The retailer also noted that it plans to add 34 new locations to its network this year, and add 40 new Southern Tire Mart sites as part of its goal of having more than 200 maintenance locations, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
Key New Horizons enhancements include:
- Top-to-bottom overhauls to store interiors and exteriors that feature energy-efficient lighting, an improved fueling experience, updated branding, refaced walls and industrial-style store accents to create a welcoming environment that leaves a lasting impression;
- Additional and remodeled restroom, shower and laundry facilities that offer modern, energy-efficient fixtures, including touchless where possible, as well as new tile, fresh paint and brighter lighting;
- Expanded seating and lounge areas that offer comfortable furnishings;
- Redesigned store layouts that increase food and beverage variety and add more of Pilot's signature fresh deli items, including pizza, homestyle meals, grab-and-go foods and premium coffee — all in an easy-to-shop atmosphere;
- Installation of state-of-the-art retail and fueling technology, including self-checkouts, to increase efficiency and enable team members to further personalize the guest experience;
- Improved team member areas through upgraded, reconfigured and expanded breakrooms and workspaces, with new kitchen equipment and back-office solutions; and
- Future innovations such as fueling alternatives, including electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and the development of a strategy to support low- and zero-emission vehicles.
Allison Cornish, zone vice president, shared that Pilot wants to "provide that consistent food experience to our guests" and will add its food expansion to as many locations as possible. The company seeks to provide food options for every occasion, including snack times, and will roll out fresh-cut fruit with seasonal options later this year.
"Technology is going to play a big part in our investment," Cornish added, noting that Pilot is prepared to adapt to an evolving automotive space. While EVs will definitely make up a larger segment of the passenger vehicle space, the future of trucking is less certain.
Pilot will also use technology to implement a connected experience that delivers personalized service from the gas pump to the mobile app to inside the store.
"We're meeting the guests where they are with the offer they want," said Mike Rogers, chief strategy and information officer.
As part of New Horizons, Pilot is furthering its investment in the communities in which it operates through its giving back program. This year, it will donate more than $500,000 to support local school districts in the areas where it is building new locations or remodeling existing stores. These contributions will go toward providing students with equal access to educational technology, a key focus area of giving back for the company.
"Our team members are an integral part of the guest experience, and we want to equip them with the tools to succeed while furthering our commitment to being a great place to work," said Konar. "With New Horizons, we are investing in the total Pilot experience — from our team members to our guests and to the communities we serve."
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Co. operates more than 800 retail and fueling locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces.