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WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc.'s focus on becoming a convenience restaurant, and not just a convenience store, has garnered recognition for its leader.
Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens was named to the Nation's Restaurant News Power List 2015 as one of the top 50 influential foodservice leaders in the United States. This year's list focuses on leaders who are effecting change; who hold the power to change not just companies, brands or the customer experience, but to change the foodservice landscape.
According to NRN, Pennsylvania-based Wawa "has a cult-like following in parts of its home state and has seen food and beverage sales climb steadily in recent years — ending fiscal 2013 with domestic foodservice sales of $1.2 billion from 634 locations in six East Coast states.
Gheysens took over the president role at the convenience retailer in early 2012 and became CEO the following year. He was no stranger to the company, having served as chief financial and administrative officer for 15 years prior.
Under his watch, according to NRN, Wawa has evolved its food offerings, introducing specialty beverages including hot and iced lattes, and it has started baking rolls for its signature sandwiches in-house. In addition, the c-store retailer stays on top of food trends like fresh fruit, stuffed soft pretzels and buffalo chicken bites.
NRN also pointed to Wawa's use of modern technology, such as in-store touchpad ordering. The chain is also a leader in the social media space with more than 65,400 Twitter followers and more than 1.2 million Facebook fans.