What do you buy at the service station? 13% of Australians say they often visit the service station to buy something other than petrol.
As far back as 2006, ANZ Economics reports stated at least 16% of service station sales were for non-fuel items, and contributed the majority of station profits.
Sanford Bernstein analyst Richard Clarke says that across petrol stations worldwide, “There are huge variations in the percentage of total food retail done.” While 14% of food in the USA comes from petrol station convenience stores, the figure is barely 2.7% of food in the UK.
Most service stations now serve at least the following goods and services:
- Fuel and gift cards;
- Newspapers and magazines;
- Lubricants such as transmission oil, gear oil and engine oil;
- Solvents such as turpentine;
- Car washing and trailer hire.
Another common purchase is a cup of brewed coffee. Nearly every petrol station brand has entered this coffee war begun by 7-Eleven. Who will win the war? You might have to taste them all to decide!
In the meantime, here’s what you can pick up from some of the service stations that ranked in Canstar Blue’s recent Service Stations Customer Satisfaction survey.
This year’s winner for most satisfied customers – service station, United Petroleum has its own range of United Products including Sweeten Up confectionery, Drink Up water, and United brand sports balls. It has its own Café UP, accompanied by the more unconventional Tech UP section that sells phones and other electronic gadgets.
Their car wash facilities even come in two different shapes: the U Wash self-serve car wash and the Wash UP automated car wash.
7-Eleven has made itself famous for a few exclusive products including Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Slurpee frozen drinks. National Free Slurpee Day on 7 November (7/11) has really put this petrol station on the map for Gen Y Aussies!
7-Eleven was the first to offer an in-house coffee in 1964, and now sells a $1.00 self-service regular size ground coffee. However, this now struggles to compete against the more upper-class lattes you can get at BP.
7-Eleven was also the first station to operate 24 hours a day and sell super-size slushee drinks. They also sell pizza, pies and toasted sandwiches.
7-Eleven reported in 2014 that 86% of franchise operators were highly satisfied with running a 7-Eleven station.
BP is undoubtedly famous for its coffee to go. All BP Connect stores have a Wild Bean Cafe. The coffee is made by trained baristas using Italian coffee machines with 100% UTZ Certified Fairtrade coffee beans.
BP also has everything from food and drink to groceries, CDs and DVDs, prepaid mobile top-ups, sunglasses, magazines and newspapers.
Caltex’s retail store is Star Mart, which features Gourmet To Go sandwiches. Their coffee offering is Caffé Aurora, but it’s not available at every station.
These co-branded Caltex stations each contain a Woolworths grocery store – handy for those last-minute groceries on the way home.
Caltex Woolworths has attempted to catch up on the coffee front with their $1.00 cup of ‘I Love Woolworths Coffee’.
Coles Express has more than just groceries. They also offer ‘Everyday’ bargains on the most commonly purchased items, from pasta and tea bags to paper towels and baby wipes.
In an attempt to take over the coffee war from 7-Eleven and BP, Coles Express introduced an 80 cent barista-brewed coffee called Expresso To Go. The coffee is made from 100% locally roasted Arabica coffee beans selected by World Barista Judge Justin Metcalf.
Shell has its own Deli2Go brand of gourmet snack foods including quiche and oatmeal.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in 2014, Shell petrol stations saw more stability in their sales for hot dogs and coffee than for fuel. Retail sales for non-fuel items in Shell’s 45,000 stations worldwide earned them $7.33 billion last year, and that is expected to rise in 2015.
Some Shell stations in Norway now sell over 1,000 hot dogs every day.