Eric Rush has spent more than 20 years working with Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek. Rush was behind QC’s first mobile app, mobile ordering capabilities, the chain’s updated rewards program and the company’s integration with third-party delivery services.

It's been a dramatic year for your category. What did you see play out in 2020?
I manage both rewards and delivery here at QC, so there are a ton of exciting things in both. The data we are using to make personalized offers and the ability to reach new customers through delivery has been really exciting.

Any recent changes to how you’re displaying products in your stores?
Our store is digital. We are constantly looking for new ways to promote outside of the third-party marketplaces to new customers.

What do you love about your category?
I love the fact that I get to work with all categories and use all of our advertising channels. It is fast-paced, ever-changing and a great way to engage with an untapped market. The ability to work closely with CPG vendors and test and learn with them is rewarding, challenging and fun.

What is the biggest frustration?
COVID. In terms of the rewards program, the loss of customer count has impacted our ability to sign up as many customers. We had plans for in-store events and registration activities but those have all been delayed.

How did the pandemic change your category?
Pre-COVID, delivery was not something QC was looking to be a part of. The delivery channel has proven vital to serving the communities we operate in and getting products to people who cannot come to us like they previously did.

What trends are you watching?
Watching the QSR industry has been beneficial for both rewards and delivery. This channel is much more mature than the c-store channel is so taking bits and pieces from them and applying to our business model has been very helpful.

What products performed well in the past year?
Fresh snacks, mac and cheese and energy drinks—all of the items that are great for kicking off or ending a fun night at home.

What are your goals for 2021?
We continue to grow our weekly delivery counts. Our goals include partnering with CPG vendors to accelerate our weekly growth.

What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge for us is operationalizing [delivery] for our busiest stores. Trying to make sure they are keeping up with the fast growth has been a good challenge to solve.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
The summer! We anticipate a return to normal this summer and learning what our QuickChek Rewards and delivery platforms can do during typical summer weather and vacationing here at the Jersey Shore.