NATIONAL REPORT — Kwik Trip Inc., the La Crosse, Wis.-based chain of more than 560 convenience stores in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, has been selected the 2019 Foodservice Innovator of the Year in Convenience Store News’ eighth-annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program.
Kwik Trip, previously named Foodservice Innovator of the Year in 2015, heads the list of five best-in-class convenience foodservice retailers selected as winners this year.
The other 2019 Foodservice Innovators Awards winners are:
Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year: QuickChek Corp.
Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year: Cumberland Farms
Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year: 7-Eleven Inc.
Foodservice Innovator to Watch: Choice Market
Foodservice Innovators Awards winners are chosen by CSNews’ Foodservice Advisory Council, a panel of foodservice experts from the retailer, supplier, wholesaler, research and consulting fields. Winners are recognized for raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the fast-growing and critically important foodservice category in the convenience channel.
“Kwik Trip is one of the industry leaders and has an outstanding leadership team,” remarked one of the experts on the CSNews Foodservice Advisory Council.
Earlier this year, Paul Servais, Kwik Trip’s foodservice director, was honored with the Convenience Store NewsFoodservice Leader of the Year award at CSNews’ Convenience Foodservice Exchange event, held in Dallas.
Prepared Foods Innovator of the Year QuickChek was the overall Foodservice Innovator of the Year winner in 2016. “QuickChek stands out among Northeast c-store chains as clearly the best when it comes to fresh prepared subs and sandwiches,” said one of the advisory board members.
Cumberland Farms scores its second win in the Hot Beverages Innovator category, repeating its performance from 2017. Among other factors, judges spotlighted the chain’s expanded hot beverage offerings with limited-time offers (LTOs) such as Mint Chocolate Cookie Coffee and Toasted Caramel Coconut Cookie Cappuccino.
7-Eleven is also a repeat winner as Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year, having won this category in 2014. “7-Eleven owns the frozen drink category and still does the best LTOs,” said one judge.
Choice Market, a new kind of convenience store that combines quick service with fresh quality food from local vendors and the latest technology, was named the Foodservice Innovator to Watch this year. Inspired by the small grocery stores he saw while living and studying in Europe, founder Mike Fogarty opened the first Choice Market in downtown Denver in 2017. Two more are planned to open this year.
The Foodservice Innovator to Watch award debuted in 2017 with the recognition of Pilot Flying J for the improvements it made to its fresh prepared food offer. Last year’s honoree in this category was Dash In convenience stores, a division of The Wills Group.