SAN ANTONIO — Technology and foodservice reigned supreme at McLane Co.’s 2019 National Trade Show, which took place Aug. 21-22 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Food and tech innovations included the company’s new back-office management solution, a tablet built for convenience-store operators, new private-label pizza varieties and cannabidiol (CBD)-infused items.
Click through to see what else caught CSP’s attention at the annual show …
Temple, Texas-based McLane has launched a variety of technology solutions in the past decade, such as handheld ordering systems, online shopping carts, customer-managed inventory, delivery trackers, customer loyalty programs and back-office solutions. This year, the company has introduced 800 VTS Tablet Ordering devices and plans to roll out another 2,200 by the end of 2019, said Deon Johnson, vice president of customer solutions and web development for McLane, during his presentation.
“We’ve gone from a warehouse company that does tech to a tech company that does warehouse capabilities,” he said.
Johnson also shared information for McLane’s first-ever technology conference, which will cover point-of-sale (POS )system integration, customer loyalty programs, delivery, e-commerce, inventory management, handheld tablets, smart ordering and more. The event will take place Feb. 10-11, 2020.
Hungry for foodservice
Foodservice innovation took center stage at the event, seen in new roller grill items, sandwiches, coffee and other products. McLane showcased its Fly Guys pizza, the leading item in its private-label portfolio, in its classic cheese flavor. McLane will debut a new Buffalo chicken flavor at the upcoming NACS show this year, said Teresa Voelter, general manager of consumer value products for McLane.
The company is also organizing new foodservice programs for smaller retail chains. This includes providing them with new foodservice equipment and food items, such as ovens and sandwiches, respectively, said Jennifer Hutto, senior category development analyst for McLane.
“The big players already have dedicated plans in place for their foodservice programs,” she said. “For now, we’re bringing easy-to-execute programs to smaller chains.”
Keynote speaker Terrell Davis encouraged attendees to endure hard times and to enjoy what they do every day. The former NFL running back and football Hall of Famer said doing these things will instill confidence, a key to being successful.
“Take every opportunity, because you never know where it’s going to lead you,” he said.
He also emphasized logical decision-making and acting off insights and intuition rather than emotions during difficult situations.
“The best advice I ever received was to make my decisions based off my commitments, not my feelings,” he said.
Restrict the kids
San Francisco-based vape manufacturer Juul Labs revealed its new Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) at the show. Under the new program, every retail POS system immediately locks when a Juul product is scanned and remains locked until a retailer electronically scans a valid, of-age government-issued I.D. to verify both the age and the I.D. validity. RACS also imposes automatic limits on the amount of product a legal-age customer can purchase. Scanned personal data will be eliminated immediately following the transaction.
Through this technology, RACS directly combats two large drivers of underage access to vapor products at retail: failure to check and verify I.D., and legal-age individuals buying bulk quantities of age-restricted products to resell to minors, the company said.
Five cannabidiol (CBD) product manufacturers showcased their products at this year’s McLane show—five more than at any other show in the company’s history.
The companies included The Social CBD, a producer of gelcaps, pet treats, vape pens and topicals; Myaderm, a producer of therapy cream; Floyd’s of Leadville, which makes gummies, drink mixes, creams and tinctures; Boulder Botanical & Bioscience Labs, a producer of edibles, tinctures, capsules and topicals; and Curaleaf, which makes CBD-infused hand cream, eye cream, face cream and massage oils.