NASHVILLE -- When Nashville-based Tri Star Energy opened its most recent Twice Daily convenience store in Franklin, Tenn., earlier this year, it not only hit the 50-store milestone, but it also marked the fourth store integrated with the company’s new White Bison Coffee. A complete coffee-shop concept with a modernized layout and decor and a full beverage menu, White Bison is an integral part of Tri Star’s future. So far, it has opened one standalone White Bison store beyond the four integrated into Twice Daily locations.
Going forward, all new stores will feature a White Bison Coffee and, whenever possible, a White Bison drive-thru. (Three of the four integrated sites have a drive-thru.)
CSP spoke with Dawn Boulanger, vice president of marketing for Tri Star Energy, about the guest experience in the integrated White Bison Coffee and Twice Daily sites, and how White Bison fits into the company’s growth strategy.
Q: Let’s start with the White Bison Coffee concept. How did it come to be, and what’s the guest experience like?
A: White Bison Coffee is a new business model for our company, developed as a growth strategy. We wanted to continue to expand our food and beverage offer but in a way that was differentiated from our competition. Data and research pointed to opportunities in beverage—specifically coffee, with consumption at an all-time high.
We were very deliberate in the coffee we wanted to offer, partnering with an expert in the business who goes to origin, buys direct from growers, roasts the beans and delivers to our stores. We employ baristas who are very knowledgeable and passionate about coffee, and we offer single-origin coffees and handcrafted coffee blends. The beverage menu includes brewed coffee, single-origin pourovers, frappes, lattes, cold brew, nitro, hot teas, fresh-brewed iced tea, smoothies and Italian craft sodas. Our food menu features a variety of breakfast and lunch items as well as an assortment of fresh pastries. The products at White Bison are different than the products sold at Twice Daily.
Q: From a consumer point of view, is Tri Star looking at White Bison as a brand unto itself that happens to be located in a Twice Daily, or are the two brands intertwined?
A: We view them as two separate brands but have been transparent about White Bison being owned by Tri Star Energy. Each brand has its own dedicated team of employees; they do not share job responsibilities other than being sure the overall store is clean and well-maintained.
The only dispensed beverages offered in the new integrated sites are fountain drinks. When a guest comes in looking for coffee, our host directs them to White Bison. While some drinks take a bit longer to prepare, a guest who orders a brewed coffee has their coffee in hand by the time they’ve completed their payment transaction.
"White Bison has a community table and seating for guests who want to relax."
Q: Let’s talk about the changes to the c-store side. What are some highlights of the interior and exterior design?
A: The integrated site features a new floor plan and design with the checkout in the middle of the store, White Bison on one side and Twice Daily on the other. Rather than have one long counter, we’re now using checkout pods, which allow for a bit more intimacy with the guest.
We wanted the entire space to feel that it belonged together, so we made some changes to the look and feel of Twice Daily. We designed new graphics and signage, changed some decor, put our foodservice on endcaps and utilized merchandising space a bit differently.
The stores feature exterior signage for Twice Daily and White Bison. The furniture and fixtures are aligned with each brand, so while they complement each other, they look very different.
When possible, we have a White Bison drive-thru, and all new integrated stores will have an outside dining area. We offer free Wi-Fi, and White Bison has a community table and seating for guests who want to relax with a coffee or stop in for a bite to eat and check emails.
Q: Foodservice appears to be a strong focus. Can you talk through the offering?
A: Twice Daily offers bakery items, a fresh deli with locally sourced sandwiches, salads and snack boxes, hot breakfast and lunch sandwiches, a traditional roller grill, fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits. At White Bison, we offer fresh pastries, breakfast sandwiches (warmed and served upon request), sandwiches, wraps, salads, snack boxes and healthy grab-and-go snacks.
Q: What are Tri Star’s intentions with these strategic changes? How does the new store and coffee concept reflect where the company hopes to go in the future?
A: White Bison is a growth vehicle for our company. We are seeking to capture some of the growth in coffee consumption. In addition, we want to make a premium coffee experience more convenient for our existing guests and to capture a new audience—appealing to consumers’ growing demand for quick, convenient coffee and meal occasions.
Store: Tri Star Energy’s Twice Daily and White Bison Coffee
Location: 1101 Long Hollow Pike, Gallatin, Tenn., 37066
Size: 4,800 square feet
Fuel: 10 MPDs, 20 fuel spots
Design firm: White Bison: Rottmann Collier Architects Inc.; Twice Daily: Cassetty Architecture PC; White Bison brand development & Twice Daily graphics: Timber Design Co.
- Separate coffee-shop concept with barista-made beverages
- Seating, including a community table, and (in some locations) a drive-thru
- Furniture and fixtures that are aligned with each brand
- Checkout “pods” in lieu of a counter