Foodservice

Ben Lucky, Formerly of Cal’s Convenience and Dash In, Joins King Retail Solutions

Convenience-store foodservice veteran will ‘get to work in a much wider creative landscape … and still get to have a strong c-store influence,’ he tells CSP
Ben Lucky
Photograph by CSP Staff

Convenience-store foodservice veteran Ben Lucky is now strategic director of retail and foodservice at King Retail Solutions, Eugene, Oregon.

Lucky, who will work remotely in Orlando, Florida, most recently was vice president of foodservice at Frisco, Texas-based Cal’s Convenience from October 2023 to June 2024.

Cal’s, Lucky told CSP, “went through a somewhat painful, for the staff, merger experience, given lots of uncertainty as to our futures. I had just relocated, leaving a great and food-forward company at Dash In to be the vice president of foodservice there in Dallas.”

While Cal’s Convenience was No. 39 in CSP’s annual Top 202 ranking of convenience stores, in February 2024, 7-Eleven Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire stores from Sunoco LP, Dallas, including the Stripes stores of Cal’s Convenience. This will remove Cal's from CSP’s 2025 Top 202 ranking.

Lucky said, “After a slow and self-paced job search while the Cal’s/Sunoco deal was going through both the closing of the deal and the transition phases of the merger to 7-Eleven, I discovered a great opportunity with King Retail Solutions out of Eugene, Oregon. I will, however, be officing remotely in Orlando.”

In his new role, Lucky will “get to work in a much wider creative landscape than I have in the past, and still get to have a strong c-store influence in both the whole of retail and the focus of foodservice delivery.”

Lucky, who also has worked at Salt Lake City, Utah-based Maverik, El Dorado, Arkansas-based Murphy Oil and others, will collaborate with clients to remodel or design stores, their layouts, fixtures, millwork, kitchens, décor packages and equipment packages, “which we then custom build and install,” he said. “In the case of kitchen equipment, we deliver entire FOH [front of house] and BOH [back of house] packages for both retail merchandising and food operations and merchandising.

“To add more excitement, as part of what I do and where applicable to the benefit of our clients, I will offer comprehensive foodservice consulting services, expertise and insights surrounding menu development and concept development for positive store and guest experiences, as well as operations systems or processes and procedures that help to both simplify and cut labor expenses.”

Lucky also will work with grocers, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and a wide variety of retailers and consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies needing displays.

“What excites me the most is that as our channel has come to recognize that a strong foodservice program is fundamental, and to make that investment work wholistically, a complimentary investment in ‘look and feel’ is essential,” Lucky said. “I get to continue my passion for creativity, participating in the strategies, innovations and solutions companies are looking for to improve and grow no matter where they may be.”

Prior to Cal’s, Lucky was senior category manager for foodservice and dispensed beverages at La Plata, Maryland-based The Wills Group and its Dash In convenience stores. He was there from November 2019 to October 2023 and created the Stackadilla (rhymes with “quesadilla”), which launched in fall 2021 as a breakfast item. It performed well immediately and spurred four more versions for lunch and dinner. For the launch of a new, third-generation store in March in Chantilly, Virginia, Dash In developed an additional three for the made-to-order, prepared-on-the-griddle Stackadilla line: Chicken Bacon Ranch, Roasted Veggies and Steak Fajita.

According to its website, King Retail Solutions “develops retail brand strategy and environmental design to custom build and install services.” It also provides a la carte services for clients. “But what we really specialize in is owning the entire process, trouble-shooting issues as they arise, and seeing designs through to rollout,” the website says. “At KRS, you dictate how you need it and we find a way to get it done beautifully, efficiently, and within budget.”

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