• TXB Takes Foodservice to the Next Level

  • TXB Takes Foodservice to the Next Level

    TXB Takes Foodservice to the Next Level

    With customer expectations getting higher all the time, retailers must keep raising the foodservice bar to increase their share of stomach.

    Last year, Kwik Chek began the process of rebranding under the TXB (Texas Born) name. While Kwik Chek did a lot of things well, the company’s senior leadership team wanted to enhance and refine many aspects of the operation as well as change the name and logo, explained TXB CEO Kevin Smartt.

    “In addition to in-store enhancements, we’re hyper-focused this and next year on new store growth,” he said.

    Currently, the chain has 48 stores in Texas and Oklahoma. Smartt stated that five additional stores will open this year and seven more in 2023. 

    As an example of the foodservice enhancements, Smartt pointed out that while Kwik Chek always offered freshly hand-made tortillas, its production was never built into the front line where customers could watch the process. Now, tortillas are pressed out onto the flattop grill right in front of customers while the staff takes their orders.

    “Little things like that can make a big difference in customer perception,” Smartt noted. 

    A good part of what differentiates TXB from competitors is a variety of at least 20 foodservice offerings that cannot be found in any other c-store, Smartt said.

    Among the chain’s signature food items are made-in-store salad shakers, which are large cups containing high-end salads, usually including a protein, that customers simply shake to distribute the dressing.

    “The salad shakers are visually stunning and are perfect for people on the go,” he noted.

    At least six new varieties of salad shakers already have or are soon to hit the store coolers. The quesadilla and taco offerings are also being expanded and three types of nachos are being added.

    Prior to and going into the pandemic, TXB was offering limited-time offers (LTOs) on a quarterly basis. Supply and labor challenges made it necessary for the company to back off that schedule for a while, but Smartt predicted that the quarterly LTO schedule will resume this year.

    “Customers are a little food fatigued and are looking for new, fresh and exciting products,” he remarked. “We believe that LTOs will drive sales.”   

    Keeping up with major foodservice trends is a big part of TXB’s growth strategy, according to Smartt. The company has been testing and refining a mobile food order model for some time and he projected that it will be ready to roll out this year.

    Newer stores will have food lockers for pickup orders in a designated room with heated glass cubicles. Either the customer or a third-party food delivery service such as DoorDash will enter a code to retrieve the food, making it immediately available without disturbing staffers who are helping other customers, he said.

    Right now, between 50-60% of the stores subscribe to a third-party delivery service. By the end of this year, Smartt would like to see that number increase to 90%.

    Home delivery is not a huge driver of sales for TXB, but “it gets a lot of buzz in the market,” he said. 

    One explanation, he suggested, may be that the biggest driver of home delivery is dinner and consumers do not yet associate convenience stores with the dinner daypart.

    “We’re trying to reposition that,” Smartt said. “It’s a trend we all have to think about and understand.”

    Navigating Inflation

    “As rising inflation makes price more of a factor for consumers, it is even more important for retailers to deliver value products,” Smartt stated. That, he said, might require selling multiples of products to drive the price point lower. 

    “Take tacos for example,” he offered. “I can sell one for $3.99 or two for $2.99 — how do I get more pennies in the bank? If I sell the one for $3.99, I will get $1.50 in gross dollars; with two for $2.99 I get $1.60 or $1.70 in gross profit.”

    If, he continued, the consumer has only $5 to $6 in their pocket, they can’t afford to get two $3.99 tacos. At $2.99 for two, they can. 

    “The gross profit percentage is less, but gross profit dollars are more,” he concluded.