Pump and pie: Why food is now fuel’s gold for servos

New-era “food-venience” petrol stations have driven an unprecedented increase in the number of fuel outlets around Perth over the past two years.

New Fuelwatch figures show there were 366 petrol outlets in the city at the end of last year — up 37 (11.2 per cent) on 2016.

Industry sources say it reflects the changing business model that underpins petrol sales.

“The Australian market, including Perth, has also gone through a structural change in the past few years,” Fuelwatch acting manager Ben Derecki said. “The number of new petrol stations has increased as the business model has changed.

“Stagnant fuel sales volumes, international trends in petrol retailing and changes to consumer buying habits has fuel retailers focusing more on ‘food-venience’ and other non-fuel sales to drive profits.

“This has made it more viable for new stations to pop up, even though fuel volumes in the marketplace have not increased and are not likely to increase.”

Mr Derecki said many of the new petrol stations were due to 7-Eleven’s entry into Perth.

In April 2014, 7-Eleven announced its WA plans to open nearly 100 fuel and convenience stores.

“Economic and population growth in WA and boosted demand for convenience stores in the State, has helped make this expansion a reality,” 7-Eleven chief executive Warren Wilmot said at the time.

7-Eleven petrol stations generally also offer fresh food products delivered daily, freshly ground coffee, slurpees, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a range of e-services.

One of Perth’s most distinctive new petrol stations is Fresh Trading Co’s outlet on Great Eastern Highway in Ascot.

The canopy was designed to complement the nearby Terminals 1 and 2 at Perth Airport.

“We have called it the infinity canopy,” Fresh Trading Co operations manager John Wood said. “If you stand in a certain position you will see the shape of the infinity symbol and observe different shapes from different positions.”

Mr Wood said that, as a major truck stop, the outlet had incorporated “ultra high-flow dispensing” to ensure vehicles can be quickly filled.

“We are not just a service station, but a service hub planning for the future of electric vehicles, charging stations, shared ‘on the go’ office space, meeting hubs and accommodation,” Fresh Trading Co operations manager John Wood said.

Despite the “food-venience” trend, it was a no-frills unmanned service station in Forrestfield that was named Perth’s cheapest site for unleaded petrol in 2018.

FastFuel 24/7 had an average of 135.7¢ per litre for the year, followed by United Neerabup on 136.1¢/l and Puma Neerabup on 136.3¢/l.

“Many fuel retailers are expanding their convenience store offerings to consumers to provide another income stream for their business, but it is good for consumers to have a choice of quick pay-at-the-pump sites or those that provide a wider range of services,” consumer protection commissioner David Hillyard said.


Extracted from The West

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