Ricker Takes the Subway

Indiana c-store chain expands foodservice offer with new franchise program

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Ricker Oil will begin expanding the foodservice offering in its convenience stores this fall with the addition of a Subway franchise in several sites. "We're going to be a Subway franchisee shortly, and we think [it will be] very complementary" to our current Hot Stuff Pizza offer, Jay Ricker, president and owner of the 49-store chain, told CSP Daily News.

Ricker said he believes providing additional foodservice choices will make shopping in his stores easier and faster.

"If you've got a line at the made-to-order sandwiches, regardless of [image-nocss] what the brand is, and you have another food option that's available that's grab-and-go, [such as pizza], with today's time-starved customers, they can grab the other one and be out the door," he said.

Ricker, a brand well-known for its Ricker's Pop private-label soda, said he chose Subway to take advantage of that company's expertise in foodservice.

"They have brand presence, obviously, way more than even our brand does in our local area," he said. "Everybody knows who Subway is. It's tried and proven. It's a fairly simple program to execute, and they've got the fundamentals down. So in out particular case, we thought that was the best way to go."

The introduction will begin with just a couple of Ricker storesRicker employees were training on the Subway system just this past weekand depending on the rate of success expand from there.

"We'll start in our Ricker's stores," he said, "but we're actually going to roll out a couple of them in our ampm stores too."

Similarly, Ricker has extended his proprietary soda line into the 19 ampm franchise stores he operates.

"We have instituted a copy-cat Ricker's Pop program in the ampm stores," he said. "It's branded ampm and it's in a different cup, but it's priced the same as we do Ricker Pop and we have the same number of flavors. So while it's got a different name on it, it's virtually the same program."

The addition and expansion of these programs are part of what Ricker calls the evolution of foodservice in the c-store industry.

"For years we've talked about how very, very important foodservice is to the longevity of our channel of trade, and that's an area that I think we're going to continue to see trends on," he said. "Foodservice is changing as we go."

Founded in 1979, Ricker Oil is a family-owned company based in Anderson, Ind. It owns and operates 49 convenience stores in Indiana, as well as a petroleum dealership and other enterprises.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
View More Articles By Steve Holtz