- GPM Investments, the c-store arm of Arko Corp., is partnering with Villa Restaurant Group to bring Villa Italian Kitchen restaurants to three stores by the end of the year, according to an emailed press release.
- The first of these locations opened today in a fastmarket in Gordonsville, Virginia. The other two locations adding Villa Italian Kitchen restaurants are a fastmarket in Arizona and a Village Pantry store in Indiana.
- Arko is zeroing in on both its fresh and packaged foods “including pizza, chicken, prepared foods, and other options” as one of its three major growth pillars, said Arie Kotler, chairman, president and CEO of Arko, during the company’s Q1 earnings call earlier this month.
In addition to a range of pizzas, Villa Italian Kitchen restaurants will offer garlic rolls, strombolis, boneless wings and more. The Virginia location will offer specials on various food and drink combinations through August.
While this is the first time Arko is working with Villa Restaurant Group, pizza is currently available at 200 locations across its many brands, according to the earnings call. For example, Sbarro can be found in four Village Pantry stores in Indiana.
"We are always exploring innovative ways to cater to our customers' diverse palates and elevate our foodservice offerings," Kotler said in a statement. "Pizza continues to be one of the top selling food items in our stores and, by partnering with Villa Restaurant Group, we can provide our customers with a premium and authentic dining experience at a reasonable price point."
Villa Restaurant Group started in New York in 1964 and currently has more than 300 locations under a variety of brands, mainly in high-traffic areas like airports, malls and casinos.
The other two pillars in Arko’s growth strategy are loyalty and sales in its “core destination categories” — candy; beer; sweet, salty and alternative snacks; and packaged beverages. The company has been boosting its loyalty arm lately through a refresh of its fas Rewards app, which has given the program a 30% boost in weekly loyalty enrollments.
Richmond, Virginia-based Arko has more than 1,500 c-stores in 33 states under a variety of brands in its GPM Investments arm, including E-Z Mart, Scotchman, ExpressShop and Pride.