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    McLane on Board to Support Foodservice Growth

    Wholesaler also focuses on streamlined ordering, lottery activation.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    TEMPLE, Texas — The growth of foodservice at convenience stores, and consumer demand for more fresh food offerings, has been one of the major challenges for the entire c-store supply chain.

    McLane Co. Inc., the nation’s largest broadline distributor to the convenience store industry, is rising to meet that challenge in this, its 120th year in business.

    In a recent interview with CSNews Online, Tom Sicola, McLane’s vice president of marketing, discussed the Temple-based wholesaler's efforts to help retailers grow their foodservice business, along with several new technological advancements designed to facilitate retailer operations.

    At the company’s retailer trade show in Orlando, held earlier this month, McLane felt it was important to tell its story by packaging all of its foodservice suppliers into one section, unlike past shows where foodservice suppliers were scattered throughout the trade show floor.

    “Several thousands of foodservice SKUs were displayed all in one area to give retailers a clearer view of the breadth and depth of our foodservice offerings,” added Holly Veale, foodservice category manager for McLane Grocery Distribution.

    To make it even easier for retailers to sort through all of McLane’s foodservice offerings, the wholesaler developed a Foodservice Menu containing factoids about foodservice sales and trends from various research sources, and solutions organized by different dayparts. These dayparts include bakery, breakfast sandwiches and lighter fare for breakfast, soups, salads and dressings, small bites, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, burgers, hot dogs, and more for anytime eating.

    “We all know that retailers are looking for higher margin categories like foodservice to counter the impact of the decline in tobacco,” Veale noted.

    The new Foodservice Menu, designed to look like a restaurant menu, also features solutions from specific vendors, such as the Tyson Chicken Program, Tony’s Pizza Program and JCX Coffee Program. In addition to food and beverage items, McLane features its extensive selection of foodservice support solutions, such as equipment, cups and other store supplies.

    The trade show, themed "Make Profits Happen," drew 185 exhibitors, including 36 new suppliers; and 1,200 attendees, including 400 McLane customers — a 25-percent increase over its 2013 show, according to Dawn Letson, category development manager for McLane Grocery Distribution.


    On the technology front, McLane introduced a new direct-store delivery (DSD) solution that combines two ordering technologies into one.

    “With the new DSD solution, customers can check in, count or create an order for any DSD product using the same device they use to place their electronic order with us,” said Deon Johnson, applications director for the distributor.

    Johnson explained that retailers using McLane’s Smart Handheld Device along with a data interface from their back-office system can now create orders for all McLane and non-McLane inventory in real-time. The device helps retailers eliminate inconsistencies, streamline processes and reduce errors, while saving time and money.

    “The retailer has one device” to deal with, Johnson pointed out.

    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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