QuikTrip Ramps Up QT Kitchens Rollout

Tucson store holds invitation-only event to preview made-to-order foodservice

QuikTrip QT Kitchens (CSP Daily News / www.cspnet.com / Convenience Store Petroleum)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Officials with convenience store chain QuikTrip Corp. earlier this month launched its national made-to-order kitchen menu during an invitation-only event, held at the company's newest location in Tucson, Ariz., according to a report by The Explorer.

"We want to give our customers an elevated food and drink experience," Andy Houdashelt, director of food for QuikTrip, told The Arizona Daily Star in a separate report. "And that means providing a brand new menu full of flavor and variety."

QuikTrip is in the process of installing the QT Kitchens counters in most of its 685 c-stores across the nation, the report said. Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip, a privately held corporation, owns and operates its retail outlets in 11 states.

Inside the Tucson store, along with the usual assortment of amenities, QuikTrip is offering an array of hot-cooked food items, as well as customized frozen treats, the Explorer said.

The event at the new store had about 10 employees working behind the counter, and about 10 members of management roaming throughout the store continually asking for feedback, said the report. Employees offered people a free backpack and a coffee mug on their way out.

Chuck Barton, director of sales and marketing for the company, said the gasoline industry has changed over the years. As sales in such items as tobacco are down, the company is looking for newer ways to bring customers into the store.

"When you think of a gas station, you don't think of getting a toasted sandwich," Barton told the newspaper.

The menu consists of flatbreads, toasted sandwiches, personal pizzas, soft pretzels, shakes, real fruit smoothies and specialty coffee drinks.

From a touch-screen menu, guests punch in their orders and the kiosk dispenses a ticket. Nick Powell, the company's corporate chef, was on site to talk about the menu it is offering in 13 locations in Tucson, and all in town will be serving it by the end April.

"We wanted to get input from consumers from throughout the entire process," Powell told the paper. "From the very beginning, we sent out surveys to our customers asking them 'Is this something you would be interested in?' So really, that is what has dictated why we test."

Click here to view the full Explorer report. And click here to view the full Arizona Daily Star report.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers