Major c-store chain plans to open more food-focused, fuel-free locations | Grocery Dive

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Dive Brief:

  • Convenience-store chain QuikTrip is finalizing construction on a gasoline-free store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, focused on food and household goods, and hopes to open the location on Aug. 12, Aisha Jefferson-Smith, corporate communications manager for the Tulsa-based chain, said in an email.
  • The c-store, which is located inside the BOK Tower in downtown Tulsa, will be QuikTrip’s second gasoline-free site centered around food. The first opened in Atlanta in 2016.  
  • The new fuel-free location highlights the broader trend of c-stores focusing more on selling premium prepared foods and household merchandise, which continues to blur the lines with grocery stores and restaurants.

Dive Insight:

Although this only marks QuikTrip’s second gasoline-free, food- and merchandise-focused c-store to open in the past six years, the company intends to roll out more of these locations moving forward, Jefferson-Smith said. 

Specifically, QuikTrip wants to open gasoline-free sites in urban downtown areas that serve city dwellers looking for a convenient option for food and household items.

“There aren’t a lot of options for people inside the city when it comes to convenience stores,” Jefferson-Smith said. 

QuikTrip’s first gasoline-free site included the chain’s QT Kitchens concept — its prepared foodservice program — and became the first QuikTrip to offer made-to-order toasted sub sandwiches. The QT Kitchens program offers prepared foods across all dayparts, ranging from veggie breakfast scrambles and biscuits to barbecue brisket, chicken and pulled pork sandwiches. 

According to a local news report from March, the location will include a QT Kitchens and is part of a renovation at the BOK Tower that includes adding a food hall with several restaurants.

QuikTrip’s newest initiative continues a significant shift among the key players in the c-store industry over the past several years: the prioritization of a quality foodservice program that competes with restaurants — notably fast-food establishments — and grocery stores.

From the hoagie sandwiches at East Coast stores like Sheetz and Wawa to the coveted pizza at Midwest chain Casey’s General Stores, prepared foodservice is becoming the main draw at many convenience stores nationwide. And as consumers drive less and electric vehicles grow in popularity, c-store retailers are using foodservice as a means to meet consumer needs outside of fuel.

This approach seems to be working, as prepared foods garnered $302,346 in average sales per U.S. c-store in 2021 — a 21% increase over 2020, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.

If you’re interested in more news covering the convenience store space, keep an eye out for C-Store Dive, our newest daily publication, launching in the coming weeks.


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