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TUCSON, Ariz. – For years, QuikTrip Corp. has been offering proprietary foodservice items under the QT Kitchens brand. Last month, the convenience store retailer took the concept to a new level by installing QT Kitchens made-to-order food counters in Tucson QuikTrip locations.
During a recent trip to Tucson for the 2014 Conexxus Annual Conference (see related stories), CSNews Online visited one of these QT Kitchens stores, located at 3390 W. Ina Road, to see how the new made-to-order food program is working out.
The QT Kitchens area is situated in the back center of the store, flanked by a cold vault to its left and a 23-head fountain beverage station and lottery machine to its right.
Upon arriving at the QT Kitchens counter, slices of regular, pepperoni and supreme pizza were available for grab-and-go. Pizza is offered as made-to-order personal pies, too.
Also on the made-to-order menu are: toasted sandwiches in Italian Three Cheese, American Bacon Cheddar, Classic Grilled Cheese, Bacon, Egg & Cheese, and BLT with Cheese varieties; soft pretzels in three varieties; flatbreads in five varieties; and kolaches in three varieties.
On warm days -- which is most every day in Arizona -- QT Kitchens offers several frozen treats, starting with its QT Twister soft-serve, non-fat frozen yogurt treat. Available in 12 flavors, customers can select Oreos, M&M’S, Reese’s Pieces and Butterfinger pieces as “mix-ins.”
QT Kitchens complements its Twister lineup by offering soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones and QuikShakes in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and seasonal flavor varieties.
Customers can order any of the QT Kitchens items via a touchscreen kiosk, but a friendly employee was also there to discuss the items and answer questions.
When this CSNews Online editor showed interest in QT Kitchens and asked for recommendations, the employee immediately pointed out how much she likes the pizza slices and personal pies. Upon asking about the other offerings, she also explained what a kolache is -- a Czech type of pastry surrounded by dough -- and provided a printed menu.
The employee’s efforts worked as this CSNews Online editor purchased two individual slices of pizza, a QT Twister (which really hit the spot) and a fountain soda, and then took the items outside to enjoy them at one of two tables available for on-premises dining.
QuikTrip promotes the QT Kitchens concept on both store entry doors, large window decals and at several of its 16 self-service pumps, which offer unleaded, premium and diesel fuels.
While QT Kitchens does not rival some other leading convenience foodservice retailers in quantity of items available, the quality of the product definitely passes the test.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based company has publicly stated that its plans are to roll out QT Kitchens made-to-order food counters to most of its more than 690 stores in 11 states.