IFCR met with Brian Donaldson, Maxol Group General Manager at the company’s latest forecourt development at Staffan Road, Maynooth.
The Maxol service station provides customers with a top class forecourt experience which includes: ample car parking spaces; the new Moreish café with barista coffee and free WIFI; Moreish coffee self-serve dock; pay at pump facilities to speed up the purchase of fuel; modern toilet facilities, separate truck fuelling facilities, latest drive through car wash and a new Maxol MACE convenience store to satisfy daily grocery and convenience food needs.
The new site showcases Maxol’s new forecourt brand identity including the new Moreish food offering.
The Moreish café and seating area provides a new destination for delicious freshly prepared food in Maynooth, served to eat in or on the go.
The Moreish menu offers a range of speciality sandwiches and the Moreish ‘Three Steps to Food Heaven’ deli with a choice of fresh and healthy food options including salad boxes and fresh fruit pots.
What’s more, for coffee aficionados, Moreish has partnered with Bewley’s for its coffee and teas and has both barista and self-serve offerings.
Maxol is aiming to achieve the same level of positive brand perception for its food convenience brand, Moreish as it has for its fuels.
“In the last two years we have been heavily focused on developing a new and innovative Maxol experience for customers,” explained Brian.
“Maxol is one of the oldest fuel brands in Ireland and we are well known for quality fuels. Forecourt convenience retailing is constantly evolving and we have been at the forefront of this with being the first oil company to establish an All-Ireland symbol store alliance, which we did in 1996 with Mace. As ever the market has moved on with consumers demanding more choice, value and sophistication in their tastes and where they purchase. To complement and establish a point of difference in our
Maxol Mace and Maxol Spar stores we have developed Moreish… fresh food and more. We are now actively developing our offer in the food convenience sector, and we want to be known as the innovators and heroes in this important area. It’s about changing the perception of what customers can expect today from Maxol. Fuels you can trust and great food too.
“That’s why we are making this kind of investment. You look around Maxol Maynooth and it’s different. It’s bright, it’s cheery and appeals to a wide range of customers looking for food options right through from breakfast to dinner – it’s about becoming a destination.”
Maxol is renowned for having quality assured fuels, it’s a reliable and trusted brand; in fact it was named the most reputable fuel company in Ireland for three years running. Maxol now wants to build on this to drive the Moreish brand.
In 2011 Maxol completed a full brand audit to understand how the brand is perceived by customers and since 2012 has invested heavily in the brand and the network with a new corporate identity rolled out across 155 sites on the island of Ireland. It has acquired and opened six new sites, completed eight full redevelopments, opened six Auto 24 unmanned sites, recruited 24 new dealers and acquired another six new properties to develop.
The Moreish deli and café has been launched at 15 sites in RoI and a new Maxol MACE brand concept was also rolled out.
“It’s been a busy time with lots of investment, but it has been tremendously exciting and rewarding for everyone involved,” said Brian.
“In 2015 we are going to undertake a brand health check to assess the progress made to date and where we want to take the business. It’s almost a stress test of all the investment we have put in so far to see what difference it has made to the consumer perception and experience. We now run regular consumer focus groups a number of times a year as we need to understand what it is our customers want and expect from Maxol. One thing that is critical is providing convenience in every aspect of our business – in store and out. A simple example, customers in a hurry can purchase a car wash from our pay at pump facilities.”
In terms of investment, Maxol Maynooth itself represents a €2m outlay and this commitment helps to attract the very best retailers, which we can work with under our independent licensee model. Conor Sherry is the Maxol licensee at Maynooth and he is delighted with how the new site has turned out, with such a strong offering on the forecourt and in store, it is doing strong business.
Brian said: “Our retailers are the face of the business; they work extremely hard in a very challenging market, where customer expectations are extremely high. They are independent retailers, responsible for employing the staff, engaging with everything that happens on site and they stamp their own personality on the running of the business, which today requires building long term relationships with customers and the local community.”
He added: “One of Maxol’s brand values is ‘family’, which aligns with our licensee model, working with local families, serving local families,” said Brian.
One of the key objectives from Maxol’s brand audit was to make the company more appealing and attractive to younger customers and since then it has been closely involved in many summer festivals, such as Indiependence Music and Arts in Cork; Westport Music and Food; Spraoi Family City Fest and Day Tripper in Waterford; Groove Music and Arts in Bray; and Belsonic weeklong music festival in Belfast; this involvement has seen the social media following grow considerably.
“We have supported initiatives that families can get involved in, whether it be the summer festivals or the Ulster Mini Rugby. They all help bring Maxol to a younger audience,” said Brian.
He continued: “As an indigenous Irish business, investing in Ireland is another key value of ours, as we believe if we invest locally we are four times more likely to have that money come back into the business and be invested in the local community. We would always rather invest with local Irish contractors and suppliers, examples of which are our relationship with Bewley’s as part of the Moreish coffee offering and Gaelite Signage who have helped roll out our new forecourt identity.”
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