05 Apr Buc-ee’s: the Texas way to delight customers
The best experiences start with a deep understanding of what customers want and need. Buc-ee’s, a Texas-based chain of supersized convenience stores, has transformed the road trip pitstop into a fun-filled, family friendly experience by giving motorists what they crave: spotless bathrooms, abundant snack and meal options, and an endless supply of gas pumps (which means no waiting). For many Texas families, stopping at Buc-ee’s is the most important part of a road trip. It is the gas station that you won’t want to leave.
Exceeding Customer Expectations Early On
The Buc-ee’s experience begins long before you arrive. On the 150 mile-stretch of Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Houston, the billboards for Buc-ee’s start appearing just after you clear the suburban fringe of San Antonio. Buc-ee’s mascot, a cartoon beaver in a red hat, begins a countdown to let drivers (and passengers know) just how many more miles they have to go. Each billboard includes a clever caption that showcases Buc-ee’s legendary facilities. Such as, “Your Throne Awaits: Fabulous Restrooms,” “Some Say Best Jerky Ever,” or “You Can Hold It!” The signs build anticipation and encourage the weak-bladdered to tough it out for a few more miles.
On a recent drive from San Antonio to New Orleans, my family spotted the sprawling Buc-ee’s building before the highway sign indicated it was time to exit. We pulled in and found plenty of parking. Our goal was to take a quick bio break and fill up the tank, which we did with great ease and efficiency, just as the cartoon beaver promised. But once inside, we felt the urge to buy everything from a pink bath bomb to delicious store-made sandwiches and kolaches (for the uninitiated, a kolache is a puffy Czech pastry filled with fruit, cheese, or sausage). Sandwiches won. We grabbed tasty, fresh barbeque sandwiches and delicious, house-made potato chips, a welcome alternative to standard fast food fare. The chips, which were some of the best I have ever tasted, never stood a chance against my hungry family. And if you have a sweet tooth, Buc-ee’s has got you covered. The only problem is choosing between the pecan roll and 24 flavors of fudge in flavors you never imagined, such as watermelon.
Meeting Customers Needs and Then Some
Buc-ee’s hits all the high notes of the pit stop experience. Quick, clean, spacious, efficient, and tasty–what else can you ask for? If it were up to my husband and grown children, we would have stayed at Buc-ee’s and skipped New Orleans altogether.
Where do you think we stopped on the way back? Yes, Buc-ee’s. My husband did not want to hear about any other options for food (and gas). Somehow, with its beef jerky, stuffed toys, and freshly made food, Buc-ee’s became the experience we all now talk about. And we are not alone. Buc-ee’s has a passionate fan base that wouldn’t dream of missing an opportunity to stop at the beloved convenience store.
How did a convenience store become such a universally adored place by the customers? It goes back to vision, experimentation, willingness to make brave and counter-intuitive decisions and total dedication to the cause. You can read more about this fascinating story in Texas Monthly, Buc-ee’s: The Path to World Domination.
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