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ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz is unveiling the company's first convenience restaurant -- a hybrid concept that combines quick-casual dining and convenience concepts.
The store, located in the company's headquarters town of Altoona, Pa., opened Thursday, following a private dignitary reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
At 10,000 square feet, the convenience restaurant is more than double the size of the average Sheetz convenience store. Equipped with digital menu boards and touchscreen order points, the facility features a broad menu prepared in a food theater. It also has wi-fi access, DVD rental and five large-screen TVs.
The convenience restaurant concept was developed from customer response received when Steve Sheetz, chairman of the family-owned chain, issued a public challenge in 2002 to provide feedback to create the concept that would "put Sheetz as it is known today out of business."
"The convenience restaurant is a revolution in both the food and convenience industries," said Sheetz. "The concept combines a top-quality restaurant featuring a wide variety of great-tasting food with a state-of-the-art convenience store."
Sheetz hopes the two-year challenge the company initiated to develop the convenience restaurant also will help the innovative chain enhance how its 300 existing convenience stores operate -- from food offerings to service improvements.
The convenience restaurant will employ more than 80 people, with a focus on offering customers a wide variety of fresh made-to-order products and convenience items, as well as quality gasoline at the most competitive prices.
"The restaurant is great-looking. The food is terrific. But it's our people that will make the experience special. They are the reason customers will come back," said Sheetz.