Miller Resigns From Duke Convenience Group

Planning new foodservice ventures

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

SANFORD, Fla. -- Larry Miller, vice president and general manager of Duke Manufacturing's Duke Convenience Group, has stepped down. To succeed Miller, Duke Manufacturing has named Roman Stone as vice president of sales for worldwide chains, the company said. Previously, Stone was with 7-Eleven, Hot Stuff, Kentucky Fried Chicken and PepsiCo.

"I felt the timing was right for two reasons," Miller told CSP Daily News. "One, it was the right time forDuke toemploy a senior level executive dedicated to the c-store channel and foodservice, andRoman [image-nocss] is a great fit; and two,I am at the point in my personal life where I wanted time to develop one more startup companybetween now and when I retire.I love the thrill of starting something fromideas or a need, and working with a dedicated team ofpeople to make it into a profitable business that provides jobs, and services or products, that someone needs.There'snothing else in business that can match the challenges and excitment ofbuilding 'the plan' and executing it."

What began almost 10 years ago as a joint business venture named Retail Management & Designfounded by Miller, Luis Saiz Jr. and Mike Lordenbecame known in 2001 as Duke Convenience Group, a division of St. Louis-based Duke Manufacturing, one of the country's largest foodservice equipment companies.

Miller has operated Duke Convenience Group under a consulting agreement between Duke Manufacturing and Sanford, Fla.-based Miller Management & Consulting Services Inc. (MMCS). He said he has cancelled his agreement within the terms of the deal to pursue a new business opportunity with two other Industry veterans in the foodservice arena that have been associates and friends for years.

I have learned a lot about foodservice issues in our Industry over the last 35 years, and I see several areas where our knowledge, our experience and our ability to look and see fast and convenient foodservice from a different view, can help the industry continue the growth in sales and profits experienced over the last few years. We in convenience retail have a long way to go as an industry to get the public's trust in our quality and safety. and I am looking forward to being part of the solution, he said.

Miller informed Duke of his decision to leave the company earlier this year, which has allowed Duke time for plans to be put into place for a smooth transition of the convenience business unit, he said.

My time working with Jack and 'Team Duke' has been a tremendous learning experience for me. Being able to learn the ins and outs of the foodservice equipment business has allowed me to grow my base of knowledge around foodservice, which I have been touting as an area for our Industry to be heading for most of my career, he said. Duke Manufacturing has always been known as a leader in the foodservice industry at large, and now they are committed to the c-store channel and are bringing expertise and technology that will help c-stores continue to grow foodservice sales and profits.

A career veteran of the c-store and foodservice industries, Miller began his career at The Southland Corp. (7-Eleven), where for 17 years he worked his way up through the ranks from store manager to marketing special projects director for the Mid-South Division. During his 35-year career, he has also held senior corporate positions as marketing director with Cracker Barrel Stores in Baton Rouge, La.; vice president of operations of Pick-Kwik Food Stores in Tampa, Fla.; executive vice president of operations of Munford Inc. in Munford, Tenn.; and vice president of marketing for TOC Retail Inc. (Majik Market) in Casselberry, Fla.

In 1994, Miller founded MMCS, which specializes in the convenience retailing and foodservice industries, providing clients with a variety of servicesnew-store planning and merchandising, quick-service restaurant cobranding, proprietary foodservice program development, as well as marketing planning and implementation. MMCS clients have included McDonald's Corp., Plaid Pantries Inc., CDI Group Inc., United States Tobacco Co., Crown Central Petroleum, CNLRS Real Estate Investment Trust and Duke Manufacturing.

Serving as a member of the board of directors for Plaid Pantries Inc. since 1998, Miller is also minority shareholder in Plaid LLC.

Duke Manufacturing is a provider of delivery systems that cook, hold and merchandise hot or cold food. Duke Convenience Group works with branded food manufacturers to develop partnership programs that provide convenient snacks and meals for all dayparts.