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Why Circle K Is the 2020 Foodservice Innovator of the Year

LAVAL, Quebec — Circle K was applauded by judges for the successful rollout of its new "Fresh Food Fast" concept across North America and for its excellent coffee program.

In March, President and CEO Brian Hannasch talked about how Couche-Tard was ramping up its new food program and rolling out a pilot program based heavily on Holiday Stationstores' impressive food program. Couche-Tard acquired Minnesota-based Holiday in December 2017.

After initially rolling out the food program to different format stores in order to understand how to make it work broadly across its network, the global company is now excited about the program's potential for customers and the related sales and traffic impact it will have on its stores. Holiday's signature program included a large, diversified variety of food offerings from its exclusive Holiday Pantry sandwich and salad line.

In dispensed beverages, Couche-Tard is growing its hot beverage business with the installation of coffee-on-demand machines across the U.S. The rollout is almost complete. In March, the company reported it had approximately 13,500 bean-to-cup machines installed, serving fresh coffee 24 hours a day. In cold dispensed beverages, Couche-Tard expanded its Polar Pop offering in Canada to an additional 110 stores and in frozen dispensed beverages, the retailer's Froster program has been expanded to 140-plus sites in Europe.

Circle K previously won Foodservice Innovators Awards as Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year in 2016 and Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year in 2018. In addition, Holiday was named Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year in 2017, shortly after being acquired by Couche-Tard.

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