NATIONAL REPORT — Multiple convenience store operators are launching new menu items and food concepts to draw in consumers using a variety of flavor profiles during multiple dayparts. Here are the latest innovations:
KWIK CHEK Inc.
Kwik Chek added two new flavor-packed quesadillas to its menu: chorizo egg and cheese, and Buffalo chicken mac and cheese. They are available through March 31 at participating Kwik Chek/TXB (Texas Born) c-stores.
The chorizo egg and cheese quesadilla is available for breakfast from store opening to 10:30 a.m. and features savory chorizo, fresh-cracked eggs and melty cheese, grilled between a buttery tortilla. The Buffalo chicken mac and cheese quesadilla is available for lunch and dinner, from 10:30 a.m. to close. It takes two beloved foods and combines them to create a delicious and craveable menu item, with spicy, breaded buffalo chicken and tried and true mac and cheese, according to the retailer.
"At Kwik Chek/TXB, all food is made to order on-site, with fresh and wholesome ingredients," said Jimmy Crowder, head of menu innovation at Kwik Chek/TXB. "I love dreaming up menu items you wouldn't expect from your average convenience store, and these quesadillas definitely fall in that category."
Spicewood, Texas-based Kwik Chek/TXB Food Stores is a family of customer service-oriented convenience stores and quick food operations with more than 47 locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
NAUGHTY CHILE TAQUERIA
Naughty Chile Taqueria, the licensed Mexican food concept for c-stores, opened a new quick-service restaurant kiosk inside the Market Express Shell Station in Wesley Chapel, N.C. The retailer sought to tap into the heated market for authentic, fresh and more flavorful Mexican food and selected Naughty Tequila Taqueria after evaluating and testing other brands.
"I was introduced to Naughty Chile Taqueria at the NACS show, and the vibrant colors immediately caught my eye," said Jay Sergio, food and beverage director for Market Express convenience stores, a division of Brewer-Hendley Oil Co. "We were looking to replace an outdated food concept that wasn't drawing customers like it used to, and as soon as I tasted the Naughty Chile Taqueria menu, I knew the product would be a hot seller."
It is the fifth Naughty Chile Taqueria location to open in North Carolina.
The concept's limited menu offering features Quickie Burrito Mixes for breakfast and lunch, allowing store employees to prepare burritos commissary style for each upcoming daypart. The fresh, foil-wrapped burritos are stocked in hot merchandising units for quick pickup.
"Working with Jay and the Market Express team has been fantastic. We were easily able to convert the old brand with minimal equipment expense," said Shultz Hartgrove, CEO of Naughty Chile Taqueria. "With the Mexican food market on fire, our concept addresses different store layouts and turns old brands into a new exciting one."
QuikTrip added macaroni and cheese to its menu at all QT Kitchens locations. QT mac & cheese features cheddar, parmesan, American and Monterey Jack cheese.
The new menu item is available to order fresh at QT Kitchens and in a grab-and-go format. It can also be ordered on the QuikTrip mobile app for curbside pickup.
"We are so excited to introduce our delicious new mac & cheese to our customers and hope they enjoy our unique twist on this classic comfort food," said QuikTrip Corporate Chef Ryan Boone. "Mac & Cheese is a wildly popular American staple for children and adults of all ages. We wanted to put our own unique and tasty spin on it, while also offering a bit more versatility to our menu. It's great that it can be enjoyed as a snack or an entrée."
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip operates more than 850 convenience stores in 11 states.
A Turkey Hill location in Dublin, Ohio, will offer an IHOP with a drive-thru, according to a ThisWeek Community News report. On Feb. 4, Dublin's Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the Turkey Hill gas station and its two accompanying restaurants. The store will also feature a Sbarro pizzeria.
The IHOP will be branded as Flip'd by IHOP, which seeks "to fill a gap in the restaurant space by focusing on freshly made breakfast foods and beverages with speed and convenience," according to IHOP. Lunch and dinner items will also be available.
Flip'd customers will be required to place their order in advance via phone or through the IHOP mobile app. Completed orders will be available for pickup at the takeout window. This marks the first time that IHOP has used such a process, according to Manuel Paiva, chief real estate officer for EG America, parent company of Turkey Hill.
The Turkey Hill store and Flip'd will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.