The Big Question: Rick Brindle

The Big Question: Rick Brindle

December 2022

Rick Brindle, vice president, industry development, Mondelēz International

How has the industry changed in recent years, and where do you see it going?

It has been an honor to serve and work side-by-side with the NACS retailer and supplier membership and staff over the past 10 years. I have been awed by the entrepreneurialism, collaboration and spirit of this very special community.

I think we are in the midst of a pretty substantial transformation in retail in general. How it applies to each sector will be a little different.

In 2020, COVID-19 really put convenience retailing to the test. There were so many factors against us all—especially our retailer community. Not much about convenience retailing coincided with social distancing. Further, quarantines aren’t great for gas sales. Still, both the retailer and supplier community dug in deep, leveraged our understanding of our customers and communities; actively collaborated with each other; adjusted strategies and tactics accordingly; and rallied our teams to record success. Most of us emerged stronger than we were going into the crisis—a true measure of greatness.

Against this backdrop, and coupled with the record results of October’s NACS Show, I have no doubt in my mind that the future of convenience retailing is FULL SPEED AHEAD!

Of course, there are obvious headwinds in our near future. Labor, supply chain, inflation, recession and regulation to name a few. However, the convenience community that I know will thrive. We will continue to be laser-focused on…

  • Building strong teams
  • Satisfying the needs, wants, conditions and limitations of our shoppers and communities
  • Eliminating friction for the shopper at every turn
  • Collaborating toward breakthrough innovation to win in the marketplace
...and knocking down whatever the hell else stands in our way!

If I have any advice, it would be to ...
  • Aggressively cultivate your youth (Think: Relevance. Diversity. Recruitment/Retention. Future.)
  • Leverage #ConvenienceCares to the next level (Consider: Synergy. Awareness. Recruiting. Market Share.)
  • Double down on digital, both shopper-facing and operations (Think: Frictionless. Productivity. Loyalty. Market Share.)
  • Win in foodservice—innovation, local and dayparts (Consider: Your Brand. Trips. Margin. Market Share.)
As many of you know, I will be retiring at the end of this year. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your guidance, partnership, confidence, patience and especially for your friendship over the years. It has truly been an amazing ride. In fact, these have been the best of my 46-year career in this wonderful industry!

Here’s to our next chapter!