The FDA and your growing Food Service offering

Scott Oakes's picture
Scott Oakes

The days of regretting the hot dog you grabbed in a hurry at the convenience store are going away. As we have seen recently with the rebranding of Sheetz, WaWa and other players as a dining destination site, many other C-Stores are joining the race for your appetite. On a recent trip with my teenage boys, a quick stop at a Quik-Trip became a dining experience.

However, some convenience store operators have been slowed down in adopting food service by the US Government’s intervention and consumer demand for healthy choices. A mandate requiring operators with more than twenty locations to provide key nutritional information was initially slated for implementation in December 2015 (but has been delayed until December 2016). This nutritional requirement has sent many smaller operators who don’t have a fleet of Food Service experts on the payroll actively seeking quick solutions to this big problem.

Here are some healthy suggestions to help you along:

  1. Read the Guidelines: Take some quality time and ready the official guidelines for Calorie display provided by the FDA and don’t let others tell you what it is saying. I read it on a recent plane ride and it wasn’t too time consuming.  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/UCM461963.pdf
  2. Review your Options: Look at your options to display this information
    1. Digital Signage / Menu Board.   This technology is becoming far more cost efficient but can’t provide individual information for build your own sandwich/burger solution
    2. WebSite / Mobile presence - You could use your social and internet presence to provide some of this information especially if you are pursuing online ordering or mobile ordering.  However, many customers do not offer their full store offering via their mobile or web solution
    3. POS or Ordering Kiosk  -  If you have a sophisticated POS or Customer Facing Ordering Kiosk, this information could be provide through these suppliers.   This could provide you with the flexibility of the “Build As You Go” nutritional information but does require some fairly sophisticated enterprise tools to modify your item components that build your items. 
  3. Get Nutritionally Savvy by asking your food service providers for nutritional content resources. There are free websites such as MyFitnessPal (https://www.myfitnesspal.com/) who provide key nutritional content information for public use when they are doing their own calorie counting.  

As we see projected growth of foodservice offerings over the coming years, the goal is provide fast, fresh, and healthy options for the customers who visit your stores.   

 

Scott Oakes is Manager of Retail Innovation Solutions for Gilbarco Veeder-Root and has over twenty five years’ experience in the Convenience Store industry designing solutions for customers.  Scott is also the Product Manager for the Express Ordering Food Service Kiosk that will be demonstrated in the Cool New Products room at NACS.  For more information on Gilbarco’s Food Service and POS solutions go to www.gilbarco.com.

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