- TravelCenters of America (TA) is making a number of investments in its full-service restaurant operations, including adding more IHOP locations as well as introducing a new proprietary restaurant brand, Jonathan Pertchik, CEO of TravelCenters of America, said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call Wednesday.
- The company saw its restaurant revenue grow 10% compared to the same period last year, and the “expansion of restaurants and food offerings” is expected to be among the company’s capital expenditures for 2022, Pertchik said in TA’s earnings statement.
- Introducing new restaurant concepts underscores TA’s larger investment on the non-fuel side of its business, where there are “a whole bunch of” opportunities the company is collectively excited about, Pertchik said on the call.
TA has reopened about 80% of its full-service restaurants after closing about 90% of them in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and they feel good about the current momentum, Pertchik said during the call.
“We're at the right place now in terms of [that] number,” he said.
For the new IHOP locations, TA is “negotiating the possibility of leasing some of them, where the operator will be the landlord,” Pertchik said. He noted that doing this would create a stable cash flow and mitigate risk from those locations.
“You’ll see more of that as we get into next year,” he said.
Besides IHOP, TA’s full-service restaurant network includes R Place Restaurant, Fuddruckers, Johnson’s Corner, Black Bear Diner, Bob Evans and Boston Market. TA also has partnerships with nearly 20 fast-food restaurants, including Arby’s, Burger King, Popeyes, Subway, Starbucks and Taco Bell.
Pertchik did not provide many details regarding TA’s new proprietary restaurant brand it plans to introduce, other than that it will initially launch “in a couple locations.” TA currently has two proprietary full-service restaurant brands, Country Pride and Iron Skillet, which are located at TA travel centers and TA Petro shopping centers, respectively.
TA is focused on “continuous improvement” and “improving efficiencies” for its food and restaurant operations, whether that means tapping new technologies like self-checkout; using schedule management tools; or enhancing other areas of its traditional operations, Pertchik said