Inspiration from Ireland's Travel Plazas

Editor's note: Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operations improvements. Contact Schulte at or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

I always love the opportunity to learn from our fellow operators abroad. A few years back, NATSO members had the chance to visit Irish travel centers during a European Study Tour. Recently, Tim Dumler, who is building a travel center in Castle Rock, Colorado, visited some travel plaza locations in Ireland for inspiration on his new build.

Dumler shared some pictures with us so we could all learn from the Emerald Isle. Take a look. 

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One of the key takeaways I have noted about Irish operators is the focus on coffee being sold in multiple formats. We saw operators that sold coffee in the traditional manner in one area of their travel center, bean to cup coffee machines placed in another area, kiosk style coffee machines from Costa still in another and barista in another. If you could imagine it, it was like having a coffee program in each corner of the travel center each serving a different type of customer need.

Additionally, during our tour we saw tremendous amount of energy focused on fresh food within multiple different food formats and offerings. Smart Eating or "Eat Smart," as Applegreen calls it, is interwoven throughout the food offerings you see on the interstate locations in Ireland. 

I think several of these international ideas could benefit operators in the U.S.

// Did you know most weeks can find Darren Schulte, NATSO's Vice President of Membership, visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using his merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? Learn about NATSO’s Profitable Retail Review program here.


Photos Credit: Tim Dumler, Colorado 25 Travel Plaza 

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