Diversification Remains A Focal Point For Maxol
The CEO of The Maxol Group, Brian Donaldson, confirmed that diversification was at the core of the company’s growth strategy, as evidenced by its move into the green energy sector earlier this year and the impact of its food offering on the company’s profitability.
This year marks 100 years of business in Ireland for Maxol, and the company had major plans at the outset of 2020 to celebrate the milestone.
Mr Donaldson explains, “We had a packed schedule of celebratory activities that began with a large-scale national radio sponsorship. We had plans for our biggest ever retailer conference, events with our brand ambassador, Jacob Stockdale, and at that point, we were finalising the last chapters of our centenary book. Then the pandemic hit.” As with many businesses in Ireland, the business operation and its priorities changed overnight.
Mr Donaldson continues, “We had never seen anything like it. Within two weeks, we had invested more than €50,000 across the business in health & safety measures. Businesses had to take unprecedented measures in unprecedented times, and Maxol was no different; we reduced average serving times from three to two minutes in a massive effort to reduce time instore, along with queuing time outdoors. Perspex screens, enhanced cleaning, staff training and a further investment in advertising to let people know that we remained open and committed to serving communities safely ran side by side with our daily operations.”
Meanwhile, the company’s deli offering, a key focus of the business in its expansion strategy, had to be adapted quickly; fuel sales plummeted, and all eat-in dining options had to be suspended.
“Eight months on, aided by the fact that Maxol is an adaptable and agile business, the dust has settled somewhat and we are fortunate in that we have nonetheless been in a position to make some exciting announcements and implement positive changes.”
Maxol marked its move into the green energy sector in July with the launch of bright, a 100% green energy company founded in partnership with energy entrepreneurs Ciaran and Stephen Devine of Evermore Energy.
“We are a hugely ambitious company, continuously looking at ways in which we can differentiate, diversify and evolve,” said Mr Donaldson. “Bright, which is the coming together of two family-owned businesses was a huge step for us, and indeed one of the most important on our environmental journey.
At the core of Maxol’s business model is its transition from being a fuel brand selling convenience products to a convenience food service brand selling fuel and new energies for mobility.
“Our focus on the food-to-go and eat-in markets along with top up convenience goods certainly helped us steer the waters of the pandemic more robustly than some of our competitors,” says Mr Donaldson. “Last year our ratio of fuel to food was at about 60:40 and this year, that has shifted nearer to 50:50.
Look out for our feature on Global Forecourt Challenge winners – Maxol Clarecastle in our next issue…coming soon!