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A Record-Breaking Mystery Shop

Which c-store chain clinched CSP’s annual operational excellence survey?

CHICAGO -- And the winner of the 2017 CSP/Intouch Insight Mystery Shop is …

Rutter’s Farm Stores clinched the No. 1 slot in only its second year participating in the annual mystery shop, which grades and ranks convenience-store chains on everything from the cleanliness of their fuel islands to the friendliness of their store employees. In doing so, Rutter’s scored a record number of overall points for a brand in the mystery shop’s 13-year history.

“What Rutter’s has done is beyond ridiculous. They have smashed, pulverized and eviscerated our previous record high,” said Mitch Morrison, vice president and Retail Executive Platform director for Winsight LLC, Chicago, parent company of CSP. “Their execution represents the fundamental discipline of the Pittsburgh Penguins in hockey, the organizational detail of the New England Patriots in football and the team-playing excitement of the Golden State Warriors in basketball.”

Rutter’s, No. 92 on CSP's Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States, won the CSP/Intouch Insight Mystery Shop in part to its ability to provide a clean, friendly shopping experience for customers of its more than 60 stores in Pennsylvania. In the process, it shouldered out respected repeat winners, including 2016 victors Kwik Trip and QuikTrip, which came in second and third in the 2017 contest, respectively. That said, no chain finishing in the top five came out of the mystery shop without polishing its operational credentials. This includes Robinson Oil's Rotten Robbie chain and RaceTrac

“The cool thing about this year’s mystery shop is that Rutter’s is hardly alone among the elites in our industry,” said Morrison. “Both Kwik Trip and QuikTrip hit scores that would have won in most years, and we saw some newcomers like Rotten Robbie achieve impressive results. Our 11 companies collectively averaged over 90%. That’s pretty incredible.”

This also marks another year of CSP’s ongoing partnership with Intouch Insight Ltd. (formerly Service Intelligence), Ottawa, Ontario, on the mystery-shop program, which has steadily grown from a small handful to nearly a dozen participating retail chains over the past 13 years.

“We’re fortunate to have a superior mystery-shop partner in Intouch Insight,” said Morrison. “[President and CEO] Cameron Watt and his team continue to evolve with us to capture the hottest aspects of our rapidly changing industry. This year, we put a powerful spotlight on fresh foodservice, cleanliness and professionalism. And our operators continue to meet and often exceed the challenge.”

“We are grateful that CSP/Intouch Insight Mystery Shop recognized the hard work and dedication of our Rutter’s team,” said Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter’s, York, Pa. “Every day our team goes the extra mile to deliver world-class service for our many loyal customers. Great teams win championships together. We are very honored by the recognition from CSP, and look forward to celebrating this huge win with our Rutter’s team that helped make it all possible.”

For the full results of the 2017 CSP/Intouch Insight Mystery Shop and insights from its winners, watch for the August issue of CSP magazine.

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