Sheetz Evolving Into a ‘Convenience Restaurant’

Format would operate independently of gasoline sales

Louie Sheetz

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc. is looking to the future, and it doesn’t include fuel.

Former exeutive vice president and current board of directors member Louie Sheetz said as much while speaking this month to the Carlisle Rotary Club in Carlisle, Pa., as reported in the Cumberland Valley Business Journal.

“You don’t make money in the gas business anymore,” Sheetz said. “You do make people come to your parking lot. Gasoline really drives the food and beverage business, which is where your profit is.”

“Our future is in a new format, which is the Sheetz ‘convenience restaurant’ that can operate independently of gasoline sales,” he continued.

Sheetz opened its first “convenience restaurant,” the Sheetz Café concept, on the campus of West Virginia University in March 2015, and announced just this week that a second Sheetz Café will be built in Indiana, Pa. The store—expected to open before fall classes begin Aug. 7 at nearby Indiana University of Pennsylvania—will open the door to beer sales for the chain.

According to Pennsylvania state law, a single store cannot sell both gasoline and beer without violating the liquor code. By doing away with the fuel offer and adding more food, the new Sheetz store should operate under the definition of a restaurant.

“Beer sales are a very integral part of our business model in other states,” Sheetz told the Carlisle Rotary Club. “We know our customers in [Pennsylvania] would love to see beer in stores. It’s just a matter of finding the right political approach to do so.”

Sheetz, the 19th largest c-store chain in the United States, according to the 2016 CSP Top 101, employs more than 17,000 people across more than 500 stores.