Saturday, March 18, 2023

Kwik Trip Growth with a Focus on Hot Spot Food


Consumers want grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food with full flavor, fresh, and fast according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Johnson stated, “In every sector of retail foodservice it is grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat that consumers are migrating too according to Nielsen and the team at Foodservice Solutions®.

Most regular readers of this blog know that a chain does not grow without picking up success clues along the way.  So, when Kwik Trip Inc. marked a milestone with the opening of the chain's 800th convenience store there was little doubt that they were picking up the right clues. 

Kwik Trip’s 800th store is located on the crossroads interchange of Highways 53 and 35 in Holmen, Wis., showcases Kwik Trip's Generation 3 model, which incorporates an open market feel and softer colors. A large open area where guests enter the store invites them to browse all the retailer's proprietary food and beverage centers.

In case you did not know, Kwik Trip's roots go back to 1965 when the very first stores sold no fuel at all. They were converted and rebranded corner grocery stores. What made these stores successful was the innovation of owner Don Zietlow, who retired as president and CEO on Dec. 31 after 52 years leading the company. Zietlow used his personal experience in the grocery, supply chain and delivery arenas to bring fresh milk, bread, baked goods, produce and meat to guests at a reasonable price.

Fast forward to present day, and the design of the Generation 3 stores is very much a collaboration that involves every department at Kwik Trip — incorporating the success clues of the store engineering, retail, marketing, food safety and real estate teams.

In line with today’s consumer relevance, Kwik Trip’s Gen 3 model, if focused on fresh food fast.  It was the first of its kind to be built in the La Crosse area. Holmen is a short 15-minute commute from the company's headquarters and is one of the more rapidly growing areas of western Wisconsin.

In a news release, Kwik Trip stated, "La Crosse is home base for Kwik Trip with daily delivery routes from our central distribution center transported by our own Convenience Transportation LLC. This allows Kwik Trip stores to carry the freshest product possible,"... "Kwik Trip is widely recognized as one of the most vertically integrated c-store chains in the nation. Another of our ownership's visions is to keep growing the business so that when coworkers come to work at Kwik Trip, they have opportunities to advance and stay with the company from high-school age all the way to retirement."

This new store boasting 9,000 square feet, this Gen 3 store eclipses a typical Kwik Trip store by 2,000 square feet. The design allocates more square footage to the retailer's proprietary Hot Spot food program, which continues to drive foot traffic inside its stores since debuting 20 years ago. Kwik Trip also has invested heavily in its take-home meal program and its fried chicken program.

"Both have been a huge hit with today's lifestyles. People on the go want choices they can grab that taste great and that the entire family can enjoy.

So simply put, more food choices require a larger display area and a larger prep area. The kitchen prep area of Gen 3 stores has more room for fryers, ovens, dishwashers and storage, along with freezers and refrigeration for safe food-handling practices.

The PR went on to say; "People love the open feel of our Generation 3 stores that invites people to browse and grab a coffee, a bakery treat, a hot slice of pizza or sandwich, chicken tenders, and many other food items at an affordable price,"… "In today's inflationary economy, people are looking for a value. Kwik Trip can help the budget with limited-time offers on essential commodities such as eggs, bread, milk and produce."

See just what the right success clues can do. Today, Kwik Trip operates 840 stores across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan.

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

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