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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Kelly Buckley, vice president of fresh food innovation at Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., and Rich Green, director of foodservice for Salt Lake City-based Maverik Inc., are winners of the inaugural Convenience Foodservice Executive of the Year awards.
The pair of convenience foodservice leaders will be honored at the Convenience Foodservice Exchange, a new conference being presented by Convenience Store News Sept. 15-16 in Schaumburg.
Buckley is responsible for the development of the overall fresh food strategy and leading the innovation of relevant and differentiated new food products and platforms for 7-Eleven.
Before joining 7-Eleven, she was vice president of menu strategy and innovation at Applebee’s. She was also previously with Yum! Brands, where she held numerous positions including Chief Food Innovation Officer in the Pizza Hut division and Senior Manager in Research & Development and Quality Assurance at Yum! Restaurants International.
Under Buckley’s leadership, 7-Eleven has done an admirable job in developing and implementing a ready-to-go foodservice offer. The convenience store retailer was one of the first to offer a great-tasting breakfast sandwich for people looking for a better-for-you alternative, and its offerings now include a wide variety of fresh-cut fruit, salads, yogurt parfaits and healthy, low-calorie sandwiches.
In recent years, 7-Eleven has also rolled out warm bakery items; new hot snacks including corn dog bites, mozzarella sticks and chicken chipotle taquitos; Latin-inspired products such as breakfast empanada bites and mini chicken chipotle tacos; and heartier fare such as premium Roast Beef and Bistro Deluxe sandwiches.
7-Eleven is also noted for doing its due diligence and a lot of consumer research to be sure it is on-trend with today’s consumer tastes. For these reasons and more, Buckley is the 2016 Convenience Foodservice Executive of the Year for chains with more than 500 stores.
Green is the 2016 Convenience Foodservice Executive of the Year for chains with less than 500 stores. He started his career with Maverik more than 10 years ago as a store manager. He now leads the team responsible for the entire lifecycle of fresh food in Maverik’s 270-plus locations, including restaurant vision and innovation, store design, menu creation, marketing, procurement, merchandising and equipment, pricing, and operational and training procedures.
Under Green’s leadership, Maverik has consistently ranked among the top regional c-store retailers for its foodservice operations. Noted for baking bread fresh every day in every store, Maverik was named the 2014 Foodservice Innovator of the Year, an annual award presented by CSNews in partnership with Tyson Convenience.
Maverik’s continuing and evolving foodservice innovations include increasing the stores’ focus on its fresh foodservice brand Bonfire by visually and physically bringing the fresh food offer forward in the stores, which carry the tagline of “Adventure’s First Stop.” The Bonfire Grill open-display kitchen is placed front and center as the centerpiece of Maverik stores.
The chain is also known for such innovative menu items as MOAB (Mother of All Burritos), ciabatta pizza, and biscuits n’ gravy.
The Convenience Foodservice Exchange is an exclusive, invitation-only foodservice conference focused on convenience foodservice retailing. This event will bring together convenience retail and food company executives to discuss business-building ideas, consumer behaviors and the hottest food trends, and experience the latest in food industry taste and innovation.
Special guest speakers on the agenda include “Top Chef Masters” winner Rick Bayless, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, and leading researchers and consultants from CSNews’ exclusive “How To Crew” of foodservice experts.
Other activities and information exchanges will include:
- A special quantitative and qualitative research presentation on both c-store consumers’ foodservice shopping habits and retailers’ reaction to those behaviors. This research project is being conducted by Carbonview Research specifically for the Convenience Foodservice Exchange.
- A “Competitive Watch” presentation during which Price Chopper will discuss the company’s new Market Bistro and Market 32 foodservice concepts.
- Face-to-face interactions with sponsor suppliers in the C-store Foodservice Taste & Innovation Zone.
- Intimate boardroom briefings by leading foodservice suppliers.
- Examination of best practices in foodservice innovation from around the c-store industry.
Sponsorships are available for this exclusive, exciting event. For more information on sponsorships, contact Ron Lowy at [email protected] or (330) 840-9557.