QuikTrip stores in the Valley are undergoing a major overhaul, one even the occasional visitor may have noticed already. The company is changing the format of its stores to be more full-service, and the format change seems to be a successful one.
“The old days where it’s just a convenience store battling against a convenience store is over,” Mike Thornbrugh, public affairs manager for QuikTrip, said. “We’re competing against everybody.”
And he does mean everyone. With the company’s establishment of “QuikTrip Kitchens,” separate locations designed to produce food for the stores, a full deli has been added to many area stores and the company is eyeing the grocery and bakery markets as well.
Thornbrugh said the journey started nearly 10 years ago, when the company decided that, in order to increase expansion and maintain viability, it would have to shift from the classic convenience format to compete on higher and more numerous levels.
The first indicator in the stores is an abundance of staff, much more than the two to three people commonly seen in a gas-station convenience store. He said the company has added some 2,000 employees in the last year.
“It is a tremendous labor cost but, at the same time, we know if we are going to continue to grow … the full-service side of the bus is where we are headed,” Thornbrugh said.
And Tempe seems to be an atmosphere for this bold strategy to flourish. Nefi Guzman, manager of the QuikTrip at Southern Avenue and Price Road, said people are impressed by the changes.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback, especially when (customers) first walk in here,” Guzman said. “They are just blown away.”
The food seems to be popular as well, especially the pizza. Selling pizza by the pan and the slice has proven very popular, something Thornbrugh attributes to years of careful recipe testing in the kitchens.
“As soon as a customer tries it, they are hooked,” Guzman said. “They want more.”