McLane Co. launched its national trade show on Aug. 29 in Dallas under a new name — McLane Engage. The show took place over the course of three days, giving convenience store retailers and suppliers a chance to connect.
Educational sessions focusing on topics such as retail foodservice, the effects of federal and state policies, and teamwork and leadership in business gave attendees a chance to learn and engage with the industry in the mornings. In the afternoons, the expo was open for attendees to visit booths and chat.
On Aug. 30, the second day of the show, Al Paris, Gretchen Wilson and Jason Scheff entertained at Gilley’s Dallas with a concert.
At the expo, McLane showcased its newly revealed McLane Fresh. a foodservice at retail program for c-stores. To be launched soon, one of the services this end-to-end solution offers is a pizza program using a proprietary recipe. Farley Kaiser, senior director of culinary innovation, noted that much decision-making went into the process of creating the quality pizza, from the crispness of the pepperoni to the amount of cheese.
In addition to the pizza program, McLane Fresh includes the beverage program CupZa!, which offers a variety of coffee, tea and lemonade options. Customers will also have the ability to use flavor shots sourced from New Zealand to customize their beverages.
Once the pizza program and CupZa! launch, McLane Fresh will begin to relaunch Central Eats, its grab-and-go program.
The goal of the program is to help McLane Fresh customers build trust with their own customers through consistency and quality items, which is where the value of the program lies, Jon Cox, vice president of retail foodservice, remarked.
McLane Fresh serves as a flexible solution for c-store retailers and will meet retailers wherever they’re at in terms of foodservice.
At the show, attendees were able to sample the various items on offer.
Speakers Daymond John, founder of FUBU and investor on “Shark Tank,” and Chet Garner, host of “The Daytripper,” spoke to attendees in general sessions.
Their stories and reflections were food for thought for the attendees.
“Don’t get so fixated on where you’re going and what you’re doing that you miss the fact you’re with people around you,” said Garner. “People are more important than the road.”
“State of the Union: the Economy, the Consumer, and the Convenience Channel” was one of two possible educational sessions that took place on Aug. 31. Nik Modi, consumer staples analyst, RBC Capital Markets, discussed the impact of inflation on convenience retail, how technology will shape the industry and which segments are hot-ticket areas.
“People are looking for value,” said Modi. Promotions, private labels and pack sizes are all areas of focus for c-store retailers to increase value for the customer.
He shed a light on what future technological and artificial intelligence advancements will mean for the convenience channel and encouraged attendees to think further about who is coming into their store and how they decide on their purchases.
McLane Engage ended on Aug. 31 with a lunch and the expo floor open for a final few hours.
Source: Convenience Store Decisions