Mergers & Acquisitions

TravelCenters of America Accelerates Network Expansion

Retailer focusing on franchising as part of reorganization plan, new operational strategy
Photograph courtesy of TravelCenters of America

WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America Inc. is accelerating its network expansion strategy by actively pursuing franchising opportunities for business growth and has opened a new TA Express franchise in Mt. Vernon, Texas.

"We believe there are significant opportunities for continued growth through franchising, and in early 2020, we began rapidly increasing our engagement efforts and broadening our reach with potential franchisees,” said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TA. “We have a team dedicated to identifying and actively pursuing excellent franchisees who are committed to providing our customers with the services and amenities they’ve come to trust and rely on at our travel centers.”

In mid-April, TA furloughed approximately 2,900 field employees, as well as 122 corporate employees, as a result of the closures of its full-service restaurants, the company said in a business update related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 1, it announced a companywide reorganization involving key steps in a new strategic, long-term plan to improve operational efficiency and profitability.

“Franchising is an integral part of our new strategic plan and a key driver for the continued expansion of the business,” said Pertchik. “We believe putting the accelerator on this aspect of operations will allow us to become a growth engine and serve more customers and communities.”

Since the beginning of 2019, TA has signed 18 new franchise agreements under one of TA’s travel center brands—TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express. Four sites opened in 2019, and five opened in the first half of 2020 in Kilgore, Texas; Salina, Utah; Wasco, Ore.; West Point, Ga.; and Mt. Vernon, Texas. The company also said it expects to open new locations in Vermillion, S.D.; Nacogdoches, Texas; and Lake City, Fla., in June.

TA expects an additional six locations will open by the end of first-quarter 2021. Other cities TA expects to be part of its franchise expansion this year include Huntington, Ore.; Cookeville, Tenn.; Edgerton, Kan.; and South Houston, Texas.

In addition, the company is negotiating franchise agreements for 13 travel centers across states in the western and southern United States. It is also engaged in later stages of discussions with operators of another six locations, and has more than 80 other potential franchisees in the pipeline across states including California, Texas, Nevada and Missouri.

The Mt. Vernon TA Express, formerly Duke’s Travel Plaza, is located on Interstate 30, exit 147. Services and amenities include 53 truck parking spaces, diesel fueling with RFID and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), gasoline fueling lanes, a travel store, private showers, a laundry room, a drivers’ lounge and a dog park. Dining options include Cotton Belt BBQ, Taco Casa and an on-site deli with made-to-go freshly prepared options

  • TravelCenters of America is No. 27 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s 2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets. CSP will release the complete 2020 list in June.

Founded in 1972 and based in Westlake, Ohio, publicly traded TA has 266 travel centers in 44 states and Canada, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. It offers diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, full-service and quick-service restaurants (QSRs), car and truck parking and other services and amenities for professional drivers and the motoring public. TravelCenters of America operates nearly 650 full-service and QSRs and 10 proprietary restaurant brands, including Quaker Steak & Lube, Iron Skillet and Country Pride. 

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