Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

Student Story: The Kwik Trip Way

Consumer Science 250: Retail Leadership Symposium

On October 11th, John McHugh, the Director of Corporate Communications at Kwik Trip, stopped by Retail Leadership Symposium to shed light on the operations of his company. Mr. McHugh has been with Kwik Trip for the past thirteen years, and worked to uphold the company’s legacy of outstanding customer service. Kwik Trip also prides themselves on having the freshest foods at the lowest prices. To achieve this, they operate their own bakeries, dairy farms, and kitchens to ensure everything is “as big on fresh as it is low on price.” John talked about Kwik Trip’s recent acquisition of PDQ convenience stores in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. You can find a Kwik Trip located here on campus near Camp Randall on the corner of Monroe Street and Randall Ave.

“We treat our customers how we would want to be treated”
-John McHugh

What Kwik Trip can do for YOU

Emotions are like neon signs
Did you know that your brain has a genetic makeup that allows emotional connection to be remembered longer than policies and procedures? Kwik Trip knows this and uses this method to train ALL employees!

For those that have never been, Kwik Trip is a convenience store that offers groceries, grab-n-go meals, alcohol, and gasolineto its guests. There are upwards of 500 Kwik Trip locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, employing over 18,000 people. In the process of expanding their brand, Kwik Trip built their own kitchens, bakeries and farms, which allows them to provide basic commodities (eggs, milk, etc.) to the customers at lower prices than the competition. Kwik Trip sells Top Tier Gasoline which is gas that contains a high level of cleaning detergent. The added detergent helps cars run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Along with Top Tier Gas, some Kwik Trips offer car wash facilities and free to use air compressors.

The Best in the Business

Mr. McHugh emphasized the importance of the Golden Rule throughout his visit. Hence, Kwik Trip’s philosophy is to “treat others the way you wish to be treated.” To ensure that customers are more than satisfied with their visits, Kwik Trip only hires compassionate employees. In fact, one of the first questions asked during the interview process includes describing your most recent random act of kindness. Last year only 4,000 out of the 136,000 applicants passed this Kwik Trip test, among other employment requirements. In 2013, Kwik Trip was named the 21st best workplace in America, making it a desired place of employment. With a turnover rate of only 1%, Kwik Trip is able to keep familiar faces in their stores, helping to build their brand and create customer loyalty.

Key Takeaways:
  • Kwik trip strives to do a lot more than just sell gas and hot dogs to people; Kwik Trip strives to make a difference in the lives of its customers.
  • The goal is always to go above satisfaction and to create customers for life.
  • Loyalty lies in compassionate relationships, a key feature of Kwik Trip.
  • Their return comment, “See you next time,” has created a need to belong and successfully brought customers back.
  • Kwik Trip is different from its competitors in that fact that they believe their employees come first, and not the customer. This is probably why Kwik Trip has a mere 1% turnover rate for staff.
  • Kwik Trip is in the top 3 companies in Wisconsin, and in the top 80 in the United States.

Customers, Co-Workers Come First

Customers come first; that’s the mantra worshiped by traditional retailers. Although this is important, Kwik Trip believes outstanding customer service is the result of investing in employees. In fact, Kwik trip reinvests 40% of their profits right back into their employees. Creating an environment that supports building compassionate, meaningful relationships among coworkers was another goal Kwik Trip strived to achieve. One way Kwik Trip associates support each other is by voluntarily donating a small portion of their paycheck to coworkers in need. By doing this, they’re showing their fellow associates that they are more than just a person who shows up to work to receive a paycheck. It shows that they matter. Providing that sense of community from within the workplace is just another asset that sets Kwik Trip apart from the rest.

Giving Back To The Community

John McHugh, Director of Corporate Communications at Kwik Trip

Kwik Trip gives back to the community in many different ways. For example, a few causes Kwik Trip supports include the Special Olympics, American Red Cross, and Feeding America. They offer donation programs that help people and organizations in need, from funding school programs to sponsoring sports teams. Kwik Trip also offers 7 different fundraising options for any organization you belong to. These fundraising options include selling gift scrip cards, Glazers donuts, Kitchen Cravers Cheese Mountain pizzas, and car wash cards. All you have to do is buy the certificates or cards at a discounted price, and the money you make from selling them can be kept for your organization. The company also offers Kwik Books, a free program for grade schools that encourages students to read.

Whether you are stopping by to grab a hot sandwich for lunch, or making your weekly visit to fill up on gasoline, Kwik Trip strives to make guests feel welcome and are happy to serve their needs, no matter what they might be. Stop in and checkout why they’re not your average convenience store. Kwik Trip hopes to see you soon! 

ALL Ways Forward Button.

Supporting Research & Innovation

Annual gifts provide immediately available discretionary funds that the Dean uses for facilitating faculty research and innovation at SoHE. Individual support makes a significant impact in keeping UW-Madison ranked as one of the nation’s leading research universities and to move the world forward.

Click “All Ways Forward” to start making a difference.