John MacDougall’s wife, Elaine, was partly the inspiration for the chain’s decision to hire executive chefs. As an avid viewer of cable food channels, she admired the entrepreneurialism and creativity of the chefs on TV. That kind of outside-the-box thinking is what inspires many of MacDougall’s initiatives, leading to the chain hiring not one, but three. (One has since moved on.) As part of their jobs, the chefs go into the stores and help train staff on the preparation of meals that will be set out for customers to grab and go.
For its other foodservice offers, the company works with a foodservice distributor to provide restaurant-quality items without the chain having its own commissary.
MacDougall also takes inspiration from Wegmans, the Rochester, N.Y.-based supermarket that has a much-celebrated foodservice offer. Chain officials do feel the c-store has a value proposition different from Wegman’s, calling the grocer an “Easter egg hunt” vs. Nice N Easy, which is a more convenient experience.