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FUEL DAY 2017 IS CONVENIENCE THE NEW LOYALTY in fuel stations? BY SIAN DAVIES We live in an age, where technology is constantly evolving and life has never been simpler. A few years ago ordering a take-away required sifting through a stack of menus. Now, through the Deliveroo app I can access restaurants across London, and the options available expand far beyond typical take-away choices. Smoothies, cookies, salads, sushi are all just a few taps away. I am not ashamed to admit that I love Deliveroo. But, is it the brand itself or the convenience of the service that has me head over heels? Speaking at Big Brother’s 7th annual Fuel Day Professor Steven van Belleghem was in no doubt “convenience is the new loyalty, but the human factor should not be forgotten.” Would Deliveroo still hold the appeal if the product I received was poor, or the service was poor? The event in Ede, 50km south of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, presented cases for both technology and fuel stations as a food and service destination, but are the two ideas compatible or will one outweigh the other? “With the rate technology is evolving it may soon be the car rather than the driver that makes the decision about where to refuel,” explained Prof. van Bellegham. With oil prices stagnating more and more retailers are searching for ways to diversify their income streams. An improved food offer seems to “Fuel stations of the future are going to be proactive, personalised and hyper convenienT.” PROF. Stephen van Bellingham be the most obvious direction, but with technology developing in such a way that consumers may not even need to leave their vehicle, is the investment worth it? In his discussion Food Inspiration’s Frank Linder highlighted the potential for fuel retail sites to become food service destinations. Many retailers are already reaping the benefits. Irish retailer Applegreen have seen profits soar with latest figures showing a 22 percent rise, thanks to their distinctive offering that includes up to six different food retailers at some sites. “Industries are changing and as an entrepreneur you have to think how can I surprise my guest and stand up so people come to me?” explained Linder as he offered insight into trends that are guiding the food industry. Today’s consumers are not satisfied with a packaged sandwich and a Snickers bar. The rise of the ‘foodie’ has resulted in a focus on quality. “Customers want traditional food items but they want them to be better – organic, fresh, innovative,” added Linder. Jacco Heijkoop has built his business on just that – selling the humble toasted sand- 16 erpecnews is published by McLean Events, Conferences and Media Ltd.


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