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Scott Hartman, Rutter’s Holdings CEO, runs 66 convenience stores in the US. The chain succeeds because of its ability to use technology to give their food-to-go shoppers what they want.
Here are eight things you can learn from Hartman’s presentation at the ACS summit last week:
Introduce touch screens. Rutter’s uses touch screens to allow shoppers to customise their food orders. “We’ve had them in for 10 years and it makes it very efficient for us,” he said.
Customisation is crucial. The chain allows customers to completely tailor every aspect of their food orders. “We give examples of what our customers can order, but you can order anything. We sold a $49 hamburger recently and got a wonderful social media buzz out of it.”
Hire foodies to make your food to go. “If the people you hire don’t like food, it won’t taste or look good.”
Capture loyalty. “We encourage our shoppers to sign up to a loyalty programme. We have customers who want to be anonymous, but if they provide information about who they are, they become a VIP member and get more value.”
Evening meals are the next step. “Dinner is the part that everyone is trying to capture. Our solution is taking off and it’s doing so because we make it easy for customers to define what dinner is for them.”
Health is defined by the shopper. “Some people would consider pizza healthy. We’ve got hamburgers, eggs and cheese in wraps, but if they believe wraps are healthy, then we say go for it.”
Limited-time offers work well. “It’s a huge trend. Get offers in, see if they work, get them out. Customers like change and variety.”
Bring in pay at pump. Rutter’s also has touch screens on the pumps in its forecourts, which allow shoppers to pay and buy food to go, which is brought out to them. “People are afraid because they think it’ll decrease the number of customers going in. It does, but do these shoppers want to go in in the first place?”