Operational Excellence Begins With Frontline Employees


Operational excellence is a tall order, but with the right tools and data, convenience retailers can reach their goals and exceed what customers think a convenience store can be.

Don Rhoads, the 2022-23 NACS Chairman, spent weeks on the road in 2023, visiting more than 80 convenience stores from Virginia to Georgia, and from California to Dublin, Ireland. He saw operational excellence at its highest level in foodservice, merchandising, and—what he calls the heart and soul of our industry—exceptional service from frontline teams.

"Our time on the road was about connecting with our industry and celebrating the people who add the smiles that go along with convenience. They are the people who are the face of our industry,” noted the NACS Magazine article “Another Great ‘Rhoads’ Trip.

Striving for operational excellence would be pretty tough without the sort of great teams that Rhoads saw firsthand on his travels. For most convenience retailers, finding the right people for the right job, and getting them to stay, is also pretty tough—especially considering the many other retail channels that are vying for the same employees.
A great way for retailers to cut through the noise and shore up their workforce strategy is to make sure their compensation and benefits packages are competitive. But how can retailers know if they are offering enough?

An easy way to benchmark against the industry is through the soon-to-be released NACS State of the Industry Talent Insights Dashboard® for HR data and by attending the NACS State of the Industry Summit, where we industry leaders break down the operational trends and insights compiled from a year’s snapshot of data from the NACS State of the Industry Report®. According to 2022 data, wages and benefits is the largest contributor to direct store operating expense (DSOE), totaling $46,980 per store, per month in 2022, a year-over-year increase of 14.1%.

This expense reflects the vital role that frontline workers play in the successful day-to-day operation of a convenience store—it’s an investment in operational excellence. Retailers should take all the steps they can to get the most out of this investment.