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    Why Rutter’s Has Year’s Best New Foodservice Program

    Its Basket Meals crack the code on the dinner daypart.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    YORK, Pa. — Rutter’s Farm Stores, the York-based chain of roughly 60 convenience stores, has been a perennial winner in the Convenience Store News Foodservice Innovators Awards program. The retailer was the very first Foodservice Innovator of the Year in 2012. In 2013, Rutter’s won Best Prepared Foods Innovator, while last year the chain was runner-up in the Best Prepared Foods category.

    This year, Foodservice Innovators Awards judges selected the chain as winner of the Best New Foodservice Program (introduced in the past year), extolling Rutter’s latest creation, called Basket Meals.

    Presented in partnership with Tyson Convenience, the fourth-annual Foodservice Innovators Awards recognize convenience retail chains who are raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in this fast-growing and critically important product category for c-stores. Winners are chosen by CSNews’ How To Crew panel of foodservice experts from the retailer, supplier, research and consulting fields.

    According to Jerry Weiner, Rutter’s long-time foodservice director who retired in August, the c-store industry’s greatest challenge in foodservice is the dinner daypart. “I’ve always felt there was an awful lot of money on the table during the dinner daypart that c-stores should be getting. When consumers think about dinner, I want Rutter’s on their mind,” Weiner stated. 

    Each Rutter’s Basket Meal includes one of five entrees: fried shrimp, chicken wings, beef short ribs, mahi-mahi bites or chicken strips. In addition to the entrée, each basket comes with a large order of French fries, coleslaw, dinner roll and a dipping sauce. According to many, this new foodservice item finally gets c-stores successfully into the dinner game.

    One judge also applauded Rutter’s for another new item, its Rutter’s Short Ribs. “A great item that you do not associate with c-stores. They found a way to use the short rib in multiple carriers and as a snack.”

    When it comes to new product innovation, Rutter’s was tops in 2015.

    For more on Rutter’s and the other 2015 Foodservice Innovator Awards winners, check out our specially created Foodservice Innovators Awards microsite at http://foodserviceinnovators.csnews.com.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.

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