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    What to Look for in Your Ideal C-store Employee

    We’ve spoken with a lot of our goEBT merchants via surveys and focus groups in an attempt to learn as much about the convenience and small grocery industry, and their unique businesses in particular.  We know that for the store owners and operators of these small stores, life is filled with the challenges and pressure of making sure that their business is profitable and protected from potential damage. Part of these challenges is ensuring that they have the right people handling day-to-day operations and serving their customers.  In an industry that is fast-paced and very demanding, finding (and keeping) good employees can be a struggle.

    So what should you look for in the ideal convenience store employee?

    1. High energy - Convenience stores are busy a lot of the time and the customers are coming in and out quickly. Cashiers and managers must have the energy to keep up with your business’ daily flow of traffic, even during peak times.  Low energy employees can create a negative experience for consumers and become a burden to gaining loyal customers.  Hire people who are ready to work in a fast-paced environment and maintain their
    2. Positive attitude – An employee with high energy and an employee with a great attitude usually go hand and hand. Studies have shown that pleasant employees lead to higher rates of customer satisfaction and thus, more revenue 1.  The average consumer associates the perceived quality of a business, product, or service with the overall experience they have.  One rude or dismissive cashier could make the difference between whether or not a customer comes back to your store.
    3. Honesty – C-store owners, like almost all retail business owners, commonly deal with the issue of theft. In 2015, the Global Retail Teft Barometer showed that dishonest employees are responsible for about 43% of inventory loss in the United States2.  Rather than have to spend a lot of time inside your store, watching over employees and customers, help prevent theft by doing thorough background checks and checking references. Look for cashiers and clerks that are less likely to steal, and more likely to help you protect your profits.
    4. Focus – In any retail store, there is always a lot going on and a lot of room for mistakes to be made. Seek employees who understand that their job is important and that they should take their duties seriously.  This can be difficult when searching for hourly staff, but getting to know someone’s personal views on success and the work that they do is a great way to find out how likely they are to come to work every day willing to work hard.  The last thing you need, as a business owner, is employees who are distracted while your store and customers are in their hands.
    5. Resilience – The average convenience or small grocery store sees a lot of traffic throughout the day and with that traffic, comes a lot of ups and downs. Your store’s employees should be prepared to handle whatever may come, and not let the happenings of the day affect their work ethic.  The ideal c-store employee should be a person who can bounce back from the highs and lows that a single shift may throw at them.
    6. Versatility – In the convenience store industry, you should look for employees that are willing to do whatever they have to to make sure that the store is running smoothly and consumer needs are met. On any given day, there will be various register operation, cleaning, stocking, and other customer service activities that need to be carried out.  While having the proper number of employees on staff throughout the day is important, you should seek out workers who are willing to handle a number of tasks.

    We all know that there’s no such thing as perfect.  However, it is important to find employees who aim to be as close to that as possible and want to be better every day.  Your store’s employees should be just as concerned about the success of your business as you are and enjoy helping it grow.  Be careful in your hiring process and consider every pro and con of bringing a new employee on board, as they will become a true representative of your store.  With the right people working in your store, you can enjoy less time doing everything on your own, and more time doing what you need to as a business owner to enhance your business.