Bring Industry Expertise and Enthusiasm to your Stage!

John Matthews, President & CEO at Gray Cat Enterprises

Watch a Speaking Clip of John

"John delivered a presentation on Embracing the New World for a recent event we hosted and left the audience motivated to change the way they operate their retail gasoline stations. His experience with retail management, merchandising and developing QSR offers, provided great value to our audience. I would highly recommend his services for working professionals who what to unlock their potential within this space."

Joseph C. Aliperta, Vice President of Fuel Sales & Marketing at Parent Petroleum

"John Matthews experience as a manager and leader at several convenience store and foodservice companies enables him to provide unique insight into the challenges retailers are facing today. In an era of heightened competition, John is able to provide clear, concise solutions for chains of all sizes by drawing on his experiences in the retail trenches. As a result, he has garnered the respect of his peers and those in the retail community. After attending his presentation, store operators were lined up 10 deep to get additional information. That's the best testimonial for any retail management consultant."  

John Lofstock, Editor, Convenience Store Decisions Magazine 

"You have spoken to our group three times over the years and you get better each time. Your current business is giving you an interesting global view of the things happening in the retail marketplace.  The information you shared this time about kiosks is a great example of bringing together your retail and marketing expertise & for some great insights related to a new consumer trend. I look forward to the next time we work together because I can always count on you to prepare thoroughly and present professionally."  

John Henley, Former Senior VP/Director of Training, The Center of Sales Strategy 

Looking for a Speaker?  Tap the Expertise of Gray Cat.

Gray Cat Enterprises has announced several presentations that are available for future meetings and conventions.  Each presentation is packed with real-life experiences that help attending constitutes not only understand the concept but give them ways to implement these strategies in their respective marketplaces.

I am available as a keynote speaker, moderator, or presenter at upcoming corporate or association events. Each presentation is approximately one-hour in length, and I personally deliver each one. The presentations share business insights and strategies that attendees can apply.

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Presentation Overviews

Store of the Future:  One of the most important, yet biggest challenges facing a retailer is creating a new store vision for your chain, while simultaneously running your day-to-day business.  There are only so many resources to go around and carving out the strategic time to not only manage the process, but also actually create a new store vision is daunting. 

Strategic Business Planning – A strategic business plan should represent the guiding path for their enterprise, mixing in a historical perspective and its relationship to its future expectations.

Merchandising: Merchandising is a critical aspect of how "shoppable" a store will be. Conceal or confuse the customer with your merchandising and it won't matter if you carry the top brands, the customer will become frustrated and leave the store.  By guiding the customer through your store with their favorite products that are easily accessible, the retailer has an excellent opportunity to turn merchandise inventory more quickly and thus increase profits. 

Time Management & Life Balance:  What is the quickest way to reduce stress and achieve greater balance in your life? Develop better time management skills. Managing the many tasks that one must tackle through the day or week is an art, but when it is executed properly, the productivity of your life enables you to smell the flowers along the way.

Embracing the New World: COVID impacted the convenience store industry.  Explore the new customer playing field and how it will impact store operations, design, management, and safety procedures, etc.

Leadership:  The Art of Becoming a Leader:  Developing leadership skills is critical in keeping your team motivated.  A leader is someone who guides, influences, and inspires a group of people toward a common goal or vision. This presentation highlights key elements involving making decisions, fostering collaboration, and motivating others to achieve shared objectives.

There’s A New Store in Town – Over the years, the convenience store industry has continued to evolve. This presentation highlights key operational, store design, merchandising and technological advances that are starting to infiltrate this industry and how we can address them.

Are you in the Game? – Improved food service offerings are helping c-stores steal business from quick service restaurants. Discover four pillars for growing your food service business: Marketing, Merchandising, Operations and Store Design. 

Operational Excellence – Between operations, merchandising, marketing and facility upkeep, retail business owners have their hands full. Managing the details of retail is the difference between making it or not. 

How to Develop a Winning Foodservice Strategy – Revenues from gasoline and tobacco products continue to fall. But foodservice is increasingly becoming convenience stores’ most profitable category. Learn how to differentiate your stores – both operationally and marketing – from the rest of the crowd and best position them to compete with limited-service restaurants.

Developing a Corporate Communications Strategy – Amazingly, many companies do not think about communications – both internally and externally – until it is a necessity. Developing the process for delivering your communications on an ongoing basis is critical to maintain a consistent message as well as a continuous forum from which to communicate.

Local Store Marketing for Retail – Local Store Marketing (LSM) is a must for every retailer large or small who wants to fully capitalize on the sales potential of their all-important 3-mile trade radius. Gray Cat’s Local Store Marketing presentation introduces 22 proven LSM strategies along with the 80-page, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers tells you how to tap into the power of local store marketing to help your store achieve sustained and successful sales growth this year–and beyond.

Multi-Unit Operations - Every retail operator starts with that first, single store.  They hone their operational skills; develop a “how-to-go-to-market” strategy; and hopefully find success for years to come.  This presentation explores the pros and cons of becoming a multi-unit operator.

How to Stage a Killer Grand Opening (or Anniversary)! –Creating an exciting grand opening requires work upfront, but in the long run will make your store start off on the right foot in your community.  It is critical to make a great first impression to both the community as well as your individual customers — and jump-start sales.  This presentation gives you a step-by-step helping hand to staging a killer grand opening.

Branded vs. Proprietary Foodservice – The debate has gone on for many years–should you implement an existing branded foodservice program or are you better off developing your own unique proprietary brand?  The presentation explores the options of both a branded food offering and a proprietary one. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are a vital resource to managing your business.  This presentation explains how a disciplined KPI management process shifts the organization – through an annual, quarterly, rolling forecast model process – to a forward thinking, action organization rather than backward reviewing financial company.

Sales Forecasting – The goal of sales forecasting to provide a ratable prediction – by customer and by salesperson – of the sales to be delivered in the upcoming forecasting cycle.  While there seems to always be a rush to technology to solve all our problems, sometimes you just must have the basics in place first, in order to capture the benefits of such tools.

Capital Expenditures Management – When it comes to the long-term success of a business, one of the key drivers is prudent capital re-investment. Prudent operators identify the best income-generating projects, bring them forward with detail, compare them with other projects and prioritize them to identify the projects with the greatest merit.

Diagnostic Store Assessment – Conducting a diagnostic store assessment is an excellent way to gain opportunistic perspectives for your location. Walking through and evaluating your store – from the eyes of the customer – can provide both strategic and tactical ideas for improvement.

Creating a Master Store Database – Getting your arms around your facilities in an organized fashion is critical for the multi-unit operator. Maintaining a central repository of every store allows for key decisions to be made with all components of the store considered.

Request for Proposal (RFP) Management – Selecting the correct vendors – in addition to managing these vendors during the selection process and beyond – can often be the difference between making your store profitable or simply providing real estate for the vendors to sell their goods. This presentation offers the best practices on how to manage the RFP process and will set the tone for all your go-forward vendors.

Developing a Policy & Procedures Handbook – Creating and maintaining a policy and procedure handbook helps both the employer and employee know the “playing field” at the company. The presentation outlines the key elements to include.

Labor Management – Labor management is perhaps one of the most fundamental aspects of running a profitable business. The key in managing labor is finding the “sweet spot” where customer service is met with the appropriate amount of labor dollars spent. Building a labor schedule is no easy task and managing it requires constant oversight.

Conducting a P&L Analysis – Simply put, P&L stands for Profit & Loss. Developing a “Four-Wall P&L Analysis” is a helpful tool to better understanding both revenue projections as well as variable and fixed expenses. Managing to your store P&L will create greater overall profits than simply reading the results at month-end.

Vendor Partnerships – Often, vendors are considered as an afterthought, or worse, as an adversary. Establishing an open communication conduit with your vendor partners enables the operator to exponentially impact their business. Vendors, in turn, will benefit from the precision displayed by the operator.

Optimizing LinkedIn – LinkedIn enables you to create a two-way communication with your network contacts and potential customers. This presentation tells the audience how to go about approaching a LinkedIn strategy as well as tangible ways of implementing the plan.