[:en]How TravelCenters of America Has Successfully Navigated COVID-19[:]

[:en]Success stories can certainly be inspiring in the midst of difficult times. And the truth is, your c-store may never ever experience times like these again during your life.

In case you’re not as familiar with them, TravelCenters of America operates in 43 states across the nation with 250 locations and nearly $6 billion in revenue annually.

As their name suggests, their niche lies in truck stops and deluxe-size “travel centers”, and they were one of the first to focus on this niche upon their founding in 1972.

Factual information aside, take a minute to learn from what they did to make it through Q3 2020:

1. Refocus On Fuel Sales

The company engaged in several undisclosed initiatives to increase its fuel sales, primarily to truckers.

Part of that increase was also due to an increase in general market activity. But new trucking fleet customers and increased business from existing customers via the aforementioned company initiatives played a role too.

So, even in a coronavirus-shaken market, TravelCenters of America found new ways to drum up more business.

2. Fuel Gross Margin Increased 1%

Part of this was due to an increase in diesel fuel sales, which the company can take credit for.

However, part was fortunate in their favor despite the fact that circumstances were out of their control.

The federal biodiesel tax credit reduced costs. But the company also purchased diesel fuel in substantially higher volumes to help drive down costs.

3. Restaurants and Consumer Sales Didn’t Dip As Far As They Could Have

TravelCenters saw a 3.7% decrease in the restaurant and consumer side of their revenue. Government entities forced shutdowns of many of their restaurants because they were seen as non-essential.

To mitigate the damage, TravelCenters also shut down many restaurants with extremely low demand.

Also, 4,000 employees, about 20% of their overall workforce, were furloughed.

Further, TravelCenters chose to re-open certain restaurants with limited menu selection, which reduced inventory and labor costs. This also allowed the company to test different approaches in various markets to find out what would work best.

And this testing also continues at this moment in anticipation that COVID-19’s effects will last for some time yet.

4. Other Business Lines See Year-Over-Year Sales Increases

Both the quick-service restaurants and convenience stores have seen growth of 4.2% and 3.7% versus Q3 2019.

Company CEO John Pertchik credited “more disciplined leadership and management” for the improvements.

So that’s the quick story of how TravelCenters of America has been able to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

You can read the full story at Convenience Store News.

What did you learn that could be most helpful for your c-store?[:]