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    The rise of café in convenience

    General Manager of Meris Food Equipment, Michael Brick words it perfectly when he says, “10 years ago, it wasn’t common to be able to get a decent coffee or a light meal, other than a meat pie, at a petrol station or a convenience store, unless it was a regional roadhouse”.

    Gone are the days, when on a road trip you would mutter the words, “I guess I’m only going to have a packet of chips and a soft drink for lunch, because that’s all they (petrol stations) will have.”

    While I’m sure some people never complained about that option, the bar is now set incredibly high for cafes in petrol stations.

    Bowser Bean Café Marketing Manager Matt Gronow agrees with Mr Brick’s sentiment that some time ago, you wouldn’t have thought about purchasing quality food or beverages at the servo.

    Quality coffee wanted

    Director of Jomeis Fine Foods, Vicki Nguyen discusses with Convenience World the huge trend that is coffee and how it’s evolved throughout cafes.

    Ms Nguyen says that on average 9.2 cups of coffee per person, per week is consumed.

    “Once upon a time, it was barista milk and skinny milk, now we have lactose free, soy, almond coconut, oat, macadamia milks available, and the list is growing.

    “Cafes have had to shift to accommodate the demands of all the various plant-based milk options.”

    On the go, the way to go

    When listing through what he says are the current major trends in cafes, Mr Gronow notes food to go.

    “It is likely we will see the majority of cafes place greater emphasis on pre-prepared meals to go, so that less customers are dining in (Covid related) and more customer turnover.”

    Mr Brick also discusses the idea of taking advantage of the food to go trend.

    “Because petrol and convenience operators are realising that food to go generates great returns – our client Vantage Fuels, Victorian-based multi-site operator, has demonstrated the advantage of a strong focus on food during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    To read the full feature on the evolution of cafes in the P&C channel click here for Convenience World November/December issue.

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