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Orders are placed at one of two kiosks at the food preparation area a receipt is printed out and customers pay at the central registers and return to pick up food
<p>Orders are placed at one of two kiosks at the food preparation area, a receipt is printed out and customers pay at the central registers and return to pick up food.</p>

QuikTrip expands quick-service concept

The 700-unit convenience store chains adds more QT Kitchens locations

QuikTrip Corp. has nearly completed a rollout of new QT Kitchens to its convenience-store system, offering a menu of made-to-order items, in an effort to compete with quick-service restaurants.

Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp., which has 716 units in 11 states, plans to complete the QT Kitchen additions at all but a few stores by April. QT Kitchens are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Customers have been asking for more food options, said Chet Cadieux, QuikTrip’s chairman and CEO.

“For 56 years, QuikTrip has set out to deliver the highest level of convenience and service to our customers,” Cadieux said in a statement. “We are confident that this new offering will once again exceed expectations, and in fact, will change the way our customers think about quick food and QuikTrip.”

QT Kitchens’ menu includes breakfast sandwiches, flatbreads, toasted sandwiches, made-to-order personal pizzas, pizza-by-the-slice, specialty coffee drinks, frozen lemonades, smoothies and ice cream treats.

The concept aims to draw consumers who might seek meals elsewhere, including nearby quick-service restaurants, said Mike Thornbrugh, QuikTrip’s manager of public and government affairs.

“The lines of retail are so blurred now,” Thornbrugh said. “We’re not competing against the other convenience stores. We’re competing against grocery outlets, fast-feeders and the specialty shops. Everybody is trying to expand their offerings.”

Thornbrugh said the convenience-store chain’s challenge going forward is to expand the menu.

“The sky’s the limit, to be really blunt with you,” he said. “We like to think we’ll be methodical and take our time to get there. We’re not going to do it overnight.”

The menu items range from flatbreads to personal pizzas and sandwiches. Photo by Ron Ruggless
QuikTrip units have three entrances. Photo by Ron Ruggless

QuikTrip has discussed the expansion over the past 10 years and rolled it out beginning last year, Thornbrugh said. The company may extend its hours beyond 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., he said, “but those are the hours where we have the most customer flow.”

A QuikTrip in Grand Prairie, Texas, which opened on March 4, offers flatbreads from $2.99 to $3.99, and sandwiches ranging from a grilled cheese for $2.49 to Italian Three Cheese for $3.99. Personal pizzas were $4.99, and breakfast kolaches were $1.99.

The menu of frozen prepared treats includes limited-time offers, such as a mint-flavored shake for St. Patrick’s Day.

Andy Houdashelt, QuikTrip’s food director, said in a statement, “We want to give our customers an elevated food and drink experience, and that means providing a brand new menu full of flavor and variety, and continuing to offer our well-known customer service and high standards of cleanliness.”

Customers order from two self-service touchpad kiosks on either side of the QT Kitchen centerpiece open kitchen, pay at the convenience store central counter and then pick up their orders back at the kitchen.

QuikTrip joins a number of convenience-store brands that have been upgrading and expanding food offerings.

Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz, with 500 units, is set to open a new dine-in store in August in State College, Pa., that will its be first without gas pumps. The store will feature options like Sheetz’s made-to-order subs, sandwiches and salads, prepared food and bakery items, and a full-service espresso and smoothie bar.

The 53,500-unit 7-Eleven Inc., based in Dallas, said in September it was testing a new foodservice program with Tony Horton, creator of the best-selling fitness program, Beachbody P90X, in 104 Los Angeles-area stores. The lineup includes sandwiches, salads, wraps and cold-pressed juices sold under the Tony Horton Kitchen (THK) brand.

“Tony Horton is one of the biggest names in the world of health and fitness,” Raja Doddala, 7‑Eleven’s senior director of innovation, said at the time. “His passion for reaching people and improving their quality of life inspired us at 7‑Eleven to offer our guests fresh, upscale selections.”

QuikTrip operates has stores in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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