Skip to main content

Quick Chek Pioneers Self-Checkout


"Fast Lanes" speed more customers through the store during peak hours

Quick Chek, the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based chain of 123 c-stores located throughout New Jersey and southern New York, installed the convenience store industry's first self-checkout station last fall at its Phillipsburg, N.J., store. Since then, the retailer has installed self-checkout stations from NCR Corp. in three additional locations.

Maria Fidelibus, vice president of technology, talked about the evolution of Quick Chek's "Fast Lanes" self-checkout system during the NACS/Convenience Store News CIO Roundtable in New Orleans at this year's NACStech.

Quick Chek's "Fast Lanes" allowed each store to serve more customers during peak sales periods while helping to reduce customer wait time and parking lot congestion, according to Fidelibus, who later in the NACStech program accepted CSNews' 2010 Technology Award for Outstanding Technology Implementation.

Fidelibus said Quick Chek has been studying self-checkout technology for about two years, after visiting Tesco's Fresh & Easy small-format grocery stores that utilize it on the West Coast.

She pointed out some of the benefits as well as some of the challenges with the new technology:

  • Self-checkout allows the store teams to be more task-oriented. Employees can work the coffee bar or back room, or restock shelves without having to be called up to the front of the store to bust down a checkout line as often.
  • Cash customers continue to pay with cash. "We didn't see a significant change from cash to credit payment," said Fidelibus, thus the store did not rack up higher card transaction fees.

In addition, there was no increase in shrink at the test stores.

While the number of manned registers at the test stores was reduced, the stores maintain a minimum of two registers with the potential to be manned at busy times, and Quick Chek continues to give customers a choice on how they would like to be checked out.

Although it is called self-checkout, the stations are really "assisted checkout," since there is one store employee responsible for helping customers at three to four self-checkout areas at a time.

Knowing customers enjoy the interaction with employees, Quick Chek wanted to ensure this aspect of customer service didn't disappear with the self-checkout. "We wanted to preserve the relationships with our customers so we chose to have an assisted checkout with an employee there to welcome the customer and say 'good morning,'" said Fidelibus. "We wanted to make sure we kept our customer service high."

Since New Jersey is a full-service state, Quick Chek is going to have to address the pre-paid cash customer when it expands self-checkout beyond that state.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds