-Tard's Rollout of New Food Program Hits COVID-19 Snag

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Couche-Tard's Rollout of New Food Program Hits COVID-19 Snag

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LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is still making plans to implement its Food at Scale program, but certain preparations have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The convenience store operator reported in its latest business update that a number of stores have suspended team training sessions related to the program in order to respect social distancing guidelines.

However, they are ready to move forward and support Food at Scale with sampling and marketing once safety measures are relaxed.

The Food at Scale initiative is heavily based on the food program at Holiday Stationstores, which Couche-Tard acquired in 2018. During the company's March 18 earnings call, President and CEO Brian Hannasch expressed excitement for the program and its potential for customers and the related sales and traffic impact it has on the stores, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

In addition to delaying implementation of Food at Scale, Couche-Tard has taken multiple steps to ensure food safety, such as enforcing strict cleaning and sanitization procedures in stores and food preparation areas; adding single-item packaging to bakery and other self-serve food items; suspending the use of refillable mugs and cups; and ceasing in-store product sampling.

"During these troubled times, Couche-Tard is committed to being part of the solution in the communities where we work and live," Hannasch said. "Our mission as a company has always been to make our customers' lives a little easier every day, and we know the best way to get through these difficult days is to band together and support each other."

Laval-based Couche-Tard has more than 16,000 sites across 26 countries and regions. Its global brand is Circle K.