This year is going to be very special, Christmas will come earlier than usual and the festive season will last longer. COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, allowing us to go back to our ‘old ways’ and many of us are looking forward to spending more time at home with our loved ones.
Do you visit Speedway gas station (formerly known as White Horse gas station) in the city on Christmas Day? If so, are you there just to buy a bottle of booze or do you make a point to stop by for a coffee and a steak sandwich?
We all know what happened last year, the gas station was closed on Christmas Day. The owner did not want to risk losing a customer due to the pandemic. Since then, the business has changed quite a bit, adapting to the new environment and the needs of its customers. Today, Speedway gas station is alive and well and open on Christmas Day. The owner is also taking advantage of the situation to put in place some changes that will make the experience even more worthwhile.
Last year, the owner of the station decided to close it down, franchising the business to a new company, which still owns the station. The new owners implemented a number of changes, adapting the business to fit the new environment. They updated the menu, offered more varieties of coffees, added healthier options and started operating in the morning, so more people could use the gas station on Christmas Day. They also changed the name of the business to Speedway, which has the word ‘speed’ in it, to encourage people to visit the station at high speeds (hence the nickname ‘Golden Corral’).
The new owners’ main focus was on customer experience, something that the previous owners lacked. To ensure this, they implemented a loyalty scheme that gives customers points for every purchase that they make at the gas station. These points can then be exchanged for discounted products and special offers. For instance, 1000 points will get you a free medium coffee.
More Options For Drinks
One of the changes that the new owners made was to offer more varieties of drinks, ensuring that their customers have something to choose from. A large coffee machine has been installed, making many varieties of cappuccinos and espressos available. As well as this, they have added a range of teetotaller ales, including craft beers, for those who want something different. They have also beefed up their wine selection, with an emphasis on affordable bottles that will keep, the owners are confident that their customers will love what they have done with the gas station.
New Approach To Shopping
When a business is open on Christmas Day, it puts in place a number of special offers and discounts to encourage people to visit. The owners of the gas station have taken this a step further, creating an environment where they can engage with their customers. A wide array of gifts and food is laid out in a basket near the entrance to the gas station, together with some decorations and balloons. There is also a popcorn machine for those who want to keep their carb intake low. A movie is screened every Sunday afternoon and before closing at 5 pm, the shop owners entertain and engage with their customers.
Mature, Fashionable, Attractive
Let’s be honest, when was the last time that you went into a gas station to buy a drink, only to find a group of drunk teenagers inside trying to steal your car? The new owners of the gas station didn’t want to provide a place for teenagers to hang around, so they set up a picnic area with a grilling station and table tennis tables. In addition to this, they have turned the former storage room next to the bathroom into a cozy, welcoming space, complete with sofas, armchairs and a TV.
To attract a more mature, fashionable, attractive audience, they have implemented a no-steal approach, with security cameras on the entrance and throughout the premises. It is also worth noting that the gas station is fully licenced, with an on-site social worker available to provide support to those who need it. The new owners are confident that this will make a difference in terms of the type of people who visit the gas station, as well as encouraging more people to come forward if they are struggling with addiction issues. Many large chain restaurants have also opted to not to expand in the city, due to the high number of shootings that happen there. This has inevitably led to more violence, which the owners of the gas station are keen to avoid.
Allowing More People To Use The Facility
One thing that the new owners of the gas station have tried to do is to allow more people to use their facility. Last year, the station only offered customers with a purchase to use the bathroom, which didn’t encourage as many people to visit as they might otherwise have done. To encourage more people to use their bathroom, they have installed a couple of hand-sanitizers near the entrance, together with posters and flyers about the risks of contracting COVID-19 from feces and from unwashed hands. In addition to this, they have provided customers with gloves, in case they want to handle their purchases themselves. The station is now equipped with a dedicated bathroom for customers who want to avoid socialising with other people. The new owners are aware that this was a source of irritation for some of their existing customers, who felt that they were being discriminated against because of the pandemic. However, they felt that this was the best way to ensure that their customers stay healthy, especially during this pandemic. The bathroom is also stocked with essentials, such as paper towels, soap and flushes, so that customers can clean up after themselves wherever they are in the city.
More Attractive, Welcoming Environment
To make a more attractive, welcoming environment for their customers, the new owners of the gas station stripped away all of the unnecessary decoration and knick-knacks, leaving a sleek, modern feel. A screen has been installed on the wall near the entrance, providing customers with entertainment and information, in the form of scrolling billboards, showing off their latest special offers and the like. In addition to this, a number of lighting effects have been implemented, changing according to customer behaviour, to ensure that the gas station always looks fresh and vibrant.
Fresh Menu, Healthier Options
Last year, the menu at the gas station consisted of unhealthy greasy spoons and fried chicken joints. The new owners have replaced this with fresh, healthier options, offering customers a salad bar, fish and chips, and handmade pasties and Scotch eggs. In an effort to boost their customers’ health, they have also changed the name of the business to the ‘Healthy Choice’. In addition, they have reduced the amount of fried foods and increased the amount of veggies on the menu. This has resulted in many existing customers opting to change their eating habits and try something new, in an effort to avoid getting sick.
The new owners are also trying to reduce their customers’ carbon footprint, purchasing more eco-friendly and sustainable products. Although this is not always possible, they are opting to make a difference where they can. They have installed energy efficient lightbulbs and reduced their plastic straws and plastic bags, together with their customers.
Enhanced Digital Experience
One of the main focuses of the new owners of the gas station has been to provide their customers with an enhanced digital experience. Customers have to scan their phone at the entrance to gain access to the facility. Once inside, they can choose from a wide variety of foods and select a beverage, all available digitally. The menu and offers are also displayed digitally, with a wide selection of products available for people to purchase. This saves time and effort for customers, with everything available when they want it.
To encourage customers to use their phone and digitally order their food and drinks, the gas station is offering a number of rewards and discounts, displaying digital billboards around the city, together with digital signs in the window. As soon as the customer scans the QR code with their phone, they will see the available rewards and discounts, together with images of the food and drink that they have ordered.
Last year at this time, there was only one kind of coffee available at the gas station – a very weak, diluted version of espresso. The new owners are very passionate about their coffee and have instigated a change, offering more varieties, including a full-bodied Italian drink that will warm those cold winter days. Furthermore, the gas station offers a selection of craft beers and ciders, something that the previous owners were not really into.