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    Retailers Explore Culinary Trends at 2017 CSNews Foodservice Summit

    Tours, tastings and talks inspire c-store executives.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    A CIA student panel discussion was among the highlights.

    NAPA, Calif. — The 2017 Convenience Store News Foodservice Summit, held here last week, provided convenience foodservice executives from around the country with a culinary tour de force of the latest food and beverage trends sweeping the nation.

    Hosted at the Napa Valley headquarters of the venerable Culinary Institute of America (CIA), this year’s CSNews Foodservice Summit, held in partnership with Tyson Convenience, gave the group of retailers the opportunity to tour one of the nation’s most successful public markets; hear interactive presentations from CIA chefs/instructors; interact with a panel of culinary students about the future of convenience foodservice; and engage in meaningful dialog on the key issues and challenges impacting the growth of foodservice sales at convenience stores. There were also plenty of networking activities, such as a special wine tasting and tour at the Cabernet Caves at Pine Ridge Vineyards. The event wrapped up with an inspiring and insightful talk from former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch.

    Guided by CIA’s Director of Consulting and Industry Programs Brad Barnes, retailers toured Oxbow Public Market, an indoor market containing some of California’s most popular restaurants and artisan food retailers. Here, the group viewed the newest up-and-coming food trends that appeal to young consumers and foodies.

    This visit was followed by a short walk to the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia facility, the CIA’s public campus, where the c-store retailers met to discuss and share their accomplishments and challenges.

    From there, it was on to the CIA’s Greystone headquarters, a 19th century structure listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. At Greystone, the retailers were immersed into an exploration of sensory dynamics and flavor sensations with Professor of Culinary Arts, Chef William Briwa.

    Then, more discussion took place around key issues such as leveraging technology for a competitive advantage, the latest word on healthy eating, and building a “culinary culture” in organizations. The full day of programming wrapped up with the moderated student panel discussion.

    The 2017 CSNews Foodservice Summit concluded with a two-hour presentation and interactive discussion with Doug Rauch, the driving force behind Trader Joe’s evolution from a small, nine-unit convenience store chain into a nationally acclaimed specialty grocery retailer.

    Foodservice Summit participants included top foodservice executives from 7-Eleven Inc., BP/ampm, Circle K Stores Inc., Country Fair Inc., Kwik Trip Inc., Maverik Inc., RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., Wawa Inc. and Rutter’s Farm Stores. 

    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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