Carronvale Service Station in Larbert has become the first Scottish forecourt to launch the Stone Willy food-to-go concept.
Following a major refurbishment of the Gulf site, the Stone Willy kitchen opened to the public on March 3, complete with high speed ovens, dedicated seating area and serving a hot food range that includes pizza, wraps and melts.
The decision to trial Stone Willy, a US business that moved to the UK 10 years ago, was taken after a 12-month review of the food-to-go market and some stiff competition from other leading franchise operators.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a hard choice for Certas Energy. “We were attracted by the company’s business model and its understanding of our market place,” explained Colin Levy, Retail Operations Manager for the forecourt operator. “Add to that the quality, taste and variety of the food range, the speed of service and the family appeal of the products.”
If the trial is a success, Certas will swiftly roll out the concept to other sites.
“In our negotiations we also took into consideration our Gulf Dealer network,” continued Levy. “The forecourt food-to-go market is currently the fastest growing sector within our industry, the revenue potential is excellent and it is important not to be left behind. The set-up costs are almost half those of some franchises and the terms more flexible. We were mindful that some Dealers will be restricted by floor area and capital outlay and that made it important for us to find a solution that could work for the majority, not the minority.”
Certas Energy has pulled out all the stops to ensure that the Stone Willy trial has the best possible chance of success. Staff underwent an intensive training course and the new offering is being heavily promoted on site, to passing traffic, through social media and in the local press.
“There is a real excitement on site and every member of the Carronvale team has bought into the concept,” concluded Levy. “We serve from 6am to 9pm every day of the week, in other words our first Stone Willy Kitchen is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”