SEPTEMBER 27, 2023

RaceTrac Piloting Floor-Scrubbing Robots in its Travel Centers

ICE Cobotics Cobi 18, robotic floor scrubber,  cleans at RaceTrac

Dive Brief:

  • RaceTrac has tapped cleaning technology company Ice Cobotics to deploy floor-cleaning robots across its network of travel centers, according to a Monday announcement.
  • The convenience retailer is using Ice Cobotics’ battery-operated Cobi 18 autonomous floor scrubbers, which run for up to 90 minutes at a time and can clean 5,000 to 7,000 square feet per hour.
  • RaceTrac joins other convenience retailers such as Kum & Go and Phillips 66 in using the technology as labor-assisting automation continues to make its way into the c-store space.

Dive Insight:

Experimenting with the Cobi 18 in its travel centers underscores RaceTrac’s commitment to growing and improving these types of locations. While RaceTrac operates more than 570 convenience stores throughout its network, the company only had about 25 travel centers as of this summer. A RaceTrac spokesperson recently noted that travel centers are “the future” of the company.

The Cobi 18 will help RaceTrac’s travel center associates by reducing the physical strain of manually cleaning floors, as well as giving them more time to focus on other tasks and helping guests, according to the announcement.

“Leveraging technology to provide cleaner stores and free up our team members to assist guests in finding ‘whatever gets them going,’ is just another step RaceTrac is excited to take to make sure that every visit is a great experience,” Mark Reese, vice president of operations, maintenance and store support for RaceTrac, said in the announcement.

While floor-scrubbing bots have expanded in the grocery industry, c-stores have been slower to adopt the technology, especially in the U.S. In June 2021, Circle K spearheaded this initiative overseas, when it launched 100 mobile-operated cleaning robots in its distribution center in Hong Kong. 

In October 2022, Phillips 66 debuted the technology in more than 7,000 branded fuel locations, while Kum & Go rolled it out across its entire network a few months later.

Atlanta-based RaceTrac operates convenience stores across Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee.

You can read the article here.

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