Established in 2011, Nashville-based Tri Star Energy developed the brand Twice Daily, which has grown to 55 stores throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia. Tri Star Energy also operates an additional 35 branded fuel stations. Twice Daily focuses on hot food, hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and bakery. “Those are the five key areas and we target 35 percent of sales with food and beverage,” Hostetter says. “Prior to the inception of Twice Daily we had the standard cooler items, hot dogs and fountain drinks, but we took all that and reinvigorated it in a good way.”
Over the past two quarters, consumers have ranked Twice Daily one of the top-five convenience and fuel brands in the GasBuddy app. “We focus on providing a better overall experience on purpose,” Hostetter says. “I think those who use only low price are uncreative. Creative companies give a better experience other than just price. Starbucks and Panera are not the lowest price, but they give great service and a great experience, so they are appealing.”
Twice Daily ensures its convenience stores are comfortable and safe. Team members are dedicated to greeting people between 6 am and noon to help guests locate items. “We go beyond the normal transaction,” Hostetter notes.
As competition continues to increase in the communities Twice Daily serves, the company knew it needed to be proactive and the offer needed to get even better. “Good competition makes you better and it’s going to come, you can’t stop it,” he says. “We began looking at generational and food and beverage trends to enhance our offering.”
The White Bison brand was created to transform Twice Daily into a total food and beverage offering to meet all the customer’s needs. “There was and continues to be a growing demand for quick, convenient coffee occasions. We wanted to be able to offer the guests already on our sites, a premium coffee drink without them having to go across the street to another coffee shop to get it. We source our coffee direct from growers around the world, which results in a unique coffee experience,” Hostetter explains. “Behind the model of normal convenience, there’s an awesome café inside.”
A beverage is the No. 1 reason for most convenience store visits and coffee rules the morning. Twice Daily believes that if it owns the coffee business, it will own the day business, and its vision was for White Bison to help do that. White Bison lives in Twice Daily convenience stores, but Tri Star Energy has launched a couple of standalone White Bison locations to increase brand awareness.
“The name White Bison came from research we did during a lengthy brand development process,” Hostetter says. “You will find that one in 10 million bison is white. They are very rare and unique, and bison are revered as something special – people hold them up for different reasons – but they are all positive. We liked the fact that the white bison is rare and unique. White represents truth and honesty and the bison represents strength and fortitude. We felt that these attributes aligned with our beliefs as a company and that the White Bison brand was very different – unique – from anything else in the industry.”
Strengthening the Brand
The company plans to build 40 Twice Daily units over the next five years that encompass about 4,800 square feet and include White Bison with a drive-thru. The locations will also feature outdoor courtyards where customers can sit and eat, as well as eight to 10 pumps for fueling automobiles.
“Our goal over the next five years is the further development of White Bison,” Hostetter says. “The strength of the brand will determine where we go with it.”
As major players focus on consolidating the industry by buying smaller companies, Twice Daily convenience stores with White Bison will focus on new growth and delivering a product that is more appealing to the consumer, Hostetter says. Because of this, the company will continue to direct its energy into exceptional customer service and high-quality food and beverage offerings.
Many years into the future, Hostetter says he wouldn’t be surprised if the company built Twice Daily White Bison locations that had no fuel. “The advent of electric cars and other alternative fuel will force all convenience operators to develop stronger revenue out of the inside of the store. If we develop the brand properly, there’s no reason we can’t compete with the fast-casual chains with catering and to-go food options,” he says. “We will continue to deliver a preferred food and fuel experience every day. That’s what drive us; to be truly differentiated is a challenge, but by doing so we are creating more success and giving back to the community in a bigger way.”