Kwik Trip Adds Fresh Meats (Slideshow)

Convenience store chain turns up the heat, targets grilling season grocery list

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products
Greg Lindenberg, Online Editor

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Kwik Trip Inc. has added fresh meats to its mix, the Wisconsin-based convenience store retailer announced in a series of social media posts this month. The move is in part designed to provide the last ingredient--meat--for the summer grilling grocery list.

Large signs in most windows inside and out read "Now Available--Fresh Hamburger, Premium Steaks, Premium Center Cut Pork Chops, Chicken Breast," offered under the Kitchen Cravings brand, as well as Klements Brats and other meats, an observer told CSP Daily News.

Customers could already buy buns, onions, condiments, salads, chips, beer, soda and other cookout necessities, "but then they had to go to another store for the meat," Greg Scriver, the chain's procurement and marketing director, told The La Crosse Tribune. "The idea is to offer our guests what goes in the bun, too, so to speak."

The meats, which debuted in Kwik Trip's 414 c-stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota and Kwik Star c-stores in Iowa on May 2, are "exceeding expectations," Scriver said. He said sales on Tuesday, May 13, were 25% above the previous Tuesday's.

The endeavor is generating revenue for local businesses, such as Bakalars Sausage Co. and Reinhart FoodService in La Crosse, said the report. Bakalars has added eight employees and increased production 25% to provide brats, hot dogs and sausages under the Kitchen Cravings label, company president Mike Bakalars told the newspaper.

"[Kwik Trip CEO] Don Zietlow wanted to do this for quite some time," added Scriver, who worked for Reinhart for 28 years before taking a job with Kwik Trip on Aug. 1.

Marketed as "Big on fresh, low on price," the selection of products and vendors, including Reinhart for some steaks, came after extensive research, Scriver said.

"We don't have the selection of a 30-foot meat display, but we've covered the bases," he said. "We didn't skimp. We've got all-natural USDA choice angus."

The chain is phasing in freestanding coolers for the meats and additions of other products such as lunchmeats and salads, and sauerkraut.

Kwik Trip also plans to add products such as Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese, steak sauce and fresh green beans, peppers and mushrooms "to better accommodate full-meal solutions" beyond grilling, Scriver said.

"In a lot of rural areas where we are privileged to have a Kwik Trip, the grocery stores are gone," and the expanded options will help fill that gap, he said.

Click here to read the full La Crosse Tribune report.

Kwik Trip is also running an "Ugly Grill" contest on social media to promote the addition of meat to the c-stores. Participants must post a picture of their dilapidated grills with the hashtag #KTuglygrill. The company will select 11 winners. One grand prize winner will receive a Weber One-Touch Grill and a $100 Kwik trip gift card; 10 runners-up will receive a Kwik Trip grill set.

Part for CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers
By Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products
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