Meet Convenience Store News' How To Crew

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Meet Convenience Store News' How To Crew

By Linda Lisanti, Convenience Store News - 12/22/2011

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Just as convenience store retailers industrywide are stepping up the quality and variety of their foodservice offerings, so too is Convenience Store News stepping up its coverage of this critically important category in c-stores beginning in the new year.

For 2012, the convenience industry's leading media brand is introducing a new series entitled "How To Do World-Class Foodservice." The goal of these monthly special reports is to help c-store retailers maximize their investment and success in the profitable, but challenging foodservice arena.

Each month's how-to report will encompass information of value to all types of c-store operations, whether their prepared food and dispensed beverage systems are advanced, intermediate or beginner. Articles will present step-by-step content on how retailers can optimize their level of foodservice.

In addition to what will appear in Convenience Store News and online, there will also be a separate series of how-to reports for smaller operators in Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.

To support this initiative, CSNews has assembled a panel of industry-leading foodservice experts to serve as the go-to sources for the How To Do World-Class Foodservice series. These panelists bring multiple years of experience in both convenience store foodservice and the restaurant industry.

Meet the members of our How To Crew:

• Jack W. Cushman, Ph.D., is executive vice president of food services at Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, where he is responsible for developing and maintaining the chain's foodservice programs and expanding its proprietary brands, Easy Street Eatery and Mama Mia. He's been employed with Nice N Easy for 12 years. Prior to that, Cushman worked in the restaurant industry from fine dining to pizza delivery, as well as in on-site institutional foodservice. He's taught strategic planning and management principles at Ithaca College, Syracuse University and Kansas State University, and is a Serv-Safe certified instructor.

• Dean Dirks is a consulting partner with b2b Solutions, a Chicago-based consultancy that specializes in working with retailers and suppliers in the c-store and petroleum marketing industry. Dirks, who began working in his father's grocery stores at just eight years old, has held positions with Safeway, Marriott, West Star and Balmar Petroleum. In these roles, he supervised many branded concepts, such as Subway, Arby's, Starbucks and Domino's Pizza, as well as proprietary foodservice programs.


• In his role as director of research for Mintel Foodservice, Eric Giandelone is charged with identifying trends and developing actionable insights for clients in the foodservice industry. His work is primarily focused on writing and developing foodservice-specific reports, as well as utilizing Mintel Foodservice's tools to develop solutions that will help clients better understand and overcome the challenges they face in the foodservice industry. Prior to Mintel, he worked for Technomic Information Services.


• Burke Hodge is a trusted coffee industry expert with more than two decades of experience. He is president of The Coffee Consultants, an industry-specific consulting firm that specializes in helping clients create and restore profits through image, program and brand revitalization.



• Michael Lawshe is owner of Paragon Solutions, a nationwide convenience store and retail design firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. He has 25 years of specialized industry experience, consulting with a multitude of customers including convenience stores, travel centers/truck stops, petroleum companies, large chain operators, independently owned retailers, quick-service restaurants, fast-casual restaurants and other specialty retailers. His company completes more than 150 projects annually.


• Larry Miller, president and founder of Miller Management and Consulting Services Inc., is a career veteran of the convenience store and foodservice channels. He began his career as a part-time store clerk and progressed through senior levels of management in all aspects of c-store retailing, including operations, marketing, merchandising, accounting, store development and human resources. He founded Miller Management to utilize his unique viewpoints about c-store retailing.


 • Tim Powell is a director of research and consulting with Technomic Inc. His emphasis at the firm is on the convenience store foodservice channel. Since joining Technomic in 2003, Powell has conducted a variety of proprietary and multi-client engagements. His responsibilities include recommending and developing business strategies for clients, conducting market research and consulting programs, data analysis, moderating consumer focus groups, industry presentations and project management.


• Bonnie Riggs is the restaurant industry analyst for The NPD Group's foodservice division. She has more than 25 years of experience in restaurant industry market research, which enables her to provide in-depth insights into the state of the industry and consumer trends, as well as forecasts of what's in store. Riggs is the author of numerous foodservice reports, and a frequent presenter at industry events.



• Jerry Weiner has more than 40 years of experience in marketing and operations in the foodservice industry for both convenience stores and restaurants. During that time, he has helped develop prototype store formats for four different companies, particularly in the research and development of a proprietary foodservice program for each format. He's worked for several national chains, including MAPCO, Crown Central Petroleum, National Convenience Stores, 7-Eleven and Marriott, and currently serves as the vice president of foodservice for Rutter's Farm Stores.