Carronvale Service Station in Larbert, Falkirk, is the first Scottish forecourt to launch the Stone Willy food-to-go concept. Following a major refurbishment by site owners, Certas Energy, the Stone Willy kitchen opened to the public on 3 March, 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 Pizza, 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 the offers of the leading franchise operators.
“We were attracted by the company’s business model and its understanding of our market place,” enthuses Colin Levy, Retail Operations Manager, Certas Energy, “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, and initial results suggest it will be, we will look to swiftly roll-out the concept to other sites in our company network.”
Colin, who manages the Certas Energy company-owned estate comprising 25 forecourts in Scotland, formerly worked for Scottish Co-operative and before joining Certas Energy had spent 18 years with BP where he had responsibility for the roll out of its M & S Simply Food Stores.
“Stone Willy has a fresh and visually impressive look and feel that compliments the Gulf brand,” continues Colin, “and the products are extremely appetising, competitively priced and with very good margins. In our negotiations we also took into consideration our Gulf Dealer network. 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 made a significant investment 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,” concludes Colin. “ 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.”