BOSTON -- What makes a convenience store a consumer favorite?
Following the release of GasBuddy's 2017 list of the best “overall” c-stores in the United States, CSP Daily News went to the source.
At 18, not only did QuikTrip have the most mentions throughout GasBuddy's top 100 list, but its Oro Valley, Ariz., location took the top spot overall. Meanwhile, The Parker Cos.’ Garden City, Ga., c-store came in second.
CSP Daily News spoke with representatives of each brand to understand how they consistently maintain consumer appeal. Here’s what they had to say …
Chuck Barton, QuikTrip’s vice president of marketing, said QuikTrip is one of the top players because of how well management takes care of its employees. “We treat them well, and as a result, they treat customers well,” he said. “We have a strong training program and pay our people well. It’s been in our culture since the start.”
QuikTrip tracks its employee behavior through its mystery shopper program, where secret shoppers come into stores on a weekly basis and provide feedback on how well employees take care of customers. If they earn a positive review, employees receive bonuses.
Barton said QuikTrip doesn’t plan on changing much regarding its operations—that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” One area the company would like to improve, however, is providing customers with higher-quality food options as the chain pushes into foodservice, he said.
Click here to read more about QuikTrip’s tactics to maintain consumer appeal.
Parker’s fulfills its tag line of “Fast, Fresh & Friendly” mainly through high-quality foodservice and keeping its stores exceptionally clean and well lit, said Jillian Stafford, social-media manager for Parker's.
With 51 c-stores, Savannah, Ga.-based Parker Cos. ranked No. 132 in CSP's 2017 Top 202.
“This location [Garden City, Ga.] boasts one of our signature Parker’s Kitchens,” she said. “We serve up our traditional southern comfort foods in a clean and inviting atmosphere. Our top-selling chicken tenders are made from hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken that comes to us fresh, never frozen. Other hot sellers in our kitchens include our mac and cheese, potato logs and breakfast biscuits.” Stafford said Parker’s takes pride in perfecting sweet tea, its Chew Ice fountain drink and getting its coffee from bean to cup in 30 seconds flat.
Community service is another reason consumers choose Parker’s over other c-stores, according to Stafford. Through its Fueling the Community program, the company donates more than $100,000 a year to schools and medical centers in the communities where its employees and customers live and work.
“Because we make a point to embrace our community by improving crucial elements like healthcare and education, those community members choose to become our customers, and they typically remain with us for the long haul,” Stafford said.