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QuikTrip's QT Kitchens Exceeds Expectations

TULSA, Okla. -- Nearly four years since launching QT Kitchens, QuikTrip's push into foodservice is performing "ahead of expectations," Mike Thornbrugh, public relations manager for the convenience store chain, told CSNews Online.

QuikTrip currently has five QT Kitchens commissaries in operation in Tulsa, Kansas City, Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas, which serve all nine of its markets. The Kansas City facility services the Wichita, St. Louis, Des Moines and Omaha markets, which do not have their own QT Kitchens. No additional commissaries are in the works at this time, he said.

Fresh products are delivered from the commissaries to all 534 QuikTrip convenience store locations daily. On any given day at the chain's stores, Thornbrugh said in excess of 50 products are being offered under the QT Kitchens brand, including fresh deli sandwiches, salads, doughnuts, muffins and fruit cups. The retailer continues to experiment with new offerings.

As with all aspects of its business, QuikTrip is never satisfied.

"We keep getting more proficient in all aspects [of QT Kitchens]: the quality of the products, marketing, transportation and the presentation," Thornbrugh explained. "We keep learning from [our] prior mistakes. With each new QT Kitchens we open, QuikTrip has taken the opportunity to focus and plan what we can do better."

In fact, the retailer is now working on a new, larger store design that's expected to debut in its hometown of Tulsa this spring. The new stores will be roughly 20 percent larger than existing stores and feature a wider selection of prepared foods, according to recent media reports. There will be more varieties of sandwiches, hot dogs and egg rolls, and even potential in the future for items such as fried chicken, the reports stated.

QuikTrip plans to use these new locations as a testing ground for future stores.

"Hopefully, the new test stores will answer many of our questions -- one being the opportunity to slowly expand our fresh food offer," Thornbrugh told CSNews.

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