WESTLAKE, Ohio — As TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA) prepares to celebrate 50 years serving professional drivers and highway travelers, the retailer is moving forward with plans to “transform” the business to upgrade the customer experience and grow the company.
“As we enter our 50th anniversary year, our commitment to transform TA for our guests and shareholders is stronger than ever,” said Jon Pertchik, chief executive officer of TA. “We are in the early stages of the transformation and have exciting plans for 2022; we are working hard to ensure we are here to serve all highway travelers for the next 50 years.”
The improvements, the company said, will include expanded restaurant options, remodeled retail sites, new travel-center openings, technology upgrades, a growing franchise base and a plan to bring alternative energy resources to the marketplace, “key initiatives that have resulted in customers doing more business with TA.”
Here’s a breakdown of what the retailer is planning …
Improving the guest experience is a priority, the company said, and its plans include a capital-investment strategy focused on travel-center upgrades, reimagined food concepts and technology improvements. TA plans to upgrade more than 100 sites by the end of 2022, with enhancements that include renovated restrooms, upgraded showers, more comfortable driver lounges, repaved parking lots, improved signage, new store flow and new lighting fixtures, paint and flooring.
TA will focus on food variety and restaurant options in 2022, with plans to open several new full-service and quick-service restaurants, and more than 20 The Kitchen concepts, providing freshly prepared food, packaged meals and snacks. TA said it is focused on providing a variety of healthy options that appeal to both professional drivers and motorists.
This year, TA intends to implement digital enhancements, including mobile payment options, self-checkout and developments to its TruckSmart mobile app.
TA is also refreshing core systems and infrastructure to drive operational efficiencies and improve resiliency. In 2022, the company is focusing on several initiatives, including refreshing site technology infrastructure and core business platforms with cloud-based solutions, and enhancing data security and analytics, including Artificial Intelligence for fuel management.
Alternative Energy and Sustainability
In 2022, TA expects to expand diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) availability to all diesel lanes across its network, install additional biodiesel blending infrastructure and offer more EV charging stations. TA also plans to launch a test project with the California Energy Commission that will include designing, developing and deploying a distributed energy resource to power energy storage and EV-charging solutions. In addition, TA will continue plans to offer hydrogen fueling in California in collaboration with Nikola Corp. for heavy duty trucks.
In recognition of its 50th anniversary, TA will hold several 50th anniversary-themed special events for its guests, including offers such as 1970s pricing on certain products, music concerts at several sites in the fall and guest contests through its mobile app and on social media.
Click here to view a video with more information about TravelCenters of America’s 2022 transformation plans.
Based in Westlake, Ohio, TravelCenters of America has more than 275 locations in 44 states and Canada, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. TravelCenters of America is No. 28 on CSP’s 2021 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count.