Maxol to transform from a fuel-driven business to a food service and convenience-led model

  • CEO unveils €100m investment plan for expansion of food business including own-brand range 
  • Significant focus on tech improvements

Leading, family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer Maxol announced a €100m investment in the redevelopment of its service stations across the country.  The long established company has already invested €128m in its network between 2012 and 2017, with a further €100m investment confirmed for additional redevelopments by 2020.

CEO of The Maxol Group, Brian Donaldson, who has been at the helm since 2016, announced details of the latest investment figures and immediate plans for the business, including the rollout of the new look in-store design, ROSA Coffee brand and expanding its food range and convenience offering through its new Maxol Deli and own label range.

In 2019, the company is investing €37m in its network, including large redevelopments in Maxol Enniscorthy, which was completed in March, Maxol Dolphins Barn in Dublin, which is underway and Maxol Clarecastle,  in Mayo, which is scheduled for completion in August following a €4m investment. In Dublin, Maxol has completed redevelopments this year at Harold’s Cross, Turvey, M3 Mulhuddart, Ballycoolin, Mespil Road, Lucan and Adamstown, with plans for the new-look at Maxol Sandyford due to be completed in June 2019.

CEO Brian Donaldson said, “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. This hasn’t happened overnight; we have been investing heavily in the redevelopment of our service stations right across Ireland for the last number of years and the hard work is paying off, leading to strong trading performance. Maxol remains as ambitious as ever and we are constantly looking at ways we can differentiate, diversify and evolve.”

Food v Fuel model

Over the last seven years, Maxol has been paving the way to a more healthy and fresh food offering with multiple options, increasing the choice for customers and growing its share of income from food. This is evident through the introduction of additional dining options that give customers more choice across different times of the day, including Freshly Chopped, Abrakebabra, Zambrero and Insomnia, the new-look Maxol Deli and the advent of Maxol’s own-brand range, which will include pre-packed sandwiches, salad bowls, milk and water.

ROSA Coffee

With 4.35m cups of coffee sold by Maxol in 2018 and the coffee-to-go market forecasted to be worth €176m by 2020, the family company has launched its new, exclusive coffee brand – ROSA. Roasted in Ireland, the exclusive blend contains 100% Fairtrade Arabica coffee beans and follows a €1.7M investment in the brand by the company.  A new advertising campaign for ROSA coffee will launch on the 22nd April across outdoor, radio and social media. Maxol was one of  the first retailers to offer 100% compostable cups and lids and the company is installing compostable and recyclable bins across its service stations to support customers’ recycling efforts.

Maxol own-label launching this year

Mr. Donaldson also announced that the company is gearing up to launch a number of own-label products this year, including own-brand milk, water, firelighters and fire logs. This is in addition to a new pre-packed sandwich range launching in May. The food service market is currently worth €7.8 billion and is expected to reach €9 billion by 2020.

Futureproofing Maxol

Maxol’s primary objective is to transition from a fuel brand selling convenience products to a convenience food service brand selling fuel and new energies for mobility.  But the company is also diversifying in other ways, including in its fuel offering. By providing a mosaic of different types of fuel including more bio-friendly fuels and other lower emission fuels, Maxol is ensuring it caters to every driver’s needs. With electrification also gathering momentum, Maxol is ensuring its forecourts have an infrastructure in place to support greener motoring. By the end of this year, it is planned that up to six of Maxol’s service stations in city centre locations in Dublin, Cork and Galway will have charging points.

Maxol also has its eye on technological changes according to Mr. Donaldson, “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.”

The need for carwashes will never dissipate and the carwash is an important part of the company’s business.  Maxol has installed cashless carwashes at 18 of its service stations, through its partnership with mobility solutions specialist, easytrip; easyWash is a drive-in car wash and go solution for customers, without the need to get out of their car.  A further 15 easyWash locations will follow over the coming months.

Community presence

Finally, and perhaps one of Maxol’s main reasons for its success is that most of the sites are neighbourhood and community stores. “We serve the communities of Ireland rather than relying on passing traffic on the motorways or dual carriageways. That is of critical importance to us, to remain at the heart of the community, providing every day products and services. In doing so, we are retaining a large portion of our loyal customer base, regardless of the affect the future of electric, or other market changes, might have on the business.  Our service stations are run by local people for local people, employing local people and that has been our business model for almost 100 years.”