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Fresh food and electricity to pump Circle K profits

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Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K, at the filling station at Dublin Port. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K, at the filling station at Dublin Port. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K, at the filling station at Dublin Port. Photo: Frank McGrath

Fuel and retail chain Circle K is to invest a total of €7m this year to transform the food offering across a significant proportion of its more than 400 Irish sites.

A primary focus of the investment will be the introduction of a high-quality, fresh food on-the-go offer in its current non-deli stores, said Gordon Lawlor, managing director of Circle K Ireland.

Although old favourites such as the chicken fillet roll and the breakfast roll will still be available at the deli, new sandwiches and wraps such as coronation chickpea sandwich, Cajun chicken baguette, New Yorker focaccia romana, jerk chicken & pineapple pumpkin ciabatta, goats cheese wraps and katsu mango chicken wraps are to be introduced.

The new initiative comes as the Canadian-owned service station operator launches a drive to get independent fuel-sellers to sign up to a new Circle K franchise programme.

The new food investment is part of Circle K's preparation for a future where petrol and diesel sales will be a less important part of its profit mix as motorists begin to turn to alternative fuels.

Circle K will also consider taking on the likes of Electric Ireland and Airtricity by becoming a supplier into the wider domestic energy market as electricity becomes a bigger part of its forecourt business.

"We are looking at ways that we would develop that connection with the customer and so we might sell electricity to you at home and brand it Circle K," said Lawlor.

This was one of a number of ideas that the company is currently examining and that it could potentially roll out during the transition to replace the profits that will be lost as the market for petrol and diesel shrinks, Lawlor revealed.

"The future for Circle K is inside the store," the forecourts boss added.

"Regardless of what fuel people buy in the future, they will always want coffee and food.

"We expect our new offering to be a game-changer for convenience retail in Ireland and will enable us to build on our reputation as market leader," Lawlor said.

Sunday Indo Business