Supplier Spotlights: Alto-Shaam, GSTV & DRB Systems
Alto-Shaam Corporate Executive Chef Rocky Rockwell
NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
A&W Restaurants announced that same-store sales at franchised gas and c-store locations jumped by double digits in June despite the fact that Americans were driving fewer miles and buying less gas than usual. Sales at A&W's 90-plus c-store locations were up 10.5 percent, following an 8.3 percent increase in May.
Sales were an average of 11 percent higher during the January-February period before falling off in March and April, the result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the company.
"At a time when Americans were staying off the road, it's remarkable that sales at A&W convenience store locations were so strong," said CEO Kevin Bazner. "This shows the tremendous value that A&W brings to C-stores and travel centers."
The company recently announced development agreements with eight new c-store franchisees. Locations, all of which will feature drive-thrus, are being developed in:
Hot Springs, Ark.
Howard Lake, Minn.
Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Women's wellness brand Alani Nu is expanding its retail presence with the debut of five energy drinks in select QuikTrip c-stores. New flavors Watermelon Wave, Hawaiian Shaved Ice, Tropsicle, Cosmic Stardust, and Mimosa are available in the refrigerated section of 115 stores.
Alani Nu products are crafted from hand selected, simple ingredients with no fillers.
"Partnering with QuikTrip enables us to make a healthy impact on more people's lives," said Max Clemons, co-founder of Alani Nu. "We look forward to future opportunities in the retail space, and feel confident in those we have already identified."
The company plans to expand its QuikTrip product offering later this year.
Alto-Shaam kicked off a series of solution-based webinars to further support its global customers and partners and address some of the current key challenges facing the industry. Each Zoom-hosted webinar is approximately 30 minutes long and features live product and service demonstrations. The recorded webinars will also be featured on Alto-Shaam's website.
Topics range from a selection of best practices webinars to specific advice and solutions to help the foodservice industry navigate its way through the latest COVID-19 guidelines.
"COVID-19 has impacted almost everyone's way of work, including us here at Alto-Shaam. We knew we had to quickly adapt while keeping our promise to our global customers and partners to deliver the highest quality support and service they need in order to succeed," said Corporate Executive Chef Rocky Rockwell. "We hope our webinar series will provide additional support to our customers throughout the complete sales cycle and provide them with practical insights to enhance their foodservice operation. Despite the obstacles the current climate has created we constantly strive to find better ways to design products that solve our customers' challenges, finding new paths and improving processes."
Anheuser-Busch launched a campaign to make Budweiser the official state beer of Utah.
"To commemorate almost one year since Budweiser became one of the first 5 percent ABV beers in bars around the state and the positive response from fans, Budweiser now wants to become Utah's first-ever official state beer," the company said.
Consumers can show support by tagging #Bud4Utah on Twitter. If the hashtag reaches 84,899 uses (corresponding to the size of Utah in square miles) by Sept. 13, the Budweiser Clydesdales will return to the state to deliver the first batch of Utah-themed beer cans.
Global retail solutions provider Aptos entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Revionics, provider of science-based pricing, promotion and competitive insight for innovative global retailers. The acquisition is expected to close this month.
Featuring advanced AI and machine learning capabilities, Revionics' cloud-based price optimization solutions will serve as an extension to Aptos' Merchandise Lifecycle Management suite, allowing retailers to optimize every aspect of the product lifecycle.
"Retailers across all segments are experiencing heightened pressure to deliver greater merchandise variety, personalized promotions and experiences, and prices that resonate with shoppers," said Noel Goggin, Aptos CEO and culture leader. "The only way to meet customers' expectations while maximizing revenue, margin growth and customer lifetime value is to integrate all stages of the merchandise planning cycle, including price optimization."
Celsius Holdings Inc.
Celsius Holdings entered into an agreement providing for a direct private investment of $22 million with two investors, Asia's leading private equity firm and a leading global institutional investor. The transaction closed in August.
"We appreciate the recognition and trust from these prestigious leading global institutional investors. This is an important milestone to reinforce the momentum in our business as we continue to capitalize on the global health and wellness trends and disrupt the energy beverage category," said John Fieldly, president and CEO. "The injection of funds will allow us to eliminate our outstanding bonds incurred in connection with our October 2019 acquisition of Func Food Group Oyj, which bonds are due in October 2020 and provide working capital enabling Celsius to maximize the significant growth opportunities in both domestic and global markets."
The company also announced its expansion into the Speedway c-store chain. The initial rollout will include two SKUs across 2,700 stores, starting at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2020.
Del Monte Fresh Produce
Del Monte Fresh Produce added six new energy efficient reefer container vessels to its fleet: Del Monte Gold, Del Monte Rose, Del Monte Harvester, Del Monte Spirit, Del Monte Valiant and Del Monte Pride.
Each vessel meets stringent emission control regulations and includes:
"We have been working towards this goal since 2017 and could not be more excited to see it come to fruition," said Helmuth Lutty, senior vice president of shipping operations for Fresh Del Monte Produce. "As one of the world's leading producer, marketer and distributer of fresh fruits and vegetables, we have set a very high bar for all the reefer containers and ships in our fleet. These six new vessels set the bar even higher, and allow us to deliver the high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables we are known for while meeting our sustainability goals."
DRB Systems united with Unitec, Suds Creative, NoPileups and Sage Microsystems under a single master brand: DRB. Together, the organization helps car wash operators and quick lube shops chart new paths to growth with data-driven technology solutions.
NoPileups is full-tunnel management system that helps conveyorized car washes increase tunnel capacity and prevent in-tunnel collisions; Suds Creative is a data-driven, consumer behavior company dedicated to optimizing revenue for car washes; and Sage Microsystems is a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) and business management solutions to the quick lube industry. The companies joined forces in 2016 but maintained separate brand identities.
"Since we joined forces, we've found that together, we are truly more than the sum of our parts," said DRB CEO Dan Pittman. "Now it's time for our brand to reflect that. Under the DRB master brand, we will forge ahead with a singular goal: To help car wash operators squeeze every ounce of profitability out of their investments."
To differentiate between the two major markets the company serves, DRB Systems will be referred to as DRB Tunnel Solutions with NoPileups remaining as a product under the Tunnel Solutions business unit. Unitec will be identified as DRB In-Bay Solutions. The Unitec name will still be associated with the in-bay POS hardware and Sierra and Director software. Suds Creative and Sage Microsystems will not change their brand names but will fall under the DRB master brand.
GetUpside launched in nine new markets: Denver; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Honolulu; Cleveland; Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio; Minneapolis; and Columbia, S.C. Participating c-stores and gas stations throughout these cities are now providing cash back offers, up to 25 cents per gallon.
The GetUpside technology platform provides personalized consumer offers to increase profits for retailers. Cash back offers are delivered through a mobile app, incentivizing new customers to visit a particular location and existing ones to visit more often, according to the company. Retailers only need to provide anonymized transaction logs and continue business as usual.
National video network GSTV announced partnerships with new content providers La Liga North America, widely considered the best soccer league in the world with internationally recognized clubs and players, and Loop Media Inc., an innovative streaming media company focused exclusively on premium short-form video.
They join GSTV's growing lineup of premiere content partners. The GSTV network is currently located across more than 24,000 locations, and reaches 92 million unique viewers a month.
"We're excited to be providing our deep music video and movie trailer libraries to GSTV, as one of its premium content partners," said Tony Siconolfi, head of revenue at Loop Media. "We believe that Loop's content will help GSTV with its goal of delivering the most engaging location-based video experience in the U.S. We also believe that together we will deliver to marketers an exciting opportunity to integrate and sponsor Loop's content, create custom content around client product launches and develop compelling marketing initiatives."
Loop Media will produce and share short-form music videos, top new music videos, movie trailers for new releases and top movie trailer complications.
"We're thrilled to have LaLiga and Loop Media join GSTV's content experience. Our content portfolio is carefully curated to offer viewers a highly engaging show while also providing brands the opportunity to connect with our audience through content integrations," said Violeta Ivezaj, senior vice president, business operations, GSTV. "Both LaLiga and Loop Media are strong new content partners that we are confident our viewers will be delighted to see."