Convenience Store News

NOV 2014

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62 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2014 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Customized beverages also take center stage in the form of QuikTrip's specialty beverage bar, which is part of its larger QT Kitchens initiative. Staffed by associates, the QT Kitchens concept offers fresh, made- to-order food and beverages, including specialty drinks and soft-serve ice cream. "The expansion of beverages in the new QT Kitchen stores is one of the most impressive in the industry," said one retailer member of the How To Crew, who added that the chain's brewed tea lineup is "way above anywhere else." Best neW FoodservIce ProGrAM, Gold MedAl Casey's General Stores Inc., Ankeny, Iowa Casey's is this year's gold medal winner in the Best New Foodservice Program category for innovations in its robust pizza business, including its new, unique standalone pizza store. The Midwest chain of more than 1,800 stores was honored with a silver medal as Foodservice Innovator of the Year in 2012, when it first began offering pizza delivery, which has now spread to more than 225 of its stores. This year, CSNews' How To Crew lauded Casey's new Pizza Express loca- tion in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, as an innovative addi- tion to its drive to dominate the pizza business in its markets. The retailer's first standalone pizza restaurant is a 1,600-square-foot location that offers pizza (whole and by the slice), chicken wings, breadsticks, fountain drinks and a self-serve frozen yogurt bar. Pizza Express does not sell traditional c-store products, such as ciga- rettes, groceries or doughnuts. Though still a test concept, Casey's earlier this year announced plans to open five more Pizza Express loca- tions in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area. Another way Casey's is growing its already-bustling pizza business is with line extensions. After testing a new flatbread pizza line in the inaugural Pizza Express location, Casey's decided to roll it out chainwide in January. This thin-crust version is priced the same as its traditional pizza at $11.99 for a large, single-top- ping pie and $15.99 for specialty varieties. star LeBron James. Developed in partnership with the basketballer, Sprite 6 Mix combines the taste of traditional Sprite with natural cherry and orange flavors. Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James is also the first Slurpee drink to tout a famous athlete's name. • On the Slurpee's 49th birthday, 7-Eleven intro- duced two limited- edition Slurpee flavors for the sum- mer: Lemonade and Slurpee Lite Sugar-Free Fanta Watermelon Punch. On the marketing front, 7-Eleven gave Slurpee a fun twist this summer by offering 26-ounce refillable, plastic Mason jar mugs with drink straws that have mustaches attached. The novelty jars and straws came in four styles and colors, and retailed for 99 cents each. Best cold & Frozen BeverAGes InnovAtor, sIlver MedAl QuikTrip Corp., Tulsa, Okla. QuikTrip, the Oklahoma-based chain of 700 con- venience stores in 11 states and several large metro- politan markets, claims to be the first retailer to offer self-serve fountain drinks, and the company's cold and frozen dispensed beverages have served as a forerunner to its evolution into a superior all-around convenience foodservice retailer. QT won the gold medal in this same category in 2012 and last year, it was the gold medal winner for Best Hot Beverages Innovator. In its new-build and remodeled "Generation 3" stores — designed based on years of asking customers what they would like to see, taking those thoughts and then determining what would work — the retailer offers a multitude of dispensed beverage options including: • Traditional fountain drinks • Smoothies • Fresh-brewed iced teas • Lemonades and limeades • Flavor shots The stores also feature the coldest drink QT has to offer: its icy, flavor-infused Freezoni frozen drinks. Customers can mix and match their favorite beverage forms and flavors to create a customized drink, plus they can add in a fountain flavor, syrup, creamer or whipped topping.

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