For 2022: Closser urges operators to consider hybrid foodservice

Dec. 8, 2021

Steve Closser and his team at Translucent LLC have emerged as the clear leader in micro market consulting. While his company advises on all aspects of convenience services, Translucent spends much of its time, often using multiple teams, helping to install, set up, relocate, upgrade and transition both foodservice and micro market locations.

If you ever have a chance to talk shop with Closser, you will find that he has plenty of ideas on how “best practice” should be defined. In a recent conversation, guru offered a bit of advice for operators, some food for thought as 2022 approaches.

Closser said that he and his team spent every day in September modifying foodservice operations, converting cafeterias into more of a hybrid café/micro market model. Closser notes that this is a strong trend and one that operators need to recognize and capitalize on.

Step right in

“I am advising operators that they shouldn’t just dip their toes into foodservice – they should step right in. The age demographics have changed. The baby boomers are retiring fast and the employees who are left are the same ones who eat at 7-Eleven, Wawa and QuickTrip,” said Closser.

“That generational change has now caught up to foodservice. It was already coming anyway, but now, the people born in the ‘80s, and '90s are in charge. We can see that they eat differently. They are about convenience, and they eat on their own schedules, and they will eat in the office if we can bring them quality and convenience,” he added.

Try a locker system

If you are not ready to set up a grill with an employee attendant, Closser urges operators to explore locker systems that require payment as customer’s order, where the operator either delivers menu items, or just oversee delivery to lockers, which sit next to a micro market. Example: Avanti’s SimpliGet locker system.

“This is a better alternative for an office that is trying to sort out 20 different food delivery bags from Uber Eats at the front desk every day,” Closser advises.

A coffee bar with a barista

Closser said he has seen huge success, – sometimes overwhelming – with a barista setup. This is an attended coffee bar positioned next to a micro market.

“It is all about convenience. Saving time. The employees have their favorites, they can order ahead on an app, from the car – they walk in the front door, they get their coffee, and it is already paid in full,” Closser said.

“They get a scone and a cup of coffee from you,” he added, “and they just now spent $7 or $8. If 100 customers a day do that, it is quite profitable. As the operator, you provide one employee for a four shift.”

Fixturelite: a good partner for the journey

“When an operator is setting up a micro market hybrid or any micro market, for that matter, anything that requires an emphasis on creativity, design and quality, I point them to Fixturelite,” Closser recommended.

“The flexibility with their equipment – the ability to add and take off, it’s incredibly important. That is what you get when you use Fixturelite,” he said.

“You may install a fixture; it may not work, and you have to make a change. You don't want to go and change the entire store, but when you need to change a piece and move it somewhere else, that's just one area where Fixturelite is better than everyone else in the business,” he noted.

“Fixturelite offers quality reusable solutions at fair prices,” Closser said. “That other stuff on the market, you cannot move. When it's there, you might as well leave it, because if you go to take it down it doesn't go back together very well. I know that because I have worked with them all.”

How Translucent can help

“What Translucent can do for clients is simple,” said Closser. “We can help them evolve into hybrid markets, help them step into foodservice – help them in every possible way to better serve clients and help ultimately, them to grow – in size and profitability. That’s what we do.”

“We work with Translucent and trust them with our most important projects on a regular basis and they offer incredible insights when it comes to best practices and emerging trends,” said Steve Orlando, cofounder of Fixturelite, the industry’s leading supplier of micro market retail displays, equipment and design tools.

“Together, we form a dream team with 365 Retail Markets and Minus Forty Technologies,” Orlando added. “It’s a team that is well equipped to support operators at the highest level, for whatever is next in this space.”

Find out how Fixturelite can help your company evolve in 2022:

About the Author

Industry consultant and contributor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business. Visit to learn more about VMW's contributing editor and his b2b services.

About the Author

Bob Tullio

Since selling his business in January of 2017, Bob Tullio has been an active industry consultant at focused on content creation, strategic planning, sales training and business development. In addition to serving a growing client base, he has written over 50 columns and features, providing operators and others with an inside look at how he helped build a successful business from the ground up.

Phone: 818 261-1758

Email: [email protected]


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