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People shaking hands and text reading "Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners"

Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners

Convenience Store Associations With the Best Resources for Business Owners 1016 528 Sprockets

Do you ever wish you could talk to someone who had the same business challenges as you to learn how they overcame them? You can, and it’s just one of the many benefits of joining a convenience store association. They often provide c-store owners with valuable resources such as training classes for your team, insights to inform your strategy, discounts on retail solutions, and even advocacy for issues on the state or international levels. Let’s dig into which convenience store groups provide the fuel you need to grow your business.

Of course, your business is only as good as the employees you have on staff, and adding one simple tool to your hiring process helps improve retention and productivity. It instantly reveals the ideal applicants for your convenience store, enabling you to make the best hiring decisions every time.

Grow Your Business With the Help of These Convenience Store Associations

NACS

The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, also known simply as NACS, has been helping c-store owners for over 60 years. It’s the premier global trade association, founded in 1961 under the name “The National Association of Convenience Stores.” Today, NACS advises more than 1,300 retailer and 1,600 supplier members across 50 countries.

Free Resources

NACS is an exceptional source of news articles full of helpful insights, like How to Hire in a Labor Shortage and Here’s an Intelligent Way to Reduce Employee Turnover. Topics include everything from human resources to sustainability. In addition, they host various webinars, a podcast titled Convenience Matters, and a “Discovery Center” to find new products for your convenience store. We also highly recommend subscribing to the NACS Magazine; all you need to do is create a free account to gain digital access.

NACS Events

You’re welcome to attend a variety of NACS events, such as leadership training programs and convenience summits. Of course, the biggest and most popular event is the annual NACS Show (October 1 to 4, 2022). It attracts over 20,000 attendees for educational sessions, workshops, speakers, and more than 1,200 exhibitors. Check out the “Cool New Products Preview Room” and consider attending a pre-conference workshop (NACS Advanced Category Management Certification and NACS Food Safety Conference). 

Tip: Keep an eye out for the Sprockets booth (6386) on the exhibitor floor to learn how our hiring solution helps c-stores drastically improve employee retention!

NACS Membership

NACS membership pricing starts at $250 per year for c-store retailers in the U.S. Your rate depends on your annual sales figures. You’ll enjoy discounted rates for events, reports, and resources as well as members-only access to expos and education. Plus, retail members receive personal representation through their national advocacy group. (There are additional membership options available for supplier companies and members of the press.)

C-Store Associations by State

If you’d like to explore some of the more local options specific to your state, feel free to browse the list of related associations below:

REVEAL THE IDEAL APPLICANTS WITH SPROCKETS’ HIRING PLATFORM

Each bad hire can cost your c-store up to $5,000 — a cost you can’t afford during a labor crisis. That’s why so many businesses turn to Sprockets’ unique hiring solution that shows you precisely who to hire, removing the guesswork and improving employee retention by an average of 43%. You’ll be able to spend less time on the hiring process and more time on daily operations, which is crucial to running a successful convenience store.

Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring employees who will drive success for your c-store!

C-Store top match

5 Convenience Store Management Tips

5 Convenience Store Management Tips 1016 528 Sprockets

Between the rising cost of gas prices, continuous supply chain issues, and the never-ending labor shortage, convenience store management is not an easy task. You’re probably burnt out trying to find a solution for everything that is out of your control. Take a deep breath because we are here to help you with what you can control. Whether you just opened your c-store or have years of experience under your belt, here are five convenience store management tips to help your business thrive. 

How to Manage a Convenience Store

1. Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, keeping up with c-store trends is a must. Regularly read credible publications like CStore Decisions and NACS Magazine. You can also listen to c-store podcasts, talk to your customers, visit other stores, and network with industry professionals at trade shows to stay in the loop! To save you some time, here are a few current c-store management trends:

  • Frictionless Technology: Top c-store retailers take advantage of the latest and greatest technology to ensure a seamless experience for their customers. Solutions like Mashgin enable c-store associates to focus on daily operations and provide guests with an instant, 22-second checkout. Say goodbye to lines and wait times! Plus, this technology provides insight on what customers are buying, so owners can make smarter decisions. 

 

  • More Food Options: Some c-stores have found success focusing on healthier, more elaborate meal options like fresh sub sandwiches for their customers. One Thronton location in Kentucky, for example, found that over 30% in annual profit came from fresh food. Similarly, a Neon Marketplace location began thinking of their c-store as a “quick-service restaurant hybrid” in order to satisfy the needs of multiple types of customers: coffee, food, fuel. 

 

“We really wanted to grasp that consumer who’s going to fill up their gas in the morning, but then they’ll pick up their order from Starbucks for breakfast, and then maybe at lunch they’ll take a trip to Panera.”

Elise Babey, Neon Senior Manager of Product Development & Supply Chain

2. Take Care of Your Employees

Like you, your employees are stressed, exhausted, and burnt out. Their mental health and well-being is crucial to your c-store’s success. Praise your employees for their accomplishments and even consider recognizing them in front of their peers. 40% of employees say that they’d put more effort into their job if they were recognized more often. Recognition makes your workers feel appreciated, leading to higher productivity and an increase in morale. A recent survey even found that 91% of HR professionals believe recognition leads to an increase in employee retention. 

In the same vein, another convenience store management tip is to offer competitive employee benefits and pay, if possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted what people want in a job. In fact, a 2022 report found that the top four reasons workers consider another position is to have better pay, benefits (in general), health-care benefit (specifically), and work-life balance. The last thing you want is your best associate to leave your c-store for better employee benefits. Gym membership discounts, child care resources, and tuition reimbursement are just a few creative ideas to ensure your employees feel appreciated. 

3. C That Your C-Store is Clean 

This may seem obvious, but the cleanliness of your c-store can easily get overlooked when you’re overwhelmed. Your customers’ first impressions of your business should be inviting! In fact, studies show that a messy, disorganized store reduces the time customers spend shopping. Cluttered stores cause confusion, so the chances of customers leaving without purchasing anything are greater. Don’t miss out on easy sales and do your best to ensure cleanliness at your c-store is a priority. Your customers will thank you. 

4. Implement Convenience Store Management Companies

If you’re a multi-unit c-store owner or operator, consider looking into retail management companies to clear your plate. Companies like StrasGlobal and LPT provide a number of solutions that can be customized to fit the needs of your locations. Need assistance with preparing food? Training new employees? Or maybe even marketing? There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help, especially when you’re feeling burnt out.

5. Add Sprockets’ Solution to Your Hiring Process

Your c-store won’t succeed without a strong team of reliable, driven individuals. They are the foundation of your business and influence your customers’ experiences. Luckily, Sprockets’ solution is the easy, effortless way to hire and retain top-tier talent. Our convenience store management software reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your current best associates. Say goodbye to wasted time — Sprockets gives you three hours of your day back. Plus, the platform is proven to boost employee retention by 43%, on average.

A woman holding a sign and text reading "How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide"

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide 1016 528 Sprockets

Starting a new business can be stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to help put you at ease with some top tips for how to open a convenience store. Find out what you need to know to minimize risk and maximize profits in the c-store industry. We’ll even teach you how to identify the ideal applicants so you can start off on the right foot with an all-star team of employees!

Opening a Convenience Store

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Convenience Store?

It usually costs about $10,000 to $50,000 to open a convenience store. This includes the cost of buying or renting a space, stocking your c-store with its initial inventory, and installing necessary equipment and technology. The price can vary, though, depending on the size of your store and which route to ownership you take. You can build a new, independent c-store from the ground up, purchase an existing c-store, or open a new location under a franchise brand. If you’re new to the industry, we recommend opening a franchise location so you can receive guidance, business advice, and an established customer base. Buying a franchise location is also typically cheaper and easier than building and stocking a whole new store on your own.

Are Convenience Stores Profitable?

The average gross profit margin for convenience stores can be around $450,000, making it a potentially lucrative business venture. However, keep in mind that it takes some time to reach the tipping point of making that profit after all of the initial costs to set up your c-store. Be patient, be consistent, and be disciplined about how you approach your operating plan. With any luck, you could achieve a decent profit and be able to expand to additional locations.

Tip: Consider running a food service operation within your c-store to increase profits. Despite what the general public might think about rising gas prices, c-stores only make about two cents of profit for each dollar of gasoline they sell. Maximize your profit margin by increasing food sales instead of depending on gas and tobacco sales.

What Is the Biggest Challenge Facing C-Store?

Unfortunately, there are downsides to opening a convenience store. One of the toughest obstacles facing c-stores right now, besides supply chain issues and inflation, is high employee turnover. It can be extraordinarily difficult to hire and retain high-quality c-store associates. As soon as you onboard one associate, another could be on their way out.

How Do I Hire the Best C-Store Employees?

Once you begin hiring your first employees, you’ll quickly be able to differentiate the best from the rest. Then, the key is to find more workers like those current top performers. Ideally, you’ll want to do this as soon as possible before you get stuck in an endless cycle of employee turnover. It’s time-consuming, stressful, and cuts into your profit margin due to the cost of the traditional hiring process. Sprockets’ hiring platform removes this obstacle from your path to success by instantly revealing which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your best c-store associates.

Reveal the Ideal Applicants With Sprockets’ Hiring Platform

Any convenience store owner can tell you how difficult it can be to struggle with employee turnover. That’s why so many businesses turn to Sprockets’ unique hiring solution that shows you precisely who to hire, removing the guesswork and improving employee retention by an average of 43%. You’ll be able to spend less time on the hiring process and more time on daily operations, which is crucial when opening a convenience store.

Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring employees who will drive success for your new c-store!

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A person part of the LGBTQ+ community proudly holds a pride flag.

How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community and Diversity in the Retail Industry at Your C-Store

How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community and Diversity in the Retail Industry at Your C-Store 1016 528 Sprockets

June is Pride Month, though your c-store should be supporting the LGBTQ+ community — customers and employees alike — year-round. Diversity in the retail industry is crucial to your c-store’s success. Everyone deserves equal rights and to be fully accepted for who they are. We’ll discuss four ways your c-store can foster an inclusive, welcoming environment without falling victim to the rainbow-washing bandwagon. 

 

“Right now, in the hourly workforce, there is tremendous pain around diversity and inclusion. We want to give everyone a fair shake.” 

AJ Richichi, Sprockets CEO 

 

Sprockets’ mission is to transform the broken hiring process into an equitable one for all, regardless of gender, age, sexuality, or race. Our platform is proven to increase diversity as it evaluates applicants’ mental makeup to reveal who will succeed and stay long-term. And, unlike humans, it’s completely objective.  

Top c-store brands like Wawa, BP, Meijer, and Shell all received a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index. The tool evaluates “corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees.” According to the index, these c-stores are considered the best places to work in the LGBTQ+ community. Make sure your c-store maintains an inclusive environment by following their examples!

Diversity and Inclusion in Retail Examples 

1. Avoid “Rainbow-Washing”

While you may think rainbow-ing your company logo throughout June shows support for the LGBTQ+ community, it actually does the opposite. See, a true ally actively engrains LGBTQ+ equality long-term into their company culture and values. According to Forbes, the term “rainbow-washing” refers to companies who profit off rainbow-themed products but fail to support the community long-term. The lack of authenticity is merely performative, or in other words, another social media post. 

2. Donate to LGBTQ+ Organizations

Consider giving back to organizations that provide resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few reputable ones:

No matter the monetary amount, donations have a direct, positive impact on these individuals’ lives. Regardless of which organization you chose, be sure to do your own research. Encourage your employees to support your chosen organization as well. You could even consider having a small fundraiser in your c-store. 

3. Add Pronouns to Employee Name Tags 

Addressing someone by their desired pronouns is a basic form of respect that everyone — regardless of sexuality or gender identity — deserves. Top brands like Target now offer employees name tags with pronouns to be more inclusive of all genders. This eliminates confusion and misunderstanding, especially for non-gender-conforming individuals who are more likely to be misgendered. It’s easy for these folks to feel singled out, so by adding your pronouns to your name tag, you are actively showing your support for the LGBTQ+ community and normalizing the conversation around gender identity. 

4. Use Gender-Neutral Language

Take the time to redefine how your c-store associates address customers. For example, instead of greeting customers with “hey, guys!” your associates could say “hey, everyone,” “hey, folks,” or even “hey, y’all.” Small, simple changes like these foster inclusivity at your c-store. Plus, it signals that your location(s) are welcoming towards all individuals. Remember, it can be uncomfortable and even frightening for non-binary, transgender, intersex, and other LGBTQ+ folks to speak up, especially if they are misgendered. 

5. Implement Sprockets’ Hiring Solution

The Sprockets platform is proven to increase diversity and eliminate bias since there’s no need for resumes or even interviews. “Right now, there is tremendous pain around diversity and inclusion. We want to give everyone a fair shake,” explains Sprockets CEO, AJ Richichi

Our hiring solution uses natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and over 80 years of psychological research to determine which personality traits make your best associates so special. Sprockets’ simple red-yellow-green scoring system makes it easy to see which applicants will succeed and stay long-term, empowering c-store owners and operators to build diverse, reliable teams.

The Sprockets Team with Customer Success Lead

Sprockets Expands Leadership Team to Rapidly Transform a Broken Hiring Process

Sprockets Expands Leadership Team to Rapidly Transform a Broken Hiring Process 1016 528 Sprockets

The current hiring process is broken; our mission at Sprockets is to transform it into an equitable one for all. After our series A funding, we immediately began expanding our teams to make that vision a reality for even more businesses in the hourly workforce. We followed our own advice and used both internal and external recruitment methods: one individual was promoted internally, while another new hire was made through an employee referral. Both external hires received a high Sprockets fit score which made the decision a no-brainer. 

The Sprockets platform is the easy, effortless way to hire and retain high-quality individuals. Our hiring solution analyzes applicants’ answers to three simple survey questions to determine whether or not they will succeed and stay long-term like your current top performers. It’s proven to dramatically reduce costly employee turnover and eliminates the need for resumes and even interviews. 

Meet Our New Sprockstar Leadership Team

So, without further adieu, here are the new members of our leadership team: Christian Palombo, Eric Lou, Katie Tumbleston, and Bailey Griffin. 

Christian Palombo, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

 

“With the right process, technology, enablement, and team, there will be no limit to our success at Sprockets.” 

Christian headshot

1. Tell us a little about your past experience. How did you get here? 

I have been fortunate to work with amazing people at hyper-growth startups in similar industries as Sprockets. My previous experiences at companies like Upserve and EverQuote allowed me to establish successful approaches to scaling SaaS B2B startups. When I spoke with Sprockets’ Chief Marketing Officer, Chad Troutman — who happens to be my former colleague at Upserve — I knew this was an opportunity that I could not pass up.

2. What drew you to Sprockets? 

I am passionate about solving challenges about the future of work. I believe that emerging technologies, advanced analytics, and workflow automation will change the experiences for both employees and customers. Sprockets applies these advanced applications today to directly address the labor crisis and support the largest class of employees in the United States: hourly workers. 

3. How will your role help our company grow? 

With the right process, technology, enablement, and team, there will be no limit to our success at Sprockets. I believe it is my responsibility to ensure Sprockets has the right blend of people, processes, and technology to solve problems for our customers and scale our business. 

4. What has been your favorite part of the role so far? 

My favorite part has been solving problems for our customers. Our customer base has been deeply impacted by the labor crisis and current market conditions. Working with customers to address uncontrollable employee turnover, shuttered business operations, and financial burdens has been extremely rewarding to me personally.

5. What would you say to potential job seekers considering applying to Sprockets? 

DO IT! There are very few professional opportunities in life where you can make a significant impact, grow personally and professionally, and help advance an industry. 

Eric headshot

Eric Liou, Chief Product Officer (CPO)

 

“The company has a great culture, filled with collaborative and passionate people who are all marching towards the same goal.”

1. Tell us a little about your past experience. How did you get here?  

I’ve spent over 20 years working in digital product strategy, design, and development at large companies as well as startups. I’ve helped three startups before, one of which was my own that I co-founded back in 2005. I’ve launched over 15 products in my career and have led product, design, and engineering teams.

2. What drew you to Sprockets?

The company mission and the potential of the product drew me to Sprockets. I find our mission a noble one — we are helping people maximize applicants’ potential by finding jobs that align with their skill sets and core values. At the same time, we’re helping companies hire better candidates and retain them for a longer period of time. We’re solving all of these key problems in an innovative way with a platform that leverages psychology and cutting-edge technology.

3. How will your role help our company grow? 

As Chief Product Officer, I’m primarily focused on setting a clear, compelling product vision and an effective strategy that will help us achieve that vision in the most effective way possible. Additionally, I’m here to create a great product culture that is driven by trust, autonomy, and delivers consistent product innovation for our customers and our business. Lastly, I’m tasked with building and scaling the organization across product management, design, and engineering.

4. What has been your favorite part of the role so far? 

My favorite part is discovering all the product opportunities at hand. There are so many avenues to take the platform on and so many problems to solve in the HR space, that I’m excited to strategize on how to best tackle them.

5. What would you say to potential job seekers considering applying to Sprockets?

The company has a great culture, filled with collaborative and passionate people who are all marching towards the same goal. Sprockets empowers you to bring your best self to work and trusts in you to make the right decisions. This type of environment breeds so much creativity and innovation that personally, it’s my ideal place to work. We are hiring across all functions within product management, design, and engineering. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to chat!

Bailey Griffin, Customer Success Team Lead

 

“We also use the power of Sprockets to help us hire.”

Baily headshot

1. Tell us a little about your past experience. How did you get here?

I was born and raised here in Charleston, so after studying in Clemson, I couldn’t help but come back and replant my roots here.

2. What drew you to Sprockets?

You hear it all the time, but I was truly looking for a company that had a culture that fit who I was and gave me the potential to get where I wanted to be. Lo and behold, I found the perfect place for that! I clicked with everyone in the company, which made the transition into my position smooth.

3. How will your role help our company grow?

I have had the opportunity to move throughout different departments here at Sprockets, so I have seen all sides of the business. Now that my feet are set in Customer Success, I truly can see where our customers’ pains lie and what they are looking for. Having the background knowledge of our customer’s pain points is invaluable, and I strive to utilize that knowledge to improve the CS team, the platform, and ultimately revamp our customers’ way of hiring.

4. What has been your favorite part of the role so far?

During my time here at Sprockets, the company and the product have changed immensely, but the core of Sprockets is still the same. I joined the team when there were only a handful of people in the room, naturally bonding us together to have strong relationships. Now, with over 50 people in the (virtual) room, you still get that tight-knit feeling.

5. What would you say to potential job seekers considering applying to Sprockets?

Take it from us, we know whether or not you are a good fit! Seriously, we also use the power of Sprockets to help us hire. So not only do we know if you would be a good fit, we also know which department will be the best fit for you. Come join us! 

Katie headshot

Katie Tumbleston, Talent Acquisition Manager 

 

“Much of my studies, passion, and career history is directly aligned to creating a just and equitable world.”

1. Tell us a little about your past experience. How did you get here?  

I have a varied background with titles ranging from Development Associate to Founder and CEO; however, I fell into recruiting and talent acquisition a little over five years ago. I refined and honed my skills in recruiting and hiring after launching an on-demand babysitting software business. Later, I expanded into medical recruiting in Australia and tech recruiting back in the States.

2. What drew you to Sprockets?

The potential for Sprockets to change the landscape of hiring was the initial draw. Much of my studies, passion, and career history is directly aligned to creating a just and equitable world for all walks of life. A close second was the opportunity to build a talent acquisition department from the ground up. This is an opportunity to have a large impact on a company, its culture, and ultimate success — I couldn’t pass that up!

3. How will your role help our company grow? 

We are doubling our headcount this year alone. Each and every role for which we are hiring is crucial to the immediate and long-term success of the company. 

4. What has been your favorite part of the role so far? 

Working with the hiring managers and learning more and more about their individual personalities has been my favorite part of my role. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share our story and vision with prospective candidates and see their faces light up. It shows me that we have something really special to offer customers, job seekers, and our staff. 

5. What would you say to potential job seekers considering applying to Sprockets?

I would suggest taking some time to research our product, target market, and current employees via LinkedIn. Consider whether or not working within a startup environment is right for you. 

6. Do you have anything else you’d like to share? 

I’m thrilled to be on this journey with the Sprockets team and would be happy to talk to anyone interested in joining us!

Become Our Next Sprockstar

We’re hiring! Join us on our mission to create an equitable hiring process for all. Our organization is completely remote, but our team is stronger than ever. Why? We’re so confident in our solution that we even use it to hire our own employees. Plus, we organize quarterly company events at our home base in Charleston, South Carolina.

Sprockets Job Opportunities
Chicago city and bridge

Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show

Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 National Restaurant Association Show 1016 528 Sprockets

We’re less than a month away from the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® in the Windy City….are you ready for it? Our Sprockstars sure are. From networking events to keynote speakers to celebrated demos, we’ll walk you through everything you can expect at the biggest show in the Western Hemisphere. 

Don’t forget to eat some of Chiago’s famous deep dish pizza and visit us at Booth #652. We’ll happily answer your questions. But why wait? Get started now by booking a brief, 15-minute demo of the easiest hiring solution that’s trusted by some of the world’s biggest foodservice brands.

 

 

Why You Should Attend the National Restaurant Association Show

This is the first National Restaurant Association Show since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked our nation. Anticipation for the Show is high as both the 2020 and 2021 shows were canceled. This year, the event will welcome attendees May 21 through 24 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Over 1,300 exhibitors and 900 product categories including food, beverage, technology, and tableware, will be featured during the four-day show. 

Plus, it’s not just restaurant owners that attend, but lodging, c-store, and retail businesses as well. Notable brands making a comeback to the National Restaurant Association Show 2022 include Chipotle, Domino’s, Starbucks, TriMark, Sodexo, Holiday Inn & Suites, IHG, Aramark, 7-Eleven, and Kwik Trip.

With representation from all 50 states and 110 countries, there’s no other place to interact with the entire foodservice industry ecosystem.”

– National Restaurant Association Show

The hype around the Show isn’t exclusive to attendees — exhibitors are equally excited: “It has the potential to be one of our best shows and generate the most leads and revenue,” says Tyler Chambers, Senior SDR Coordinator at Sprockets.

What You Can Expect at the National Restaurant Association Show

Food & Beverage Demos

Watch and learn from seasoned chefs as they whip up mouth-watering dishes right before your eyes! They’ll teach you the latest trends in food and beverage, skillful techniques, and how to tackle industry obstacles. Featured experts include internationally-renowned entrepreneur, chef, author, and TV personality, Maria Loi, as well as Cassie Sakai and Tiffany Derry. You can view the full list of speakers here.

Book Signings

Bookworms and chefs can unite after the culinary demos. Readers will have the opportunity to meet celebrity chefs like award-winning author Edward Lee and bestselling author Deborah VanTrece, and have their books signed! Attendees are welcome to bring books from home or purchase prior to or during the signing at the bookstore in the Grand Concourse.

Keynote Speakers

Hear from Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, and Starr Marcello, deputy dean of MBA programs at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, as they explore current industry challenges and unpack the complex question: What do these disruptions mean to our industry, and how can we prepare for and embrace them?” Sub-topics include crypto currency, web 3.0, social and cultural shifts, and the future of the foodservice industry. 

Workshops

As the hospitality industry continues to navigate current challenges, experts will provide insight on complex topics so you can apply their knowledge to your own business. Participants can choose (or mix and match!) between three workshops: Ghost Kitchens & Virtual Brands: Risks, Opportunities and Execution, Navigating the Foodservice Technology Landscape, and ServSuccess Restaurant Leader Workshops. 

Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards 

The Show has not one, not two, but three years worth of KI awards to hand out in 2022. This will be the largest showroom in over 100 years. Discover the best equipment for your business that focuses on automation and sustainability while generating industry growth. 

Industry Night Out

Last, but not least, as part of their Project Beverage plan, attendees are invited to Industry Night Out. Party on Offshore — the largest rooftop in the nation — enjoy some of the best views of Chicago, watch mixology demos, and mingle with foodservice industry professionals. You never know, some of the best business deals happen while sipping on cocktails and appetizers.

Stop Stressing About Hiring and Start Focusing on Daily Operations

Enough is enough; it’s time to end your hiring nightmare. Say goodbye to pointless interviews and no-call-no-shows when you hire with Sprockets. Our solution empowers owners and operators to predict applicant success without resumes or even interviews! The platform reveals who will mesh well with your team and stay long-term. It’s proven to work and trusted by top brands like Domino’s, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell to increase employee retention by 43%, on average.

 

A hotel receptionist and text reading "This Simple Strategy Helps Hotels Compete With Airbnb"

This Simple Strategy Helps Hotels Compete With Airbnb

This Simple Strategy Helps Hotels Compete With Airbnb 1016 528 Sprockets

Airbnb has drastically changed the landscape of the lodging industry since 2008. It now boasts over five million listings (more rooms for rent than any hotel chain), with hosts attracting over 500 million guests annually. The rental company shows no sign of slowing down, worrying hotel owners and managers around the globe. However, there’s nothing wrong with some competition. It can be a catalyst for positive change, and we’ll gladly guide you through it. Discover how hotels can compete with Airbnb by following the strategies outlined below.

Of course, any successful business needs a foundation of fantastic employees. The first thing you should do to compete with Airbnb is to hire more applicants like your current top performers. It’s easy with Sprockets, a hiring platform that top brands trust to build a strong, cohesive staff that stays long-term. It’s proven to boost employee retention by 43%!

How Can Hotels Compete With Airbnb?

Understand Airbnb’s Impact on the Hotel Industry

Aside from the sheer number of lodging options available to potential guests now, Airbnb has had a profound impact on the hotel industry and travel trends. It has made unique experiences just a few clicks away. People can stay in anything from a treehouse in Alabama to an igloo in Alaska with stunning views of the Northern Lights. This trend is compounded by the fact that younger generations, including Millennials and Gen-Zers, value memorable experiences more than ever before. Ultimately, Airbnb has become their preferred choice when it comes to travel.

Hotels vs. Airbnb: Play to Your Strengths

While travelers choose Airbnb for its unique properties at reasonable prices, hotels have their own advantages. For instance, many business travelers still prefer to stay at hotels, especially those with their desired amenities and a convenient location near restaurants and convention centers. Hotel guests also enjoy daily housekeeping, complimentary breakfast, room service, workout facilities, and more. They may even get access to spa services, depending on your hotel. 

Set Yourself Apart With Top-Tier Service

According to a report by Deloitte, “Hoteliers need to turbocharge the guest experience and tune into their needs to drive loyalty and increase repeat business.” Take advantage of the fact that you can offer guests amenities and services that Airbnb properties lack. Do this by promoting them on your website, OTAs, and especially your Airbnb listing if you choose to advertise on their platform. Just make sure you deliver on the value you promise guests. A positive guest experience often makes the difference between a repeat booking and a negative review that could damage your reputation.

Maximize Your Chance of Success With Sprockets

Hotels have that “human element” that sets them apart from Airbnb rentals, but you need a staff full of five-star employees to deliver a five-star experience. It’s easier than you think. Simply hire more applicants like your current top performers using Sprockets’ hiring platform. It predicts success with pinpoint precision, enabling you to make the best hiring decisions and provide incredible guest experiences that will turn visitors into repeat customers — and inspire them to leave glowing reviews online!

Get a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring the best hotel staff so you can compete with Airbnb.

A hotel worker and a list of personality traits
A hotel receptionist and text reading "Hotel Industry Trends in 2022: What You Need to Know"

Hotel Industry Trends in 2022: What You Need to Know

Hotel Industry Trends in 2022: What You Need to Know 1016 528 Sprockets

Staying ahead of trends is the key to success in a competitive industry like hospitality. It could mean the difference between guests choosing your hotel over a competitor, and on a larger scale, it determines the level of success you can achieve. Make your business the best it can be — and help it stay that way by keeping a keen eye on these hotel industry trends.

One of the top hospitality trends of 2022 is not a positive one, but it can be turned around. We’re talking about the rapidly increasing struggle to attract applicants. Luckily, there’s a free guide that can help: 4 Steps to Reduce Your Reliance on Applicant Flow. You’ll discover how to overcome the labor shortage with ease!

Top 3 Hotel Industry Trends

The Rise of Technology

Unless you own a romantic bed and breakfast in the mountains where the sole purpose is for guests to leave the world behind, then you need to stay ahead of hotel technology trends. And it’s much more than simply offering free Wi-Fi. You need to go above and beyond with technology that creates a top-notch guest experience and sets you apart from competitors. Consider putting Amazon Alexas in every room, offering keyless entry via an app, and adding virtual tours to your website so potential guests can look before they book.

All of your technology doesn’t have to focus on the guest experience, though. Recent innovations can make your life easier, as well, like AI-powered revenue management systems and convenient employee scheduling tools. There’s even a hiring platform that predicts applicant success, empowering you to find the right fit for your hotel and boost employee retention by an average of 43%!

A Greater Focus on Sustainability

87% of travelers want to travel sustainably, and 68% of clients actively seek eco-friendly hotels. So, it’s no longer optional to implement eco-friendly initiatives at your hotel. You must consider sustainable practices if you want to attract the most guests and maximize occupancy. 

There’s a wide variety of green practices you can try, from putting environmentally friendly amenities in bathrooms to installing solar panels on your roof. It can even be as simple as choosing cleaning products that don’t contain any harmful chemicals.

The Growing Popularity of “Bleisure” Trips

Millennials tend to value experiences more than tangible possessions, which might contribute to the recent increase in “bleisure” trips. Essentially, people are extending business trips so that they can stay for a bit longer and enjoy destinations without the stress of work. These “mini-vacations” often involve them bringing friends or family members along. 

Take advantage of this trend by promoting how your hotel can be the best of both worlds. You can advertise conference rooms, workspaces, desks, and your convenient location to business-travel hotspots. Then, you can tie it all together by mentioning how it’s the perfect place to relax with luxurious accommodations and tourist attractions nearby.

Is Your Retention Trending Downward?

One trend that we hate to see is a decrease in hotel employee retention. While some hoteliers simply accept it as part of doing business in the hospitality industry, others solve the problem with Sprockets. Our staffing solution is proven to reduce costly turnover by helping you make the best hiring decisions every time. It reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your best workers, improving employee retention by an average of 43%!

Get your free, 15-minute demo to quickly stabilize staffing levels at your hotel.

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Hotel staff tends to hotel garden

How Hoteliers and Guests Can Reap the Benefits of Hotel Sustainability

How Hoteliers and Guests Can Reap the Benefits of Hotel Sustainability 1016 528 Sprockets

Suppose a guest asked you how your hotel is positively contributing to the environment and  what green practices your brand currently follows. What would you say? It’s important to not only be prepared to answer these types of questions, but to have sustainable practices in place as 73% of U.S. travelers believe sustainable travel is now “vital.” Take a look at these sustainable ideas so you can reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint and attract more travelers. 

Of course, hotel sustainability starts with employees who truly care about bettering the environment. Find more passionate, driven individuals that will succeed and stay long-term with this hiring solution that’s proven to increase staff retention by 43%, on average. 

 

 

What Is Hotel Sustainability? 

“Going green” is much more than a marketing strategy or trendy buzzword. Sustainable hotels are eco-friendly lodging businesses that truly make an effort to reduce their energy, water usage, and waste to benefit the environment.

Why Is Hotel Sustainability Important? 

Since the pandemic, sustainable hotels are more important than ever to travelers. When stopping to rest at a hotel, resort, or motel, 48% of travelers are frustrated when they discover the business fails to follow green practices such as recycling or composting. Additionally, 67% of guests would actually spend more money if it would “reduce the environmental impact of their stay.” Your guests have spoken — it’s time to implement eco-friendly concepts at your hotel.

Sustainable Hotel Ideas and Solutions

1. Encourage Staff and Guests to Recycle

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many hotels aren’t already recycling. 14 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Reduce the amount of waste that gets thrown into landfills (that inevitably ends up in the ocean) by recycling as much as possible. Encourage guests to do so by placing small recycling bins in common areas, outside the building, and small ones inside every guest room.

2. Try Composting 

Does your hotel or resort offer a complimentary breakfast or meal? If so, composting will be a piece of cake. Hang a “Compost” sign near the trash and recycling bins. Guests can add banana peels, fruit cores, egg shells, and any other compost-friendly materials. Composting improves plant growth, reduces water runoff, locks in minerals and nutrients, and helps control soil erosion. You can even mix your compost into the soil of your hotel garden or around the landscape perimeter. 

3. Buy Food Locally and Start a Hotel Garden

When people travel, they want an authentic experience. What better way to show the taste of your location than by sourcing all your food and beverages from local farms and grocery stores? For example, say your hotel is located in Door County, Wisconsin. You could showcase the town’s famous cherries, cheese, and wine. Or, if you really want to get your hands dirty, consider planting a garden at your hotel, providing your guests with fresh fruits and vegetables. This sustainable practice reduces greenhouse gas and fossil fuel emissions because food trucks aren’t traveling thousands of miles to your hotel. You’ll save money on shipping costs and the food will be fresher (and healthier) for your guests.

4. Implement Biodegradable Straws

Even small changes like this can have a big impact. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Marriott International eliminated plastic straws from their locations worldwide, removing about 1 billion plastic straws from the oceans and landfills. IHG CEO, Keith Barr, stated, “There is always more we can do to minimize waste, but the work we’re doing to reduce single-use plastic is a powerful example of how we can come together with guests, owners and colleagues to drive positive change.” 

5. Place Occupancy-Based Sensors in Every Hotel Room

These sensors are an energy conservation technology that can easily be placed in hotel rooms. They’re able to detect when a room is unoccupied and shut off the power. It’s a plus for eco-friendly guests because they can relax without having to worry about wasting energy (or turning lights on and off). Occupancy-based sensors also benefit hoteliers because they dramatically reduce hotel energy cost per room. 

6. Switch to LED Lighting 

Energy-efficient LED lights are a growing technology in the hotel industry. Why? They save up to 20 to 25% of energy compared to traditional, iridescent lighting. LED lights even last longer, saving you time and money you would normally spend on high electric costs.

7. Add More Houseplants to Your Common Areas

Not only are live plants aesthetically pleasing and relaxing, but the right ones can purify your air through photosynthesis. The process converts the carbon dioxide we breathe out into oxygen. Plus, houseplants clean your air, removing harmful toxins. Especially during a pandemic, adding live plants to your lobby, guest rooms, and other areas of your hotel will positively impact the environment and enhance your guests’ experience.

8. Go Paperless With an Automated Hiring Process

Say goodbye to piles of paperwork when you transform your hiring process with Sprockets! Our Applicant Matching System empowers hoteliers to predict applicant success before the interview and without a resume. How is this possible? The process is simple — your current top performers answer three brief questions and receive a Fit Score out of ten. Their scores will then be used as a benchmark to predict the success of incoming applicants who take the same survey. It’s proven to work and trusted by top brands like Taco Bell to increase employee retention by 43%, on average. In fact, we’re so confident in the accuracy of our solution that we hire and retain our own team members with Sprockets.

Hotel guest holding a smart phone

The Essential Guide to Hotel Technology

The Essential Guide to Hotel Technology 1016 528 Sprockets

Nearly 4 million hospitality jobs were lost in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Hospitality and Lodging Association. As the hospitality industry recovers from recent hardships, it’s time to take a closer look at your hotel technology. We know finding the right solution for your hotel can be a challenge. It might not even be on your current list of to-do’s. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of lodging tech essentials to ensure a positive, exceptional experience for your guests and a profitable, stress-free environment for you. We’ll even tell you about a hiring solution that is proven to boost staff retention by 43%.

 

 

Benefits of Technology in the Hotel Industry

Hotel technology optimizes daily operations to ensure your business runs smoothly. Before we dive into which tools are right for you, here are some of the many benefits of implementing hotel technology. 

  • Save Time and Money 
  • Predict Hotel Industry Trends
  • Improve Sustainability Practices
  • Create a More Enjoyable Guest Experience
  • Boost Hotel Staff Retention 
  • Increase Hotel Revenue

Current Technology Solutions in the Hospitality Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

According to Hotel Technology News, artificial intelligence in the hotel industry is “imperative in order to stay in business.” In the last four years, AI has grown by 270%. However, when it comes to AI hospitality, there are some common misconceptions. 

AI is not meant to replace employees. Rather, it allows hotel staff to spend more time on everyday tasks. Although there are a plethora of examples of artificial intelligence in the hotel industry, we narrowed it down to three useful ones:   

  • Revenue Management System: Supercharge your revenue with this AI pricing decision tool. “The speed and complexity of the pricing decisions are unmatched by the most seasoned revenue manager.” Hotels large and small have seen dramatic results, with top brands reporting an increase in annual revenue by millions of dollars and smaller ones reporting a 15% “sales lift.”

 

  • Smart Hotels: Smartphones, smart homes, smart… hotels? Yup, that’s right. These tech-savvy hotels are mostly automated through the Internet of Things (IoT) for the benefit of guests and owners. From Amazon Echo devices in guests’ hotel rooms to apps that allow guests to check in and control the entirety of their stay, smart hotels could be the future of the lodging industry. 

 

  • Sprockets: Imagine what you could do if you could clone your best hotel employee. The possibilities are endless with Sprockets, a hiring platform that predicts which applicants will succeed like your current top performers. Our solution empowers hoteliers to build strong, cohesive staff that will go above and beyond for their guests and stay long-term. Forget sifting through piles of paperwork and wasting time with bad interviews — Sprockets is proven to reduce time spent on the hiring process by 37%, on average.

 

Sustainable Solutions

Reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint, improve energy efficiency, and attract more travelers with green tools like occupancy-based sensors — climate activists, Millennials, and Gen-Z guests will thank you. In fact, a recent study found that Gen-Zers will lead travel spending in 2022, so it’s important to take their ideals into account. Plus, 67% of all guests would spend a little more to help “reduce the environmental impact of their stay.” 

 

  • Occupancy-Based Sensors: These sensors are placed in hotel rooms and are triggered by motion. They’re able to detect when a room is unoccupied and shut off the power to save energy. In other words, occupancy-based sensors dramatically reduce hotel energy cost per room.

 

  • LED Lighting: Did you know that energy-efficient LED lights save up to 20-25% of energy compared to traditional lighting? Oh, and they even last longer, saving you time (no more replacing light bulbs every month!) and money you would spend on electric costs. No wonder LED lights are a growing technology in the hotel industry.

Why Your Hiring Process Is Broken and How to Fix It

Relax just like your guests and let us tidy up your hiring challenges. If you’ve made it this far but are still stressing over hiring challenges, check out our free guide: Why Your Hiring Process is Broken and How to Fix It. Learn how to attract, hire, and retain the right workers for your hotel by leveraging the mental makeup of your best staff members.

Hiring Guide Mockup