New Management and New Ideas Flourish at All American Flying J

For more than 50 years the All American Flying J Travel Plaza has been serving truck drivers and locals in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. Recently it has undergone many changes under the direction of new management. “Our primary business is real estate, building and selling, and we were originally contracted to sell it, but we ended up leasing it with the right to purchase,” said Bill Miller, chief operating officer.

Serving more than 12,000 drivers a month, the location’s 30,000 square feet spans three floors. In addition to its 250 parking spots, it has a Perkins, large convenience store, 12 showers and a truck repair facility.

UPDATES INSIDE AND OUT

Since taking over operations at the truckstop, Miller has made a lot of updates. “We have made improvements and done a lot of cleaning up, which are reflected in our numbers. Our diesel sales are up,” he said.

The location added a half-dozen 15- foot tall flags that explain what drivers can get done in the shop. “It drives the message home that there are services inside,” Miller said.

The new managers also installed a small area inside the truckstop with tires to drive business to the truck repair shop. Importantly, the tire area has someone available for questions. “We now have a sales person to tell people about the tires,” Miller said, adding that they also repainted the shop.

Inside the large convenience store, the location has made improvements as well. “I spoke with this driver that was heading home to see his three- and 17-year-old children after being on the road for seven weeks. He needed to do laundry and he needed clothes,” explained Miller. Using this insight, the location created an area of driver-focused items such as jeans and hats.

SOME THINGS YOU CAN’T IMPROVE ON

One important selling point of the lo­cation is the Perkin’s restaurant, which Miller believes drivers stop in for when they get a hankering for a variety of food options. “One of the things that drivers really like is our restaurant. The quality of the food is a cut above other similar full-service restaurants,” Miller said, adding that Perkins allows them to offer affordable comfort food and desserts along with a good selection of healthy items. “I eat there very fre­quently,” he said.

A LITTLE HELP FROM NATSO

Many of these improvements were made after a site review from Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership. “Darren has been ter­rific. He has helped us refine our busi­ness plans. Other members should tap into that knowledge, because he really is a wealth of knowledge,” Miller said.

At end of a review, Schulte pres­ents his ideas for improvement. Miller used this as an opportunity for everyone to learn and help the facility grow. “I brought many of our staff members together to hear Darren’s report. I wanted everyone to hear it because everyone can take a little bit of the information away and improve our quality,” he said.

Schulte also helped the location by uploading quality photos to its Google Maps listing. “We’ve had over 200,000 hits,” Miller said. Visit http://ift.tt/2l9588q to learn more about this innovative way of marketing your truckstop.

SO MANY AMAZING STAFF All American Flying J also made changes in staffing, making sure to identify good talent within its own facility. “We tried to really look at the people who we thought really had po­tential and give them salaried positions and a department to run,” Miller said. “You have to surround yourself with really good people who care.”

Miller said the business has a lot of great management folks. “We now have a great general manager of the convenience store and fuel desk who has really turned the facility around. She is enthusiastic and really cares about the facility,” he said.

After seeing a young employee go­ing above and beyond what should be done by cleaning the pumps in 40-de­gree weather, the location promoted him to manager of facilities. “We have so many amazing people. We have an­other great employee that has taken over our Perkins and I have a great shop manager,” Miller added.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE All American Flying J has some excit­ing plans for the future. Identifying the need for speed in feeding drivers, management hopes to add order-at-the-pump technology. “When drivers pull in, they only have 30 minutes, so our plan is put some personnel at the pumps to help those drivers that need to get orders in quickly. We want them to be able to order the Perkins food,” Miller explained. They intend to implement the plan using existing tablet software.

They also hope to revamp their store, taking into consideration the need to change the layout to offer more fresh and to-go food. “We are going to offer food cooked to order, but we want to add more grab-and-go items,” Miller said.

The location is also looking to add some innovative kiosks to increase the number of profit centers, such as a Best Buy kiosk and a GNC kiosk.



via Business Feeds

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