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TULSA, Okla. -- Four years ago QuikTrip started planning a way to differentiate itself from the competition with a variety of fresh foodservice. This week, the chain launched QT Kitchens in 35 of its 55 Tulsa area stores, featuring redesigned interiors and displays that showcase sandwiches, wraps and fruit cups.
"It's been a long-term initiative," QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told Tulsa World. "And now we're rolling it out." The privately held company did not release the cost of QT Kitchens or the remodeled stores, but Thornbrugh told the paper "it's substantial."
Spicy Southwestern chicken wraps, turkey sandwiches, proprietary Columbian coffee, egg rolls and fruit cups are some of the latest offerings for stores. The current menu features three types of sandwiches, wraps and salads, which will be switched up. "We have come up with 100 different food offerings," Thornbrugh told Tulsa World. "You name it, we'll be testing it."
"The key to this whole thing is we're going to change the stereotype that convenience stores can't have fresh, high-quality foods," Thornbrugh added.
The stores also underwent more changes in their beverage stations, adding space to fit in new frozen, energy and coffee drinks, as well as hot chocolate and milk shake machines.
QuikTrip didn't forget the sweetest part of a meal – dessert. Doughnuts, cookies and other fresh-baked goods are also offered in stores.
Two store models were developed at the QT Kitchens facility, allowing the company to analyze the best floor plan and placement of the foodservice. "We built them over two years ago," Thornbrugh told the newspaper. "Then we tweaked them."
"It was highly confidential; no one knew what we were doing," said QT Kitchens manager Jeremy Stanford.
The foodservice comes from a 40,000-square-foot facility in Tulsa, Okla. The facility provides the 35 stores with products through a fleet of seven refrigerated trucks. QuikTrip hired 95 employees to work at the facility, where they produce 3,000 items a day, according to QT Kitchens manager Jeremy Stanford. The facility has capabilities to produce 10,000 to 15,000 sandwiches daily, and supply the entire 55 Tulsa-area stores. "We overbuild because we know we'll grow into it," said Thornbrugh.
Whether QuikTrip will initiate QT Kitchens into all of its area stores remains to be seen. "We really don't set a timetable for ourselves," Thornbrugh told the paper. "We'll sit back and watch and see, and learn from it. . . . When we're comfortable and satisfied it's a hit, we'll move forward."
"In the next six months, in the next nine months, we're going to be doing all kinds of things," he added. "Our customer two years from now won't recognize us."