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QuikTrip tops Market Force survey of favorite convenience store chains


Louisville, Colo. -- QuikTrip is North America’s favorite convenience store chain, according to a study by Market Force Information, a leader in customer intelligence solutions. More than 5,000 consumers were polled for the study, designed to uncover which convenience stores consumers prefer and why.

For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent convenience store experience and their likelihood to refer that store brand to others. The results were averaged to attain a composite loyalty score. Market Force research has shown that customers who have an exceptional shopping experience (a rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) are not only more loyal customers, but also 2.5 times more likely to recommend the place to friends and family.

QuikTrip ranked highest with 79%, while Wawa was a close second with 74%. Other regional players such as Sheetz, RaceTrac and Speedway also earned high enough scores to land in the top five, while national brands such as Chevron, BP and 7-Eleven ranked lower on the list.

Tulsa-based QuikTrip has seen accelerated growth in the past two years, including recently opening its 700th location. Its popularity is due, in part, to its focus on offering fresh food, including made-to-order food and drinks. Both QuikTrip and Wawa have also both developed a reputation for consistent customer service and store cleanliness.

“We’re seeing a phenomenon where convenience store brands are expanding their fresh food options as a way to lure new visitors through the door and cultivate loyalty,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force. “From offering salads and smoothies to take-home pizza and lasagna, regional convenience store chains are making food a priority. It’s a logical path to expansion because it draws market share from both quick-service restaurants and grocers offering both gas and on-the-go food options.”

Many c-store operators believe that price is the only factor driving traffic to a location. Market Force disproved that theory in this research, which found that price was selected by only 26% of consumers as an attribute that they like most about their favorite convenience store. Service and cleanliness factors ranked much higher on the list, with low prices coming in at No. 7.

The research also showed that the majority of convenience stores are not meeting basic standards of service and cleanliness. This means that there is significant opportunity for convenience store operators to improve the customer experience and impact loyalty by ensuring that they deliver on the basic mechanics of service and cleanliness.

QuikTrip took the top spot on all service-oriented attributes, including friendly service, fast service, clean bathrooms and clean interior and exterior. Wawa ranked second for customer service and third in the cleanliness categories. Sheetz, RaceTrac and Casey’s General Store also performed consistently well across most of the service-related areas.

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