Business Model Terminology

Here is the official terminology used by DepQuebec to describe the 5 major business models found in the retail food distribution sector and used in this site to rank the various banners*.

Type A) Company-operated store / employee-operated: In this model, the store is the chain’s property and is entirely run by paid employees. All procurement policies and guidelines for management, marketing and finance come from the head office of the company (Coderre, 2003 and Gohier, 1999).


Type B) Company-operated store / dealer-operated: In this model, the chain owns the equipment, inventory and systems while an independent store operator employs the staff, agrees to operate according to the chain’s standards and is paid a commission based primarily on store revenues to manage the store. There are many variations where a dealer could or could not own the merchandise inventory, keep the sales and associated gross margin and pay a commission to the chain (car washes, etc.) in addition to a rent. The chain usually owns the fuel inventory, keeps the sales and associated gross margin and pays a commission to the agent. (Source: Couche-Tard, 2011 AIF).


Type C) Store franchisee: store authorized by the chain to carry its brand. The franchise contract is one of supply, but the franchisee also benefits from management, marketing and finance services at very low cost. In this case, the real estate (site, building, etc.) may belong to a person or a group or be leased from a third party. The equipment and inventory may also belong to a person or a group but may also belong partly to the chain (Coderre, 2003).


Type D) Affiliated independent store (banner): a store whose owner is related to a chain or banner by a supply contract (Coderre, 2003).


Type E) Unaffiliated Independent Store: A store operated by an individual who has no obligation to anyone (Gohier, 1999).

Examples (fictitious):

  • Dépanneur Chez Jules
  • Marché Carole
  • Accommodation Henri, etc.


* Please note that the above five-category nomenclature is used in the ranking of chains, banners and gas brands. As for the GEOMAP listings, it has been reduced to the following three categories:

A) + B) = Corporate

C) = Franchise

D) + E) = Independent