Spicewood, Texas-based Texas Born (TXB), with more than 47 stores in Texas and Oklahoma, began its transition from the Kwik Chek brand mid-pandemic and is working to update each of its sites, while also building new-to-industry stores.
What really sets this company apart is its deep commitment to quality foodservice, with a focus on freshness and local products.
TXB Vice President of Foodservice Operations Brandon Frampton spoke with CStore Decisions about the new brand and why foodservice is its “primary focus.”
CStore Decisions (CSD): In what ways has TXB’s foodservice offer changed since converting from the Kwik Chek brand?
Brandon Frampton (BF): We have many excellent new food offerings, including our Texas Scorpion Bites made with spicy jalapeños, perfectly fried shrimp tacos and TXB Habanero Queso. While standout food offerings have always been a priority, with the TXB brand we are stepping it up from traditional c-store foods and focusing on fresh, made-from-scratch offerings that are restaurant-quality. For example, our steak strips are grilled fresh throughout the day, and we offer other fresh items like jumbo marinated tenders, blanched vegetables and our signature handmade salsa, to name a few.
We are even offering artisan products like fine chocolates, gourmet cheeses, salamis and wine. Our products and ingredients are locally sourced in Texas when possible, and all our foods are non-GMO. In terms of overall quality, I like to say Kwik Chek was 2.0, but TXB is 5.0.
CSD: What are today’s consumers looking for from convenience foodservice?
BF: These days, consumers are not only looking for convenience — they want quality, fresh ingredients in a clean, sanitary environment. That’s why TXB is installing hand-washing stations near the foodservice area for our guests in all of our new locations, allowing them to wash their hands before they shop without making a trip to the restroom, which works to decrease the spread of germs.
We see more consumers looking to c-stores for regular meals, not just snacks while on a road trip, and they’re not willing to sacrifice their fresh, healthy options they’re used to at home. We’ve all heard the negative expression “gas station food.” At TXB, we are actively fighting this stereotype by having foodservice as our primary focus.
We are constantly working to enhance the quality of our offerings for our guests, and that’s why we proudly offer a wide variety of healthy options, including take-home salad kits, veggies and fresh fruit, including blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges and many more. By not offering traditional gas station foods, we are catering to consumers’ wants. We also call our stores “markets” now to really drill the idea that we aren’t a typical gas station.
CSD: Which daypart is TXB’s busiest, and which holds the most growth potential?
BF: Breakfast has always been strong for the convenience channel, and (that) rings true for TXB. We will continue to grow breakfast at a solid clip but feel the growth potential around the lunch daypart will yield the most gains.
First, with our menu-consolidation strategy centering on combos and ‘two-fers,’ this allows us to grow guest-check while providing value to our guests. Second, our packaging and portability now allows our guests to comfortably eat in their car, home, job site or office. Our open-faced taco combo meals have become a favorite with our guests based on the great taste and the portability.
CSD: What are some must-have pieces or types of equipment to make c-store foodservice successful in your opinion, and why?
BF: Great question! We feel people make foodservice-buying decisions with their eyes. Therefore, the theater is a crucial piece of the experience, and we feel the food-line display case is the centerpiece. This is where we display our fresh fajitas, jumbo chicken tenders and scorpion bites.
Second, the proper flat-top grill is another must-have piece. This allows cooking conditions to be optimal, providing a quality product, all while in the line-of-sight of our guest — again, the theater.
Lastly, but certainly not least, always purchase quality refrigeration/freezer equipment. This equipment provides the safety component and holds very expensive product that will be lost with a catastrophic failure.
CSD: What’s ahead for TXB’s foodservice?
BF: We’re exploring mobile ordering and contactless payment as tools for improved foodservice. We are also looking into curbside, home delivery, ordering online and other forms of contactless payment, so guests can enjoy our fresh food offerings however they choose. We are excited to explore these payment options further, as it makes the guest’s experience easy and simple.
I believe the future looks bright for foodservice in the convenience field. I think companies are finally starting to take it seriously, and I cannot wait to see what the future brings!