How TA Operating LLC uses uncommonly good service to succeed in a common market Featured

8:01pm EDT August 31, 2011
Tom O'Brien Tom O'Brien

Larry and his family experienced car problems during their long trip home for Christmas. They pulled into a Petro Stopping Center, and though Petro doesn’t offer repair services for cars, an employee identified the broken part and called to have a replacement delivered.

The family soon returned from a nearby restaurant to find the part not only delivered but already installed by the Petro employee. Charged only for the belt, Petro staff wished Larry a merry Christmas and told him to continue on home.

“Wow, we were shocked to know that there are still great people that will go out of their way to help someone in need,” Larry wrote in a letter of thanks to the company.

Recognizing that TA Operating LLC does not offer unique products or services, CEO Tom O’Brien aims to sell excellent customer service as its differentiating commodity.

The company, which operates TravelCenters of America as well as Petro Stopping Center, has created employee development and incentive programs to facilitate ongoing customer experience training and implementation.

Two specific programs that the company invested considerable time and resources in and that encourage world-class customer service are the “Q-Force” and “Daymaker” programs. The “Q-Force” program was implemented among truck services with a superhero theme based around the mascot Captain Q-Force. The program emphasizes the importance of rescuing customers in trouble, often truckers who have broken down, and turning their bad experience into a good customer experience. The “Daymaker” program was createdfor employees among the company’s restaurants. Employees who make a customer’s day through excellent service are nominated each month and their stories evaluated. A winner is chosen and recognized at a semi-annual national conference.

TA Operating LLC employees are encouraged to go above and beyond to assist customers, differentiating the company through excellent service.

How to reach: TA Operating LLC, (330) 769-4881 or