NEW YORK -- Dean Dirks, formerly the senior category manager for Balmar Petroleum, operator of 24 convenience stores, has left the company to found Dirks & Associates, a consulting firm focused on foodservice.

Dirks & Associates will offer site evaluations, forecasting, due diligence and information gathering services for companies considering foodservice, allowing clients to make educated decisions.

In addition, clients with existing foodservice operations will be provided with financial analysis, margin maximization, labor reduction and best practices.

"There are a lot of very talented foodservice people in our industry, and a lot of success stories," Dirks told CSNews Online. "At the same time, I see a lot of companies entering the foodservice market to offset low gas margins, and making bad decisions when entering the market, which set them up for failure. Meanwhile, I see other firms not having the tools to operate restaurants profitably. Profitable foodservice is about best practices and execution. My firm can help with all these concerns."

Dirks joined West Star Corp., operator of 30 convenience stores, in 1996 as its foodservice director, and a year later was promoted to director of operations, and later to vice president. In 2004, Dirks joined Firsthand Management LLC -- a division of the 24-store Balmar Petroleum -- as the senior category manager.

He has been a member of the NACS Foodservice Committee and the National Convenience Store Advisory Group, as well as a member of advisory boards for Sara Lee, Pierre Foods, Boyd's Coffee and Kraft.

Dirks also served Hank Armour, president and CEO of NACS, and current NACS chairman Richard Oneslager, who is also the CEO of Balmar Petroleum.

Dirks will retain Balmar Petroleum as a client. He can be contacted at [email protected], (253) 225-9951, or 5214 Timber Lane NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335.

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