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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — This month, Convenience Store News presented Maria Fidelibus, vice president of information technology at QuickChek Corp., with the 2016 Technology Leader of the Year award, and the chain continues to push the envelope in retail tech.
Led by Fidelibus, the QuickChek team launched a mobile app last year and added mobile ordering to the mix this March, allowing customers to place an order for any breakfast sandwich, custom-made sub sandwich or salad directly from the app. The company also pioneered self-checkout in 2009, and continues to add the units to high-volume locations.
“Some companies chase technology for the sake of technology, but we use it to accelerate [the] strategic levers in our business model,” Dean Durling, CEO of QuickChek, based in Whitehouse Station and operating more than 140 stores, told Convenience Store News.
QuickChek has identified five strategic levers for its business: foodservice, fuel, people, processes and controls. “Starting with the strategic levers, we ask how would technology facilitate us in being great at food, fuel, people, processes or controls,’” Durling explained.
Some of the answers so far have been the mobile app, guest Wi-Fi, a workforce management system, computer-assisted ordering, production planning, PCI compliance, self-checkout, and more.
Self-checkout is an important piece of the company’s future, according to Durling. “For self-checkout, it was about how do you increase high-value experiences in our store and minimize the low value. Checkout is low value, while shopping, building a sandwich and looking for a drink is high value,” the chief executive explained.
With self-checkout, QuickChek has been able to reduce lines during high volume periods, especially for foodservice, and added card-only readers to stores as well. This is a lower cost and lower maintenance option, Durling noted.
“The self-checkout is in new stores and our higher volume stores, and the norm is having three self-checkouts, plus two regular manned checkouts,” he said. “Customers are utilizing it, especially during peak periods.”
Looking ahead, QuickChek will continue to use technology to accelerate its strategic levers — and these levers will be customer-facing and team-facing goals, not technology goals.
The goal is always to provide easier access to customers, and to utilize technology to make the shopping experience better, and improve the lives of employees, Durling pointed out.
“If we can launch technology that will make QuickChek a great place to work, or a great place to shop, and it’s cost effective, we will do it,” he said.
Editor’s note: For more on QuickChek’s technology tenets and why Maria Fidelibus was chosen as Technology Leader of the Year, check out the October issue of Convenience Store News.