program at most of our stores. We do mac & cheese
and shepherd’s pie; each store makes its own. We let
the store manager or the people preparing the food
decide on how to make it. If they have their own
family recipe then they make that,” said Kerrigan.
Kerrigan feels the autonomy given to managers
is an important part of Jake’s success. “I have good
people working for me. If someone has a good idea, I
let them try it. As a result, we have a better product.”
Using the best
a big difference to
ity — not cost — is
the prime focus.
“Our food cost is
upward of 40%.
closer to 30%. We
buy $5 a pound turkey,
$5.50 a pound roast beef
and $4.25 a pound ham.
Most QSRs are in the
$2.50 to $3.50 a pound
range.” While quality is
important, so is quantity.
Each sub sandwich has
six and a half ounces of
meat; extra toppings are
free, so customers have a
The attention to culinary detail has paid off
for the stores. Jake’s has
been awarded Best Sandwich Shop, Best Con-
Muriel and Francis Maville started making
donuts in 1967 and have become a Lebanon,
New Hampshire, tradition. “I used to get
these on my way to school 30 years ago,”
said Bruce Bergeron, Jake’s general manager.
“It’s a small operation. They’re only open
a few hours a day.” Muriel limits her donut
supply to just a few stores in town. So when
Bergeron had the opportunity to bring the
sweet treats into the store he took it.
venience Store, Best Car Wash, Best Coffee Shop
and has received the Rotary Ethics Award from the
towns they service. These local accolades mean a
lot because they come from the community.
For years Jake’s coffee program consisted primarily
of Green Mountain Coffee. When Kerrigan opened
up his own coffee shop — Jake’s Coffee Company —
in 2007 he wanted a proprietary coffee. Once again, a
desire to be different from the competition influenced his decision.
“I found a coffee importer and roaster in Man-
chester [New Hampshire]. …They roast the beans.
We order on Monday, they deliver on Tuesday. We
grind each batch to order to make a fresh pot of
coffee,” said Kerrigan. “It’s more work — it has to
be ground at the right setting and consistency is
Today Jake’s has transitioned all its c-stores to the
proprietary coffee program. Customer reaction has
been good and educating them on the change con-
tributed to the java’s success. “One customer came
in and complained about the change. We gave him a
free cup. He tried it and liked it,” shared Kerrigan.
It takes passion to handle the ups and downs of
the convenience store business and Kerrigan has
that in spades. “I love seeing the same people in
and out of the store every day. These are not big box
stores. They’re homey and pleasant places to do
business. Customers feel it and keep coming back,”
Al Hebert is the Gas Station Gourmet and
showcases America’s culinary treasure — gas
station cuisine. TV host Hebert shares these
stories and on occasion, a recipe or two at
GasStationGourmet.com. He is a regular
NACS Magazine contributor, bringing foodservice ideas to readers.
Jake’s Beer Cave has
developed a reputation
for being the place
to go for craft beer.
Customers can create
their own six-pack with
any 12-ounce beer. The
“Pick Six Pak” was
started seven years
ago, long before the
tactic became popular
across the industry.
Many of the stores
have more than 200
beers for customers
to select. The Lebanon
store stocks about 400
types of beer.