Petrol station forecourt owners are flocking to install new margin-making catering equipment as they seek to strengthen their convenience offering with new concepts.
That’s the view of Malibu Corporation, which claims to have doubled its sales of soft ice cream machines to the forecourt sector in the first six months of 2015.
The Manchester-based supplier says that so far this year it has sold twice as many ice cream machines to petrol stations as it did in the same period last year and even admits it has struggled to maintain stock levels due to the demand.
Malibu’s marketing manager, Kate Keating, says that with a mark-up of more than 700%, soft ice cream is one of the closest items to coffee in terms of profit but it appeals to a much wider target market.
“Following the huge success of coffee stations, there has been a growing trend of retailers investing in the award-winning self serve soft ice cream machines,” she said.
“As forecourt owners celebrate George Osborne’s decision to freeze fuel duty in the budget this year, many are planning for the future and increasing their investments into both their sites and their convenience offering. With the ever-tight margins on fuel and fierce competition from supermarket petrol stations, more and more business owners are finding new innovative ways to draw customers to their sites.”
Malibu’s self-serve model dispenses a set portion at the touch of a button and can be fitted with a coin-operated mechanism or a wired remote for added control.
Its self-pasteurising function has been especially popular with staff as it reduces cleaning from twice a week to once a fortnight and reduces wastage by up to 75%. Smaller sites struggling for counter-space have also been able to accommodate the company’s compact machines.
“We’ve worked hard to improve and expand our range of machines to suit more business types and it’s great to see it paying off, especially in this sector,” added Keating.
Malibu Corporation is a family-run company that has been selling ice cream machines for over 30 years. It is an approved supplier for Costcutter Retail Group and provides equipment to other large symbol groups such as Spar, Budgens and Londis.