Sunday, September 10, 2017

Alimentation Couche-Tard Foodservice Folly

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. referred to as simply Couche-Tard is one of the largest company-owned convenience store operators in the world with more than 12,000 stores across Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Japan, China, and Indonesia operating under a variety of bands yet finding growth and commonality with foodservice according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson. 

For Couche-Tard CEO and President Brian Hannasch, leveraging foodservice integration as the platform for melding brands, garnering consumers, and driving top line growth is a solid strategy his implementation team is utilizing yesterday’s food tactics hoping for today’s results. The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes while it may be an inexpensive approach it might not yield the long term desired results. 

Hannasch’s goal for all of the brands under Couche-Tard umbrella is to become a top food destination globally, adding to its foodservice toolbox with every acquisition.  Ideally he would integrate grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food programs that are not focused on yesterday’s customers but today’s and tomorrows.  It seems as if his tactics resemble a patchwork quilt rather than a global brand strategy. Let’s take a look at some of Couche-Tard’s food toolbox tactics:

1.       One key area has been building up its dispensed beverages offer, especially coffee   Alimentation Couche-Tard continues to push to make Simply Great Coffee known to our customers throughout the network. Simply Great Coffee is now available in over 2,800 stores globally and continues to have noted success in Europe,"
2.       On the cold dispensed side, Couche-Tard has " moved quickly to roll out our core Circle K Polar Pop program" into the acquired CST Brands Inc. stores and, after just two months, more than 1,000 Corner Stores carry the Polar Pop brand.
3.        A made-on-site program similar to Couche-Tard's made-to-go program that is in roughly 117 locations between the two networks.
4.       CST's fresh in-store bakery in approximately 800 locations, which is similar to a bakery offering Couche-Tard launched in parts of the United States and Canada.
5.       The hot dog pilot in 27 locations, with the goal to make its stores a destination for that offering. The goal is to have 273 locations completed in the U.S. this year and another 85 completed in Canada.
6.       A high-end bakery program is now in 21 locations in Canada, primarily in the Quebec market. The goal is to have it in more than 300 Canada stores by the end of the year.

The team at Foodservice Solutions® is wondering when Couche-Tard's network comprised of 9,471 convenience stores throughout North America, including 8,129 stores with gas, consists of 18 business units, including 14 in the United States covering 42 states and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces can you build a unified brand using tactics rather than strategy?

Does your customer focused foodservice look more like yesterday than tomorrow?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

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