Operating today under the brand names of Pilot and Flying J, Pilot Flying J (‘PFJ’) is the largest owner and operator of travel centres in North America, operating over 460 travel centres and serving an average 950,000 customers per day. The company primarily targets a professional customer base (over-the-road trucking), but also caters to retail customers (private travellers).
An average travel centre comprises 11 acres and consists of a gas station (sale of unbranded gasoline and diesel fuel), one or more nationally recognised quick serve restaurants (‘QSR’), a convenience store, as well as several services to travellers (e.g., restrooms, showers, parking facilities, etc.).
The company is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has approximately 20,000 employees after the company completed its acquisition on 30 June 2010 of Flying J, the company’s largest competitor. Today, PFJ is a clear market leader in a moderately growing market and has demonstrated resilience through historic economic cycles. PFJ holds the number one market position in a highly fragmented market.
The PFJ management team is strong; CVC has been impressed by the way in which PTC is run. The management have built an organisation that is highly analytical, reacts to changes in the marketplace within minutes and closely tracks progress. The company also boasts a number of value-enhancing opportunities, including acquisitive and organic growth.