Zarco USA takes its convenience stores to the next level with technological advancements and a topnotch foodservice program.
By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor.
Zarco USA Earth Friendly Fuels doesn’t consider itself just a typical convenience store chain. In today’s hypercompetitive retail environment, it has to be much more.
“We’re not in the c-store business anymore, we’re an oasis to the customer,” said Zarco USA President and CEO, Scott Zaremba. That mindset helps the eight store Lawrence, Kan.-based chain to keep growing with the times to offer customers the freshest food and the latest technology.
In the last year alone, the company has rolled out digital sign displays, added all new registers, piloted a drive-through concept, introduced touchscreen ordering kiosks and it is set to release a mobile app and introduce its first standalone Sandbar Subs location.
Growing and Growing
Zarco USA is family owned and operated, and has been for 40 years. “The atmosphere we have in our stores, even through we’re in Kansas, is based on a tropical theme, so we have palm trees out front and waterfall-like features,” Zaremba said. “When customers walk into the store our employees are wearing flowered Hawaiian shirts, which is our uniform. Customer service and interaction is priority one for us, and always will be.”
The company has been enhancing its connection with customers through its Sandbar Subs and Scooter’s coffee house programs.
Sandbar Subs is division of Zarco USA, which is featured at three of its c-store locations. It features a made-to-order menu that boasts an array of fresh sandwich options. All food is prepared on site fresh. “We don’t use a commissary for anything,” Zaremba said.
The chain also offers a Scooter’s coffeehouse franchise at three locations.
On Aug. 1, Zaremba plans to opening his first standalone Sandbar Subs in Lawrence, Kan. “We had the opportunity to go into a location that is very visible and gives us more face time with customers,” Zaremba said. “One issue we still find today is customer perception of food in a gas station. But once they try our food they love it. We’re not trying to just match up to the competition, we’re trying to exceed the customer’s expectations with our products.”
Zarco takes food very seriously. Company chefs bake all breads onsite and company foodservice employees slice all the meats and cheeses. “This is our first experience with a standalone, so we’ll move forward carefully and see how it ties together with our Zarco USA locations. That will determine how we want to proceed with the brand,” Zaremba said.