RaceTrac President: Time Is Right for Franchising Program
ATLANTA — RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.'s reshaped executive team is hitting the ground running, and launching a new franchising program is at the top of its to-do list.
On Feb. 19, the Atlanta-based convenience store retailer unveiled the new program, RT Franchising Inc., and announced that its first move would be to find experienced, qualified candidates for franchise opportunities in Central Florida.
"We recognize that RaceTrac's 85-year history, convenient locations and proven experience in marketing, operations and merchandising put us in a unique position to recruit and support qualified entrepreneurs," newly appointed RaceTrac President Natalie Morhous told Convenience Store News.
"RaceTrac has a strong brand reputation and looks forward to leveraging that brand to provide business-savvy entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to run a RaceTrac store and effectively serve the Central Florida community," she added.
RT Franchising's launch came just one week after RaceTrac announced a new leadership structure, with Morhous taking the reins as president. Also under the new structure, Max McBrayer, former chief financial officer and chief supply officer, moved into the CEO role and former president Billy Milam transitioned to chief operating officer.
Morhous, who previously served as vice president of energy dispatch, is excited about the company's new franchising venture, and the retailer's future in general.
"Announcing our franchising launch on the heels of my promotion is exciting," she said. "Although I have stepped into the role of president very recently, I have been intimately involved in the development of the RaceTrac franchise opportunity from its inception, working with our internal teams to outline how we will support franchisees with our proven experience in marketing, operations and merchandising.
"I look forward to bringing my ground-up knowledge of the RaceTrac franchise opportunity into my new role as a senior leader at RaceTrac," she added.
RaceTrac's 500-plus store portfolio includes 170 locations in the Central Florida region. Of those, the retailer has selected three stores for franchising, one each in Clermont, Mt. Dora and DeLand, as CSNews previously reported.
The company chose these locations based on the potential for franchisees to benefit from the strong brand reputation RaceTrac has built over its 30-year presence in Florida, according to Morhous.
"Additionally, these stores are modern, conveniently located and designed to provide delicious food and beverage favorites for the guest on the go," she explained. "Each store features Swirl World frozen dessert stations; large coffee areas with a new freshly ground, freshly brewed 'Crazy Good Coffee' experience; and a shoppable layout."
RaceTrac has been exploring a franchising program for some time, Morhous noted, adding that the c-store retailer will provide all the tools necessary to run a RaceTrac store.
"RaceTrac franchise owners will benefit from the brand's conveniently located stores, comprehensive training program and proven experience in marketing, operations and merchandising, not to mention RaceTrac's strong brand reputation in Central Florida," she said.
At this time, the RaceTrac franchise opportunity is exclusive to these three stores, and the company does not have a target number for franchised locations.
Once selected, franchisees will get access to several of the retailer's tools, including:
- Training program: Classroom and in-store instruction that will teach franchisees how to deliver great service to customers;
- Marketing support: Engaging, brand-wide promotions, advertising, social media and public relations efforts designed to build brand awareness; and
- Operations support: The retailer's local team will support each franchisee with its knowledge of Central Florida and RaceTrac's business operation.
In addition, the merchandising team will ensure each franchised store receives the highest quality, in-demand products at attractive prices, Morhous said.
With RT Franchising, RaceTrac has the advantage of being able to tap into its experience with RaceWay, another operating model of RaceTrac Petroleum.
"RT Franchising Inc. is in a unique position to learn from, and utilize, RaceWay's experienced leadership team and best practices that have successfully navigated RaceWay through the contractor model for the past 40 years and more recently, into franchising," Morhous said.