TravelCenters of America Puts Playbook Into Action

Melissa Kress
Executive Editor
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TravelCenters of America Inc. CEO Jonathan Pertchik
TravelCenters of America Inc. CEO Jonathan Pertchik

WESTLAKE, Ohio — Nearly one year after assuming the top post at TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA), CEO Jonathan Pertchik is pleased with how the team is working toward its key goal of operational efficiency.

"The earliest beginnings of our transformational playbook initiatives are starting to prove effective," Pertchik said during the company's third-quarter 2020 earnings call on Nov. 4.

Even faced with COVID-19 related challenges to demand, operations and management, TA reported several financial improvements for Q3 2020 compared to Q3 2019:

  • A 362.4-percent increase in net income;
  • A 29.9-percent increase in adjusted EBITDA; and 
  • A 10-percent increase in adjusted EBITDAR.

These increases came despite an overall revenue decrease of 19.1 percent, the chief executive noted. 

"The improved year-over-year performance was driven by improved leadership, intense focus and discipline in managing expenses, and beginning to execute on operational improvements throughout the organization," Pertchik explained.

The results are "unusually positive" considering the global pandemic, he acknowledged, as he thanked all of TA's team members and franchisees for contributing to the outcome, as well as its fleet customers and stockholders.

"2020 to date has been a year of planning and preparation, as well as a year of aggressively fighting the headwinds of a historic health and economic event," Pertchik said.

Among the changes at TA this year, a major corporate reorganization ushered in a new senior leadership team and saw the formation of three new departments: corporate development, centralized procurement, and hospitality.

In addition, as Pertchik noted, the company developed "a comprehensive transformational playbook" that includes 40-plus defined initiatives.

"Playbook initiatives encompass all business areas across our fuel and non-fuel businesses, and include many important principles like having fewer, more meaningful relationships, putting our scale to use, and empowering our culture and team," he said.

TA also enhanced its balance sheet following an $85-million equity raise.

"During 2020, we put the groundwork in place to execute on transforming this great American company," the CEO said. "[We expect] Q4 2020 into 2021 to be a period of execution, operational excellence and substantial investment in growth and efficiency. We expect 2021 to be a year of investments in our sites, in IT, in accelerating growth and franchising, and in harvesting substantial savings within our site-level operating expenses, analogous to the corporate savings we unearthed beginning in Q2 2020."

Based in Westlake, TA's business includes travel centers located in 44 U.S. states and Canada, standalone truck service facilities in three states, and standalone restaurants in 12 states. TA's travel centers operate under the TravelCenters of America, TA, TA Express, Petro Stopping Centers and Petro brand names. Its standalone truck service facilities operate under the TA Truck Service brand name. Its standalone restaurants operate principally under the Quaker Steak & Lube, or QSL, brand name.

About the Author

Melissa Kress
Melissa Kress is Executive Editor of Convenience Store News. Read More