QuikTrip has long done basic c-store foodservice very, very well. But in recent years, it has elevated its offer to include made-to-order, expansive menus encompassing pizza, breakfast bowls and specialty beverages. It marries culinary with technology, keeping pace with leading restaurants by offering an order-ahead option on its app. All this, and it’s still doing basic c-store foodservice very, very well.

Heading up innovation and product development is Stephanie Hurt, a restaurant veteran whose experience includes seven years at Yum! Brands as senior product development manager and six years at Sonic as head of innovation and brand marketing. She comes to the c-store industry with a valuable vantage point: how c-stores can differentiate themselves from quick-service restaurants (QSRs).

“The customer is solely coming into a QSR to purchase food or a beverage, whereas the foodservice convenience-store customer may have a multitude of needs. There is a commonality, and that is the need for more time,” she says. “At QT, we shrink time for our consumers. They can fill up their tank, buy fresh pastries for a morning meeting and get a great cup of coffee, all while they order a freshly prepared sandwich because there is no time to go out for lunch. 

“I love that we give our customers what matters most, and that is freeing up time to spend with family, friends and themselves.”

Hurt’s tenure in the restaurant industry also armed her with a core of powerful influencers. “I was fortunate enough to have been surrounded by some really great women leaders,” she says, citing Pattye Moore, chairman of the board of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, who also sits on the QuikTrip board; and Ann Dalier, vice president of marketing for Mimi’s Cafe. “They helped me grow and succeed because they could see my potential. Not just what I had accomplished.”

1997—Year QT unveiled its first “fast-food module” with the then-revolutionary idea of self-service