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01/25/2022

TravelCenters of America Outlines Transformation Plans for 2022

The company is focused on elevating the guest experience and growing its network, among other key initiatives.
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WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA) will mark its 50th anniversary with continued plans to advance several key initiatives to transform its business.

Those initiatives include expanding its restaurant options, remodeling sites, opening new travel center, upgrading technology, growing its franchise base, and bringing alternative energy resources to the marketplace.

"As we enter our 50th anniversary year, our commitment to transform TA for our guests and shareholders is stronger than ever," said CEO Jon Pertchik. "We are in the early stages of the transformation and have exciting plans for 2022. We are working hard to ensure we are here to serve all highway travelers for the next 50 years." 

The Guest Experience

Among TA's top priorities is improving the guest experience, an initiative that includes a robust capital investment strategy focused on travel center upgrades, reimagined food concepts and technology improvements.

The company plans to upgrade more than 100 sites by the end of 2022, with enhancements that include renovated restrooms, upgraded showers, more comfortable driver lounges, repaved parking lots, improved signage, new store flow and new lighting fixtures, paint and flooring. 

Foodservice changes are also on the list of guest experience changes. This year, TA plans to open several new full-service and quick-service restaurants, and more than 20 "The Kitchen" concepts, providing freshly prepared food, packaged meals and snacks.

TA launched The Kitchen, a fast-casual dining experience, at a newly remodeled TA location in Seymour, Ind., in October.

In addition, TA will implement digital enhancements, including mobile payment options, self-checkout and developments to its TruckSmart mobile app. 

Network Growth

This year, TA expects to open 13 franchised travel centers and one company-owned location, and celebrate the grand reopening of a reconstructed site. Its plans also include growing its TA Truck Service presence.  

The growth follows network expansion in 2021. Last year, TA opened five new locations, one new TA Truck Service Center and signed 26 franchise agreements. 

Upgrading Technology 

In addition to digital enhancements, the company is refreshing core systems and infrastructure to drive operational efficiencies and improve resiliency.

In 2022, TA is focusing on several initiatives, including refreshing site technology infrastructure and core business platforms with cloud-based solutions, and enhancing data security and analytics, including Artificial Intelligence for fuel management.  

Alternative Energy & Sustainability 

This year, TA expects to expand diesel exhaust fluid availability to all diesel lanes across its network, install additional biodiesel blending infrastructure, and offer more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

It will also launch an innovative test project with the California Energy Commission, which will include designing, developing and deploying a distributed energy resource to power energy storage and EV charging solutions.

Also on tap is a collaboration with Nikola Corp. to offer hydrogen fueling for heavy duty trucks in California.

Founded in 1972, TA will hold several 50th anniversary-themed special events for its guests, including unique offers such as 1970s pricing on certain products, music concerts at several sites in the fall, and guest contests through its mobile app and on social media. 

Westlake-based TA has more than 275 locations in 44 states and Canada, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. The company is committed to sustainability, with its specialized business unit, eTA, focused on sustainable energy options for professional drivers and motorists, while leveraging alternative energy to support its own operations. TA operates more than 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and nine proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet and Country Pride.