It wasn't quick, but months after self-serve food and drink items returned to QuikTrips outside St. Louis City, the company now says that new health orders will allow its city locations to once again stock fountain drinks and other self-service items — including the delicious and conveniently tube-shaped roller grill meat cylinders.
"It's good news for us," says company spokeswoman Aisha Jefferson-Smith. "Right now we're waiting to have product come in, because of course we haven't haven't had these products delivered since the city health mandate has been in place."
Along with the logistics of shipping the food and drinks themselves, QuikTrip's city locations will also have to install plastic covers over its grill stations — measures that first appeared last year in locations in St. Louis County and St. Charles.
There are 76 QuikTrips in the St. Louis region, with eight within the borders of St. Louis City. The split in health restrictions left city residents missing the popular items as the city retained its strict pandemic rules on food services.
Meanwhile, QuikTrips in St. Charles County were allowed to start selling self-service food items barely a month into the pandemic, in April 2020, while relaxed restrictions in St. Louis County permitted QuikTrips there to roll out its buffet-style offerings in October, said Jefferson-Smith.
The division between city and county QuikTrips locations hasn't been ideal. She notes that the roller grill items are "a hot seller in our stores."
But on Monday, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page appeared in a joint press conference to announce new health orders that lift capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants. Although the two mayors did not discuss QuikTrip specifically, Jefferson-Smith said the May 3 announcement coincided with a "notification" to the company that it can start working to bring its city locations in line with the measures already in place in its other regional stores.
"The city is mirroring what the county has laid out," she explained. "Once we're at the point where we have covers for all our grill items, we'll be able to start reselling them."
Still, Jefferson-Smith said the company isn't yet ready to announce a specific date for the return of the items. The company is assessing the logistics of restarting food deliveries and the time it will take to fabricate grill covers.
St. Louis City isn't the only town that's been sorely missing the cheap pleasure of grabbing a steak-and-cheese taquito or a corndog for the road: In March, Fox4 News in Kansas City reported that the company had finally responded to "repeated questions about the return of roller food and pastries in the Kansas City market."
The company response came in the form of a two-word statement, announced via a Twitter press release: "They're back."
The 🐐 is back pic.twitter.com/sxIwY0jTso— QuikTrip (@QuikTrip) March 1, 2021
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]