The restaurants along the Kansas Turnpike remain unchanged for now. Come spring, things could be different.
A reader asked, “Could you maybe do an updated story on rest stops on the highway?”
The Gazette reported last August that the Kansas Turnpike Authority was seeking bids for new restaurant operators at the Emporia and Matfield Green service areas. The contracts were due to be awarded more than two weeks ago.
“There will be some supplier changes, but I’m not sure what they are at this point,” KTA spokeswoman Rebecca Bell said on Monday. “We re-offer those service areas every 10 years.”
Bell added that it doesn’t have an up-to-date schedule for when the highway might announce the changes. The KTA held its last meeting in the bidding process on Thursday, December 15, 2022.
Great demand within supply involves Matfield Green. That service area currently has Dunkin and Hardee’s restaurants, operated by Heartland Restaurants LLC of Topeka under Capstone Restaurant Group of Colorado.
The KTA bidding process sought nationally known businesses with a “quick service” menu, including breakfast, staying open at least 6am to 11pm
The name on the main restaurant near the Emporia junction will not change. McDonald’s has its own agreement with the KTA which is not part of the bidding process.
The last time a service area bid occurred, Hardee’s replaced McDonald’s in Matfield Green in 2013.
Convenience stores and fuel suppliers at area rest stops shouldn’t change either. The EZ Go at Matfield Green is under contract to the motorway until February 2027. Emporia’s supplier is Fast and Friendly.
Matfield Green’s restaurants tend to be busier than those in Emporia.
KTA data shows that Matfield Green locations had gross sales of over $1 million between July and November. McDonald’s at mile 132 had revenues of nearly $850,000, the lowest of any service area.
Statistics also reveal that Hardee’s in Matfield Green outnumbers Dunkin by about three to one.
The new contracts are due to start on Saturday 15 April. The process includes stops in Topeka and Towanda, as well as those in the Emporia area.