Meris Food Equipment Testimonial -Shell Service Station Colac

The Client

Shell Colac has proven that you don’t need a kitchen or a large space to build a successful food-to-go offer.

Having worked in the P&C industry for more than 25 years, Owner and Operator John Blazely saw potential in food-to-go and over the past 5 years has built a successful food-to-go offer across his 3 shell service station locations.

Opportunities & Challenges

The majority of service stations are not set up with kitchen facilities or space to cook. They are without Chefs or trained kitchen staff. To build their offer, the team needed compact equipment that was easy to use and safe to operate.

Solution

The team started out small – with a Perfect Fry automated deep fryer and a bain marie.

“One of the key reasons we purchased the Perfect Fry was safety. Deep frying has traditionally been reserved for professional Chefs and trained kitchen staff. With no contact with hot oil, Perfect Fry makes deep frying accessible but also ensures it can be done safely, which is our top priority” explains John.

As food sales grew, so did the equipment line up. Conveniently placed behind the service counter, today you will find the Perfect Fry automated deep fryer, Neumarker round jaffle iron, Spidocook sandwich press, and Merrychef speed oven. No kitchen required – all cooking equipment fits on one small bench.

Results

The variety of food produced in such a small space is simply impressive. Offering a combination of in-store prepared and pre-cooked items, a wide variety of menu items are on offer that attract hungry locals and out-of-towners alike. In-store you can expect to see the old faithfuls including dim sims, potato cakes, pies, and sausage rolls. The offer is elevated with the inclusion of jaffles, toasted sandwiches, and even meals-to-go, including pastas and lasagna. The hot jam donuts are a popular choice (prepared in the Perfect Fryer), and the homemade slab pizza, which draws a crowd and pre-orders!

The refrigerated items are also extensive, including fresh, in-house prepared sandwiches, chicken schnitzel wraps, rolls, salads, slices, and cakes. While fried foods remain the biggest sellers, consumers are increasingly become more health conscious. John noticed this shift with his customers and identified the opportunity to expand their offer further.

“Potato chips and confectionary aren’t as popular as they once were. Many of our customers would prefer to grab a fruit salad as a side to their lunch or yoghurt as a quick snack. So, we have added in these options”.

With a growing menu, John saw the need to upgrade their food display cabinets. The Unis Thaya hot food display and refrigerated cabinet were chosen. The multi-tiered design, offers more display space, allowing operators to offer more variety within a small footprint.

Image of the commercial cooking equipment on bench.

Refrigerated food display at Shell Colac.

Key Takeaways

Discovering ways to reduce food wastage has also been key to their success. But John urges operators to not fear waste.

“You’ve got to have some food waste to grow. You need to be consistent and put your offer out there for customers to catch on and continually purchase. Overtime, through trial and error, and
learning more about what the customers want, you’ll get more efficient and waste will naturally reduce.

Making the most out of our ingredients has also been beneficial in reducing waste and keeping food costs down. For example, we will make a Mexican-inspired pizza, and then use these ingredients for our jaffles and our ready-meals”.

What is John’s advice to other service stations considering a food offer?
“If you’re not in hot food now, you are 5 years behind. Just go for it and dip your toe in, remember you don’t have to do everything all at once.

We went from $600 to now $5,000 in food a week!

I can’t recommend Meris enough for anyone wanting to build or expand more into food-to-go. I’ve known the Meris team for a number of years now and the service has always been second to none. What strikes me the most is they never forget about you. You’re a customer for life. Even if you don’t purchase anything for some time, they always take the time to call if they come across a new product or idea that may help you and your business. They really want to see their customers succeed”.

Click to download Shell Colac Case Study

Testimonial

"We went from $600 to now $5,000 in food a week!"

- John Blazely, Store Owner & Operator, Shell Service Station, Colac