Pilot spending big to upgrade Flying J

Pilot Travel Centers has invested a truckload of money in recent years building a reputation for serving premium coffee. Now, the Knoxville based company is spending another bunch of cash to upgrade the coffee bars at its recently acquired Flying J locations.

0306pilot.MP.jpgThe company is spending approximately $150,000 per location on new coffee/deli bars at the Flying J travel centers.

“In the last 18 months we made a commitment to being a coffee authority,” said Whitman Harson, manager of hot beverages for Pilot Flying J. “Drivers know what we deliver they an trust. They know it’s going to be a great cup of coffee.”

Personally, I like my Starbucks, but I have to admit Pilot’s coffee is way better than the typical burnt brew found at convenience stores. Way better.

The coffee bar upgrades are only one part of the Flying J remodeling effort.

In all, the company is spending about $600,000 per location, said Tim Purcell, director of merchandising for Pilot Flying J.

Also on the upgrade list are new driver lounges, remodeled restrooms and showers and modern, faster fuel pumps. Also, full-service Dennys restaurants are being added at 100 Flying J locations.

The $1.8 billion merger of Pilot and Flying J received the final OK from the Federal Trade Commission on July 1, creating a combined network of approximately 550 travel centers.

The company is moving fast to finish the Flying J upgrades. The work is now about half done and should be completed by Christmas this year, Purcell said.

Pilot Flying J website