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    Pumped-Up Foodservice

    Zarco USA uses at-pump technology to boost food and merchandise sales

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    Zarco USA’s Siris tablet allows customers to purchase foodservice items at the pump for in-store or drive-thru pickup.

    Zarco USA President Scott Zaremba believes he truly has a ?game changer.? A few months ago, at one of his Lawrence, Kan., convenience stores, Zaremba installed what he calls ?version 2.0? of his Siris tablet, which allows consumers to order the retailer?s proprietary Sandbar Subs foodservice items at the fuel pump. Soon after, Zaremba added the 10.4-inch kiosk ordering tablets to a second store in Lawrence.

    The entrepreneur then took his idea one step further at the end of July. Based on customer feedback, consumers at one Zarco USA Lawrence location can now pick up their foodservice items at a drive-thru window.

    ?There is nothing else like it in our marketplace,? Zaremba told Convenience Store News. ?Of course, QSRs [quick-service restaurants] in the area offer drive-thru options, but you can?t fill up your tank there. We are the only one that offers both.?

    Zarco USA?s president added that customer response has been so positive that he will look to add additional items to what consumers can pick up at the drive-thru. Offering bundles of two or more items is one thing he is considering.

    ?People have limited time today,? he said. ?Parents of young children and the elderly don?t want to get out of their cars. They want to fuel up, pick up something to eat and go.?

    When customers arrive at one of the two Zarco USA stores that currently offer at-the-pump ordering, they see the Siris tablet, which has been retrofitted onto the pump dispenser. As of press time, a total of eight such tablets were in place at the two stores.

    Using the tablets, consumers can purchase any Sandbar Subs item on the menu. This includes 15 subs and wraps, 12 breakfast items, as well as coffee. If no item on the menu appeals to them, made-to-order items also can be requested.

    ?We have a billion different food combinations,? said Zaremba, who founded Sandbar Subs in 2010. Biscuits and gravy is the best-selling menu item, he noted.

    Once an order is placed at the Siris tablet, it is ready in approximately five minutes, or about the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Customers can either pay for their items at the pump using a card swipe acceptor housed within the tablet, or go inside the store to pay.

    There is one potential downside to having a drive-thru. Customers using the drive-thru have few reasons to walk inside the physical store. But Zaremba explained that these same customers now using the drive-thru used to only fill up their gas tanks and then drive away. Hence, Zarco USA is drumming up plenty of new revenue that is boosting its bottom line.

    ?We also still have plenty of customers who order at the kiosk and pick [their items] up inside the store,? Zaremba stated. ?When they leave their cars to pick up their meal, they are buying other items in the store as well. Sales at Sandbar Subs are up, and in-store merchandise sales are up.?

    Zaremba, who created the Siris tablet with the help of technology whiz Peter Tawil, hopes to spread the wealth. Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Signal Peak Designs is selling his tablet in 8-inch and 10.4-inch sizes to other retailers on a 36-month lease basis. At the pump, Siris can be retrofitted onto Gilbarco Encore or Wayne Ovation dispensers.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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