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  • How to Easily Fix Chipped Paint or Markings

    Fix Chipped Paint and Scuff Marks - No Mess, No Clean Up!

    Have you ever had a paint job ruined but it wasn't quite bad enough to justify breaking out the paint cans, brushes, tape, and tarps to fix it... or the hassle to clean them once your done? Not to mention thoughts of how its just going to get ruined again once you do.

    Painted surfaces are affected every day by weather, vandalism, site accidents, and aging over time. Things like canopy poles, island curbs, dispenser panels, skirts, and protective bollards near your pumps and store front can all show signs of damaged paint and scuff marks.

    These chips and marks may seem small but they do not go unnoticed by your customers. The good news is they also notice once they're fixed.

    Here is a quick, no mess solution for touching up those painted surfaces and helping your customers feel good about their visit. Happy customers now are repeat customers later.

    What You Will Need:

    Surface Preparation:

    Clean and remove all debris, flaking paint, dust and dirt from surface before applying paint.

    Application

    1- Before removing applicator cap, gently shake applicator to stir paint.

    2- Always pretest color match of this product on a small, inconspicuous area before use.

    3- Remove the cap and press the sponge applicator against the surface to be painted and squeeze bottle to start the flow of paint.

    4- Apply paint evenly, using a dabbing motion.

    5- For best results, apply multiple, thin coats, allowing sufficient dry time between coats.

    After Use

    6- Rinse applicator tip, and use a disposable towel to soak up water remaining in sponge. Secure cap for storage.

    TOUCH UP™ Product Information & FAQ

  • How To Safely Remove Graffiti

    Vandalism isn’t something anyone plans to have happen, but when it does, it’s a pain to deal with, especially if there are city or county Graffiti Nuisance Ordinances requiring removal within a specific time period. Taking prompt, proactive steps to report and remove graffiti is the best way to prevent it from occurring again.

    Many methods use harsh chemicals to remove the residue but these techniques are harmful to the original surface and the environment. The following remedy is simple and will teach how to remove graffiti from wood, brick, paint without damaging any surfaces, and in an eco-friendly way!

    Warnings: Contents of VIVX® are flammable, contents under pressure. Use only as directed.

    Steps:

    Preparation

    • Put on safety glasses and gloves before beginning the application
    • Use cloth towels to wipe with
    • Have water hose or water spray bottle available to rinse
    • Pretest VIVX on a small, inconspicuous area before applying to entire stain

     

    To Apply

    1- Shake VIVX® canister well prior to spraying surface.

    2- Spray VIVX® directly onto graffiti from 8 inches away and let it sit for 5 seconds before   wiping.

    3- Begin rubbing off the graffiti:

    a) For smooth surfaces please use only a cloth hand towel

    b) For rough surface remove with nylon scrub brush and immediate rinse with water after each application.

    Repeat cleaning process as necessary until stain is completely removed.

    VIVX Cleaning Instructions | Video

     

     

     

     

  • Earn Higher Profits Now!

    Earn Higher Profits Now!

    Imagine a customer driving into a c-store and they immediately notice that the store looks different. They’ve been here many times before but something just seems brighter, fresher, more organized. Then it dawns on them…the c-store they passively visit from time to time now seems more attractive and inviting. Yes, it’s been their destination to buy gas for years, but because the forecourt looked disorganized, dirty and upkept, they never wanted to visit the interior of the store. Until now…

    Remarkably, this scenario plays out daily. How often do you listen to feedback from mystery shoppers and regular customers to learn practical solutions for a better customer experience? At CAF we know “Clean Stores. Sell More!” Customers can equate the cleanliness of your forecourt and bathrooms with the cleanliness of your entire business, which elevates their customer experience.

    Take for example Oasis Stop ‘N Go…

    “Cleanliness is critical to our overall business, and our customers have a very high expectation of maintaining clean stores....” ~ Troy Willie, CEO

    When asked what the first thing that Wawa CEO, Chris Gheysens, looked for to show whether a store is operating well in a recent article he said, “The first thing I look for is cleanliness.  It starts on the drive in.  So cleanliness.”

    This is especially true in today's culture; word of mouth and online reviews can make a big difference in the success of your business. Customers don’t want to buy or order food from a store that looks like it could have food safety issues. Do you know what your customers are saying online about their experiences at your store?  A negative Yelp or Google review, tweet or blog post can deter customers from shopping at your store.

    The most recent research shows that store cleanliness strongly affects buyer behavior and that it's one of the most important factors driving a better customer experience:

    • A Market Force study of 7,600 convenience store customers, shoppers rated store cleanliness as the most important factor when deciding which convenience store deserved their business.
    • Mintel, a Chicago-based research firm, found that in convenience stores that serve food, 96 percent of surveyed customers ranked cleanliness and menu selection as their most important criteria.
    • In the same Mintel study, 57 percent of those surveyed said that if a restroom's appearance was lacking, they would likely not return to the establishment.

    Consumers have strong reactions to dirty conditions and won't return to businesses that disappoint them. If increasing the performance of your stores — and revenue — is your goal, maintaining a clean store will get you there.

    If maintaining a clean store was easy, everyone would be doing it.  CAF’s key to a successful cleaning program includes proper training, managing employee engagement, as well as a plan to monitor and manage results. Learn more about creating loyal customers for your c-store by contacting your regional CAF representative today at sales@mycaf.com or call (888) 737-0025.

    Explore industry best practices online at www.mycaf.com/fasttrack.

  • Oil Stains On Asphalt...It's a Problem - Admit It

    Remove Oil Stains and Restore Damaged Asphalt

    Oil-stained asphalt is right at your front door and customers must frequently walk through it to enter your store. It’s a greasy eye sore and has been there so long that the asphalt is crumbling and breaking up, causing holes, and slip or trip hazards. Sun, water, frost, fuels, and oils, start the deterioration and oxidation process from the first day that the asphalt is laid, and everyday thereafter. Contaminants that come in contact with the asphalt binders, soften it, breaking it down until it eventually crumbles apart.

    Up until now, one fix has been to cover the entire lot of asphalt with an expensive and controversial coal tar sealant, which is banned in states like Washington and Minnesota. Another fix is to spend between $500 and $1,200 per spot, or hole, to have a contractor come and cut out the damaged asphalt and replace it. Both options are expensive, time consuming, and shut down portions of your site for a day or more.

    Recommendation:
    CAF recommends an eco-friendly alternative that is proven to CLEAN, HARDEN and PROTECT oil stained asphalt. It is fast, effective, easy to apply, and much less costly than previous methods.

    FORO® Asphalt Cleaner and Hardener is an all-natural asphalt cleaner, hardener and protector that combines bioremediation, absorption, and active ingredients to prevent asphalt damage and improve the appearance and useful life of parking lots and driveways. Regular use of FORO provides protection from oil and fuel drips that can soften asphalt within hours, all without the use of dangerous chemicals.

    FORO on the right, after 3 applications (1 month)

     

    How Does FORO® Work?  

    1. It Cleans
      • FORO absorbs and suspends fuels and oils on the surface of the pavement
      • Surfactants in FORO emulsify and disperse oil
      • Bacteria consume the oils, cleaning the asphalt
      • FORO color and cover immediately improves appearance of oil stained areas
      • Clean stores sell more!
    1. It Hardens
      • Oxidizers in FORO reharden the top protective layer of pavement
      • Natural bacteria oxidize oils and help re-oxidize oil-damaged bitumen on the surface of the asphalt pavement
      • Oxidizing upper layer of asphalt keeps lower layers from losing structural integrity (deformation and raveling) and from losing VOCs (cracking and becoming brittle)
    1. It Protects
      • FORO restores the protective oxidized layer to keep hydrocarbons from penetrating beyond asphalt surface
      • Absorbents in FORO keep oils and fuels at the surface of the pavement to prevent deformation, cracking, water intrusion, and eventual exposure of the road bed, and allow improved bioremediation
      • Regular use of FORO establishes bacterial colonies that multiply when exposed to a food source – oil

    FORO Video | Cleaning Instructions

  • PPT WINS 2017 FPA SUSTAINABILITY AWARD!

    PPT wins the 2017 Silver Flexible Packaging Achievement Award for Sustainability!

    CAF’s “ORUS” Squeegee Bucket Solution concentrate in a 5.25 pound “Box Pouch” created transformational results for both the marketer and the environment.  Relative to alternative competitive approaches that produce and ship pre-mixed liquids in blow-molded gallon jugs, CAF’s concentrate in a unique pouch, mixed at point-of-use, offers stunning financial results and environmental benefits for sustainability.  This retail unit significantly reduces production, packaging, and shipping costs while dramatically reducing the carbon footprint impact during distribution and the residual waste to the landfill.

    Orus Squeegee Bucket Solution    |    Product Information

  • Making Safety Convenient & Effective

    Making Safety Convenient & Effective

    Take these three steps to develop and implement a safety program.

    Whether you are a new convenience store owner or a seasoned franchisee, one of your top concerns should be the safety of your employees and customers. That is why it is so important to develop a safety plan to protect your business and your most valuable asset — your employees.

    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for every $1 invested in a safety and health program, a business owner can save $4 to $6 in insurance premiums, lost productivity and other business costs. Beyond being a best practice, promoting a safe workplace allows employees to feel confident in their ability to conduct their jobs with a minimum amount of risk.

    The following is an easy three-step approach to develop and implement a safety program.

    STEP ONE: RISK ANALYSIS

    The first step in creating a safety plan is to assess and document any known or potential store hazards that could result in a workplace-related injury or illness.

    Knowing where and how possible accidents could occur enables you to take proactive measures to prevent them. Many business owners involve their frontline employees in the risk assessment since they have firsthand knowledge of the overt and hidden dangers in their workplaces.

    By far, the most common cause of employee injury in convenience stores is workplace violence. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that robbery-related assaults and homicides are the leading cause of death in retail businesses. Even more staggering, the CDC also reports that workers in convenience stores are seven times more likely to be the victims of a work-related homicide than people who work in other industries.

    According to OSHA, there are several factors that put late-night retail workers at risk. These include:

    • Access to cash;
    • Isolated, solitary work;
    • Selling alcohol;
    • Poorly lit workplaces; and
    • Lack of staff training in identifying and de-escalating violent behavior.

    Business owners should establish clear policies for employees in cases of workplace violence, threatening situations or unstable customer behavior. OSHA provides a comprehensive handbook for owners of late-night retail establishments, including detailed information on specific steps to develop an effective violence prevention program.

    Store design and procedural modifications can also reduce robberies and make employees safer. A recent study indicated businesses experienced a 30-percent to 84-percent decrease in robberies and a 61-percent decrease in non-fatal injuries when they increased cash controls and processes or updated their lighting and store design to improve visibility.

    Beyond workplace violence, other risks common to the convenience store industry are:

    Slips, Trips and Falls. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, across all industries, the most common workplace accidents are slips, trips and falls. In a busy convenience store, there are several areas on your property where liquids might pool and create a slick patch, including the areas around entryways, restrooms and self-serve soda fountains.

    Make sure employees regularly monitor these areas for spilled drinks and splashed water. Keep a mop and bucket in an easily accessible place, along with signs cautioning wet surfaces. Place non-skid mats at entries and exits, and encourage workers to keep them smooth and flat, with no buckles or folds where someone could trip.

    If your convenience store also has a gas pump, treat fuel spills with caution. If gas spills, immediately cover the area with cat litter or corn starch. Once it is absorbed, sweep up the remaining debris and dispose in an outdoor trash can. And although it should go without saying, never allow employees or customers to smoke near a fuel station.

    Cuts. Frequent freight deliveries mean staff are often opening boxes of inventory and stocking shelves several times each week. To reduce the risk of injury, workers should use sharp, clean box knives that have a protective, retractable handle. They can also wear cut-resistant gloves to reduce the potential for a laceration. Keep a first aid kit stocked with bandages, gauze, tape and antibiotic ointment nearby in case any employee needs to treat an injury.

    Back Injuries. Heavier freight (goods weighing more than 50 pounds) requires using proper lifting techniques. Items weighing more than 50 pounds should involve two people, or using a hand truck.

    Burns. Hot coffee pots and food warmers can expose workers to potential burns. Make sure employees are trained to use tongs and wear gloves anytime they are interacting with a heat source to reduce the risks of burns. Safety gloves should be replaced anytime they become worn or develop holes.

    If any accident results in a severe injury or illness, immediately seek the appropriate medical care.

    STEP TWO: PLAN DEVELOPMENT

    An effective safety program does not need to be extensive or time-consuming. It should, however, document each potential hazard identified in the risk analysis phase and provide clear, understandable steps to address each one. OSHA has several online resources to help business owners develop a safety plan. Your insurance carrier or agent can also help identify and manage workplace risk.

    At a minimum, a safety plan should be reviewed at least once a year to make sure all employees understand proper procedures. The plan should be updated whenever new procedures or equipment are introduced in the work environment.

    STEP THREE: TRAINING & REINFORCEMENT

    Once the plan is developed, business owners should regularly review their policies and expectations with each employee. On average, convenience stores experience 77 percent turnover annually, with the average leave occurring in the first 90 days. As business owners are likely onboarding new staff throughout the year, new employees should receive a copy of the safety plan on their first day, as well as comprehensive training on the right protocols.

    All employees can also benefit from regular refresher training. The easiest way to do this is to conduct the training outside of store hours so that everyone hears the same message at the same time. If your convenience store is open 24 hours a day, training sessions can be held in between shifts.

    During the training, consider conducting “dry run” mock accidents to allow employees to put the plan into practice. Doing so also gives managers and/or owners the opportunity to observe workers in action and course-correct any missed steps or procedures.

    Beyond the training, promote a culture of safety by emphasizing its role as a key business imperative. Safety rules should be prominently displayed in common areas, such as a breakroom, to reinforce expectations and demonstrate management’s commitment to fostering a safe work environment. Managers and owners should model ideal behaviors, and everyone should understand his or her role in keeping the workplace safe.

    Source: CSNews, By David Quezada

  • 9 Out of 10 Customers Now Use Online Reviews – How do you Rate?

    9 Out of 10 Customers Now Use Online Reviews – How do you Rate?

    We’ve all shopped at c-stores that made a bad first impression and have vowed not to return because of that experience. As store operators and managers we often overlook the very items that matter the MOST to the customer experience when it comes to evaluating your own store. That’s why it’s important to step back and look at your store from a customer’s point of view.

    Your site will likely only receive 1-10 official mystery shoppers this year, but did you know that every minute Yelp! users post 26,380 reviews?  Your location already has an online reputation through Yelp, Facebook and Google and it only takes between 1 and 3 bad reviews to deter up to 67% of shoppers from using your location. (Source: Vendasta 2017)

    Without realizing it, customers are evaluating every store they enter from the moment they drive up to your forecourt, use your bathroom, or walk into your store. Worse yet, dissatisfied customers will rarely direct their negative feedback to you, instead they mention it to their friends or post it to their social media accounts on Yelp and Facebook.

    So how do you keep these customers loyal and returning to your store? One place to start is seeing your c-store through the customer lens and evaluating it the way they do. Create a checklist (or use the one CAF has provided) and score each item from 1 (horrible) to 5 (excellent) for each of the below categories:

    According to C-store Yelp reviews the top 5 categories for generating a 5-star experience include:

    1. Friendly
    2. Fresh Food
    3. Clean
    4. Low Prices
    5. Drink Options

  • Cleaning Smarter, Not Harder!

    When Preparing Your C-Store For Warmer Weather, It's About Working Smarter, Not Harder.

    The status quo for convenience retailers has evolved over the years and having a dirty fuel station displaying dirty fuel stains, food and beverage spills and growing bacteria and mold is no longer acceptable to a new generation of customers. You can’t afford to overlook cleanliness any longer because your customers aren’t. Unfortunately, many retailers understand this and are focused on being clean but have found that doing so can be very costly and very difficult to achieve real results.

    We want to help! We have provided some ideas on how to save you time and money on the two most common challenges that you face in your forecourt cleaning efforts.

    What We Don’t Recommend

    Pressure Washing

    Pressure washing is the way that most retailers chose to clean their concrete pads, dispensers, and canopies but it comes with its fair share of disadvantages. Pressure washing can be costly, damaging, time consuming, and involve a lot of risk. Also, it forces you to shut down your fuel lanes being cleaned and that can be an extremely inconvenient and costly.

    Most retailers chose to pressure wash and that comes with a steep price and the results accomplish little more than a couple weeks of having clean forecourts. The average cost for a standard pressure wash is about $250. If you are in an area that requires reclamation to conform to strict environmental regulations, then the cost can exceed $1000 each time. Not to mention each time you pressure wash you are weakening the cement and damaging other areas leaving you with more costs to bear.

    Recommendation:

    The better option is to find a product solution that helps eliminate or significantly reduce the frequency of pressure washing and that minimizes your fuel lane’s down time and does not damage your forecourts.  Find a product that your store’s employees can apply in-house and that doesn’t take up valuable time and cost a fortune to do.

    What We Don’t Recommend

    Using “Off the Shelf” Cleaners

    Did you know that many of the commonly used household cleaning products such as Windex®, 409®, Bleach, and Simple Green® are not meant for industrial cleaning?  Did you also know that they can actually be damaging your equipment too? I am always amazed at the amount of people who still use these products to clean their fueling equipment. You probably wouldn’t use them to wash your car, so why clean your expensive fueling equipment with them?

    Cleaning with inferior products makes cleaning harder and takes more time. This causes those tasked with this responsibility to get discouraged and accept sub-standard results. Also, these cleaners are NOT recommended for cleaning dispensers, fuel nozzles and other surfaces. Many ready to use “off the shelf” cleaners contain alcohol or ammonia which can discolor, haze, dry-out, and even melt many exterior surfaces like plastic, vinyl, plexiglass, oxidized finish coats on metals and more. They could ultimately be doing more harm to your equipment than good.

    Recommendation:

    Look for products that are designed specifically for the industry cleaning challenges that you face and that have been tested safe for the equipment that you are using them on.  Having the right tools for the job can make all of the difference and doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to pay more.  Many retailers are often surprised to find out that by switching to cleaning products that are meant specifically for their fueling equipment, they actually save money both in direct costs and labor savings.

    Download your free cleaning checklist now!

  • Merry Christmas!

    caf-christmas-card2016_mycaf

    Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings

    As the year draws to a close and we take time with our families and loved ones, we would like to say thank you to all of our clients and partners with whom we have worked throughout the year.
    In 2016 we reached significant milestones for the company.

    • Marking our 13th year in business
    • Winning our 4th consecutive NACS Cool New Products
    • Adding dedicated, proactive staff
    • Reaching over 2000 additional c-stores and other verticals

    We will duly celebrate the occasion with you, but we are also excited to announce that 2017 will also see:

    • A new website that is more user friendly and mobile centric.
    • New products and training support
    • Additional company location (East Coast)
    • Expanded to new global locations

    We look forward to continuing the company’s working relations with you, and building a solid platform for growth for the next 20 years.

    To you and your families we wish a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

  • Last Best Customer Experience

    customer-experience-graphic-headerIn the past, customer experience expectations were set by a customer’s next best choice, namely the experience provided by a competitor not too far down the road.

    However, with the evolution of online reviews and the new emphasis food service, today’s customer expectations have skyrocketed. It’s a game changer. Your old competition is no longer the benchmark. Now, you compete with the best, recent retail experience anywhere and from any industry. How do you stack up against your recent retail experiences?

    New industry leaders like Amazon, Uber and others have conditioned your customers to expect more in return, and in some part, more than maybe you are willing to deliver. Take for instance some of the following principles from Marriott Hotels founder, J. Willard Marriott:

    • “It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”
    • “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”
    • “Great companies are built by people who never stop thinking about ways to improve the business.”

    These guiding principles continue to permeate Marriott’s company culture. They expect each employee to take a customer-centric focus (from housekeepers on up to management) who take pride in responding to customer social media complaints in real-time. Upholding company core values has seemed to pay off for this customer experience champion!

    Customers expect experiences that serves their needs first. Experiences that promote giving first before they take. They expect that you provide the necessities of meeting their goals and desires with the least amount of friction possible. Customers do not want to navigate through a labyrinth maze of loyalty programs, cheap fuel incentives or processes that serve operational excellence vs. customer excellence.

    We recommend looking outside your industry. Look for the highest end of the hospitality industry. In other words, look for your customers’ last best experience, not their best alternative. It’s your customers’ last best experience that will help inform you of what they expect from your company.

    At CAF, we have found that most c-store operators simply aren't aware of the solutions to meet customer expectations. That is why it is necessary to have a partner that can help provide you the tools needed to help navigate customer experience challenges concerning a cleaner store.

    Ask yourself how you can effectively increase customer experience and brand loyalty. Ask yourself how you can be your customers’ last best experience. Ask yourself how you can be the best in your industry.

    1. Is my customer service and engagement a high priority?

    2. Does my store promote exterior/interior cleanliness (these can include bathrooms, forecourts and food areas)?

    3. Am I taking advantage of using mystery shopping to receive feedback and provide brand value?

    4. Do I need a cleaning program aimed at reducing employee absences and health concerns?

    5. How do I become my customers’ last best experience?

    6. How do I make a positive difference in my industry with standards that are highly favored and sought after?

    In order for you to meet the demands of the customer experience and to improve your sales, you must find real solutions to these real challenges listed above.

    A CAF representative is available to help you increase your customer experience. Contact us today!

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