Pilot Company Launches $1 Billion ‘New Horizons’ Initiative

The retailer will remodel 400+ travel centers over three years and add new technology like self-checkout and EV charging.

March 09, 2022

Interior of New Pilot Center

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Pilot Company, one of the leading suppliers of fuel and the largest operator of travel centers in North America, announced today a $1 billion initiative focused on upgrading the experience and equipping its stores for the future of travel. The three-year project, called New Horizons, marks the company’s largest investment in store modernization to date and will fully remodel more than 400 Pilot and Flying J travel centers, as well as make upgrades at several more locations across the country. Pilot also plans to add 34 locations.

Pilot Company said it is renewing its commitment to being the industry’s leading network of travel centers in both size and experience. Based on guest and team member feedback, New Horizons includes top-to-bottom store overhauls, remodeling restrooms and showers, expanding kitchen and dining areas, improving driver-focused amenities, expanding digital engagement with our guests, and installing the latest in fueling and retail technology.

“For 63 years, we’ve been proud to fuel millions of journeys and as we have done since our founding, we will continue to evolve the travel center experience to meet the changing needs of our guests and team members,” said Shameek Konar, Pilot Company CEO. “We are listening to what our guests want most at our locations and how we can improve our offerings to make their travels easier and more enjoyable. New Horizons will incorporate this feedback as we overhaul our entire network to deliver on what our guests value today and prepare our stores for the future.”

The New Horizons project will be completed in several phases as the company progresses its store design and incorporates new innovations. The first phase is now underway with about 60 Pilot and Flying J travel centers slated to undergo a major renovation this year and about 90 slated to get a refresh.

Key enhancements of New Horizons include:

  • Store exteriors and interiors: Top-to-bottom overhauls from the curb to the counter, including more energy-efficient lighting for well-lit parking lots, improved fueling experience, updated branding, refaced walls and store features with industrial style accents to create a welcoming environment that leaves a lasting impression.
  • Restrooms, showers and laundry: Adding more and remodeling existing facilities with modern, energy efficient—including touchless where possible—new tile, fresh paint and brighter lighting.
  • Seating and lounges: Expanding spaces for guests to relax with comfortable furnishings and additional dining areas.
  • Retail, food and beverage: Redesigned store layouts will increase variety and bring more of Pilot’s signature fresh deli items, including pizza, homestyle meals, grab-and-go foods, and premium coffee to more locations, all in an easy-to-shop atmosphere.
  • New technology: Installing state-of-the-art retail and fueling technology, including adding self-checkouts, to increase efficiency and enable team members to further personalize the guest experience.
  • Improved team member areas: Upgrading, reconfiguring and expanding breakrooms and workspaces, including installing new kitchen equipment and back-office solutions, to make team members’ jobs easier and able to focus more on providing great service.
  • Future innovations: Equipping our stores with fueling alternatives, including electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, and developing a strategy to support low emission and zero emission vehicles.

As part of New Horizons, Pilot Company said it is furthering its investment in the communities where its stores are located through its giving back program. This year, Pilot Company will donate more than $500,000 to support local school districts in the areas where it is building new locations or remodeling stores. The contributions will go toward providing students with equal access to educational technology, a key focus area of giving back for the company. To learn more about Pilot Company’s giving initiatives, visit pilotcompany.com/about.

“Our team members are an integral part of the guest experience, and we want to equip them with the tools to succeed while furthering our commitment to being a great place to work,” Konar explained.

“With New Horizons, we are investing in the total Pilot experience—from our team members to our guests and to the communities we serve.”

Adding self-checkout features to convenience stores can free up in-store staff to focus on customer service and other store operations. Read about other convenience retailers embracing the technology in “Self-checkout Strategies” in the March issue of NACS Magazine.