Maxol revamp business model to invest in fresh food-to-go
Maxol has announced a €100m investment in the redevelopment of its service stations across the country, transforming the company from a fuel-driven business to a food service and convenience-led model
The almost century old forecourt and convenience retailer has already invested €128 million in its network between 2012 and 2017, with a further €100 million investment confirmed for additional redevelopments by 2020.
Maxol employs directly and indirectly more than 1,000 people across the island of Ireland, offering a wide range of products and services to the Irish and Northern Irish markets through its network of 231 service stations.
The latest investment follows another successful year for the family-owned business in 2018, with double digit profits in growth. CEO Brian Donaldson, says: “Maxol remain as ambitious as ever and we are constantly looking at new ways we can differentiate, diversify and evolve.”
The company is investing €37m in its network this year, including large redevelopments in Maxol Enniscorthy, which was completed in March. Other developments that are currently underway include Maxol Dolphins Barn in Dublin, and Maxol Clarecastle in Mayo, which is scheduled for completion in August.
According to Brian, the plans to renovate these sites have been brewing for some time. He says: “We have been investing heavily in the redevelopment of our service stations right across Ireland for a while and the hard work is paying off, leading to strong trading performance.
“We’ve been on a journey on the last five years in reshaping our retail offer, and the focus is now on providing health and fresh choices for our customers more than ever. We’ve always been a convenience retailer, but the priority is now on providing a wider choice for every consumer who uses our services.”
As more consumers cultivate healthier lifestyles, Maxol has been paving the way to a more healthy and fresh food offering with a variety of options. With the introduction of additional dining options and a range of eateries to choose from including Freshly Chopped, Abrakebabra, Zambrero, Insomnia, and the new-look Maxol deli, Maxol are upping their game when it comes to food, and providing an offering that’s giving their competitors a run for their money.
Brian says: “Maxol operates in an incredibly competitive market so we’re constantly looking at ways we can redesign and reshape our model to future proof our business, with the main aim of transforming from being a fuel provider to a full convenience retail fuel offering.
“Our fresh good offer is constantly evolving. We’ve upgraded the meal solutions we have on offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as continuing our staple products that our customers know and love. As customer trends progress and change, we continue to adapt and ensure we are always going that one step further.”
However, despite food and convenience gaining priority over fuel in the new business model shift, Maxol is also providing a mosaic of different types of fuel including more bio-friendly fuels and other lower emission fuels.
Brian added: “Fuel is the first point of contact that many customers have with our forecourts, so we’ve always sought to invest very heavily in having the best forecourt dispensers, making sure they’re quiet, fast, and convenient. We’re the first company in Ireland to put in pay-at-pump facilities in all stations.
“Again, we’re making sure we’re providing the best in fuel convenience. Customers may only be filling up around once or twice a week, so it’s very important to us that that experience is top class.”
With the coffee-to-go market forecasted to be worth €176m by 2020, Maxol launched their own, exclusive coffee brand: ROSA. Roasted locally in Ireland, the blend is made from Fairtrade Arabica coffee beans and follows a €1.7m investment in the brand by the company.
On top of that, the company are playing their part for the environment by ensuring all ROSA coffee cups are 100 percent compostable, and recyclable bins are accessible across all sites. With the popularity of environmentally friendly electric cars on the rise, Maxol are also ensuring that its forecourts have an infrastructure in place to support greener motoring.
The company intend to not miss a trick when it comes to futureproofing, investing in cashless car washes and revamping their payment solutions to keep up to speed with the needs of the modern consumer.
Brian says: “We are constantly updating our systems to remain current and relevant, and customer convenience is at the heart of our strategic vision. Pay-at-pump facilities are becoming increasingly important and shortly we will be trialling mobile payment technology, removing the need for traditional card readers.
“With up-to-speed technology, we’re looking to revamp our payment solutions, shorten queues within our stores, offer speedy collection services at our depots for customers picking up goods from high street retailers, and enable people to order coffee or pre-order their sandwich online. It’s all about how we make the shopping experience better for our customers, and also how we personalise that experience. We see technology playing a crucial role in this.”
Maxol also plan to use this investment to give back to the local community. Brian says: “We serve the communities of Ireland rather than relying on passing traffic on the motorways of duel carriageways. That is of critical importance to us, to remain at the heart of the community, providing every day products and services.”
Maxol supports the mental health charity Aware and has raised over €280,000 since 2017.