Straight Flush

Bosselman's dominance in annual mystery shop includes cleanest restrooms

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CSP Mystery Shop

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- For the Pump & Pantry chain, getting a head start in this year's expanded CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop survey also meant taking the top score for cleanest restrooms, a coveted prize for an industry hoping to improve customer perception when it comes to store cleanliness.

The 50-store Pump & Pantry chain took the No. 1 spot overall in an expanded version of the eighth annual survey, beating out six other chains of less than 150 stores. Owned by Bosselman Holdings, Grand Island, Neb., Pump & Pantry excelled in all five major categories outlined in the study--interior and exterior cleanliness, customer service, employee appearance and merchandising.

But while Bosselman's did take the No. 1 spot at 97.9% for the question, "Was the public restroom clean?" But both Bosselman and the Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker's scored 100% for the question, "Was the public restroom properly stocked with supplies?"

Bosselman is clearly on a mission when it comes to bathrooms, preparing to launch a major initiative to remodel every restroom in its chain. All stores will soon have accessible, updated restrooms that don't require keys to get in or have outside entrances.

For Bosselman, the investment is simply another extension of its family philosophy, one that is communicated at the hiring process and continues through ongoing discussions with seasoned supervisors.

"I tell my managers, it's their store," Charlie Bosselman, company president, told CSP Daily News. "You're the one running it; it reflects on you."

What helps this reinforcement process is the very hometown demographic these stores serve.

"We know a lot of people … our family knows a lot of people," he said. "So it doesn't take long after someone drops the ball for me to hear about it. Customers call me directly."

In prior years, the survey focused on chains with more than 150 stores, with those results this year finding La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. No. 1 overall, beating out seven other chains for the top spot in that grouping.

For more details on that half of the study, see the August issue of CSPmagazine.

During an eight-week period this past spring, shoppers filled out questionnaires pertaining to the major survey categories, with some carrying more weight than others. They visited the stores 80 to more than 100 times during the course of the study, which means that for some chains, the same store may have been shopped more than once.

A review of the results will appear in the September issue of CSPmagazine.

Overall, Pump & Pantry outdistanced the pack with a 96.5% score. York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores (57 stores) came in second with a 92.4% overall score, followed by Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Canastota, N.Y. (86 stores), with an 88.6% rating. The average score was 89%.

The other chains shopped in alphabetical order in this category were Folk Oil and its PS Food Marts, Homer, Mich. (31 stores); NOCO Energy Corp., Tonawanda, N.Y. (105 stores); Parker's, Savannah, Ga. (30 stores); and Ricker's (110 stores).

"Our readers continually express the importance of operational excellence and customer service as differentiators," said Mitch Morrison, vice president and group editor for CSP Business Media, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Expanding the survey to smaller chains was a way to gain better insight into a retail channel that continually strives to surprise and delight its customers."

CSP Business Media serves the news and educational needs of the convenience retail and foodservice channels with print and online publications, as well as through year-round roundtable meetings and larger annual conferences. Its readership include top executives from major convenience store chains and restaurants to single-site, mom-and-pop operators.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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