Bowser Bean Strathfieldsaye is a showcase in innovation

The Bowser Bean concept was launched in 2017 as a way to call out the popular takeaway food and coffee being offered by family-owned business Vantage Fuels. The original location at Strathfieldsaye showed such success, that now four years later, there are 15 Bowser Bean locations across regional Victoria and NSW.

Located on the outskirts of Bendigo, Bowser Bean Strathfieldsaye has been constantly evolving its brand and concept, including enhancing its coffee offer through training and technology, developing its menu, and incorporating high-end café design elements.

Haydn Tierney, Managing Director, Bowser Bean/Vantage Fuels, said that during lockdown the Strathfieldsaye site was a standout for the network, with many locals discovering the café and getting behind the food and coffee offer.

Given the site’s increase in popularity, the decision was made to refurbish the store, with the help of Two-Fold Projects, and create a high-end café and purposeful convenience store.

“The refurbishment provided the opportunity to bring our food, coffee, in-store dining, and convenience up to an industry leading standard. We improved the store layout, food displays, coffee visibility and workflow.

“The café area is a standout allowing customers a pleasant setting for a quick relax and recharge or caffeine charged group catchup. We have also added a hydration station with on demand sparkling and still water. For the kids we have installed a Coca-Cola FCB dispenser.”

While completing the latest refurbishments, Bowser Bean came up with innovative way to continue trading during the renovations process – by deploying a temporary 40-foot, purpose-built shipping container, which enabled Bowser Bean to continue serving its food and coffee to customers while they filled up at the bowsers.

Tierney said not only did the container allow Bowser Bean to continue to trade, but also took the pressure off the build team, ensuring the refurbishments were completely accurate and on time.

The overhauled Strathfieldsaye location is another example of how Bowser Bean has been pushing the boundaries of petrol and convenience (P&C) said Tierney, who sees the site not as a petrol station that sells coffee, but as a café that happens to sell petrol.

“Bowser Bean’s purpose is to make our customer’s day that little bit better. Our patrons can be fueled up, caffeinated, nourished and back into their busy day in a couple of minutes. Or they can savor their barista coffee, use the Wi-Fi and reflect while enjoying the café.”

Being on the edge of Bendigo, Tierney said that Bowser Bean must provide its customers with a convenient food and coffee offer on par with the increasingly cosmopolitan offer of Bendigo CBD, and that this adds value to the Vantage Fuels business.

“The Bowser Bean offer complements and strengthens the traditional components of our business, being P&C. Food and coffee draw new customers to our forecourts and stores while our long-term customers enjoy an expanded convenience offer.”

Despite the new fit-out and technologies in-store, Tierney says the true plaudits are for the efforts of the team.

“No matter how good the fit-out Bowser Bean and Vantage cannot achieve its world class offer without the exceptional service and efforts by our team. It is thus essential that we recruit, develop, reward and retrain a great crew.”

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