KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J is spending $1 billion over the next three years to overhaul more than 400 of its travel centers, the company said on a call to announce the initiative.
This investment into the customer and team member experience, called New Horizons, comes after Pilot asked its customers and professional drivers how it can better serve them, and by considering future trends and alternative fueling technologies.
“Our goal is to create an outstanding experience for our guests,” said CEO Shameek Konar on the call. “The way we say it at Pilot is, ‘How do we earn the turn?’ Which is, when you’re on the road, you stop at a Pilot; we want to earn your turn. When you come back, we want you to stop at a Pilot again.”
Highlights of the company’s largest investment to date in store modernization include:
- Making Pilot a great place to work by improving workspace and outfitting employees with technology and equipment.
- Winning over customers by improving store design and providing a consistent experience from store to store.
- Adapting for the future of travel with technology advancements and alternative fuels.
Pilot Co. is No. 12 on CSP’s 2022 Top 40 Update to the 2021 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count. (Watch for the full 2022 Top 202 ranking in the June issue of CSP magazine.)
Pilot will remodel more than 400 stores and open 15 new stores across its network of more than 670 owned and operated stores over the next three years, it said.
Key enhancements include:
- Upgraded and expanded showers, restrooms and driver lounges, with modern fixtures, including touchless fixtures where possible, as well as new tile, paint and flooring.
- Expanded retail and premium food and beverage options, including freshly prepared pizza and homestyle meals, easy grab-and-go options and fresh salads and fruit, bean-to-cup Pilot coffee, all-natural cold brew and artisan juices and more top snack and drink brands.
- Updated store interiors and exteriors, with expanded seating and dining areas as well as new paint, flooring and equipment.
- Improved team member spaces including breakrooms and workspaces. Redesigned store layouts and upgraded kitchen equipment will streamline processes and improve team member workspaces to make team members’ jobs easier and meet increased demand for premium food options.
- New technology to keep guests on the move and simplify internal processes. Checkout capacity will be increased, including the option to self-checkout with dedicated team members ready to assist.
- Equipping stores for the future of travel with electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations, developing a strategy for supporting low-emission and zero-emission vehicles and continuing to provide low-carbon fueling alternatives to customers.
As part of New Horizons, Pilot will donate a total of $500,000 into the communities it serves to support local school districts and students with equal access to educational technology.
In surveying thousands of guests and team members to develop New Horizons, Pilot learned:
- 66% of professional drivers say showers are the most important factor they think about when choosing a travel center.
- 60% professional drivers rate food offerings as top reason for choosing a travel center.
- More than 50% of professional drivers mention the ability to get in and out quickly as key factor in travel center selection.
- Nearly 90% of auto drivers choose a travel center based on its convenience, safety, cleanliness and product availability.
- 85% of auto guests use Pilot’s restrooms when they stop at its stores, and they rank cleanliness as the most important factor.
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