Meet 2017 Foodservice Innovator to Watch: Pilot Flying J

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Meet 2017 Foodservice Innovator to Watch: Pilot Flying J

By Don Longo - 02/28/2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —  Pilot Flying J, operator of more than 650 convenience stores and travel centers in North America, was the winner of the inaugural Foodservice Innovator to Watch award in Convenience Store News’ sixth-annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program, presented in partnership with Tyson Convenience.

Foodservice Innovator of the Year 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.

The judges on the CSNews Foodservice Advisory Council were impressed with the direction Pilot Flying J is taking its prepared food program. In 2017, the retailer hired celebrity chef and restaurant owner Tim Love to create new signature food items and work on developing Pilot Flying J’s foodservice culture. Reportedly, Love will focus first on the company’s stores in its Southwest region by developing new nutritious menu items with representative flavors and items considered specialties from the U.S. Southwest.

Chef Love’s dishes have received critical and popular acclaim, and he has been recognized by leading publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine. Love has also appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef: The Cruise” and “Top Chef Masters” programs, as well as Food Network’s “Chef America” program.

Love will work closely with Shannon Johnson, vice president of food innovation at Pilot Flying J, to continue to develop the PJ Fresh Marketplace brand throughout the chain.