The Park family of businesses has launched its new back court retail concept, Fletch & Co, with brand values that focus on exceptional customer service, barista quality coffee, competitive pricing, and cleanliness.
Park is a proudly Australian-owned and family operated fuel importing business that was established by the Fletcher and Honan families in 1991 as a viable alternative to the four major oil companies. It has a long history of supplying fuel to independent service stations and even had a hand in the creation of E10 fuel. The business is now owned exclusively by the Fletcher family under the direction of CEO, Brett Fletcher.
Enhance is the retail division of the Park family business with six owned sites, 24 branded sites, and eight 24-hour diesel stops along the eastern seaboard. Its sites stretch as far down as Melbourne and as high up as Brisbane, but its nucleus is in the Illawarra region.
Enhance Corrimal, which launched in February, is the first site to have the complete Enhance forecourt and Fletch & Co back court offerings. The strategy now is to upgrade the remaining owned sites, beginning with Kiama and Robertson. At these sites, initially the back court will be flipped to Fletch & Co, with the forecourts to be upgraded over the next two years.
Paul Ormerod, Chief Commercial Officer, said he wants Enhance to become famous for its customer experience.
“I’ve created within the business three Enhance brand values, and they are that we are always competitively priced on fuel, that the facilities are always clean, tidy and safe, and the third is that we are always in stock,” says Ormerod.
“We want to be better than everyone else at customer service and so everything we do is very customer centric. Every time you touch Park, Enhance or Fletch & Co, I want you to leave and say the experience was excellent. That’s my passion.”
To achieve these high levels of customer satisfaction, Ormerod has created a set of brand values for Fletch & Co, including clean and tidy toilets, barista quality coffee and freshly baked goods ready within two minutes.
Service stations are not traditionally renowned for the cleanliness of their toilets, so to achieve their goals, the toilets at Enhance sites are quality checked every 15 minutes.
“We’re not a major and want to be recognised as the best independent. That is really where we’re trying to get our niche,” said Ormerod.
The greatest challenge for Enhance is ensuring the 24 sites that are not company owned are living up to the Enhance brand values. To achieve this, they have recently employed a full time Enhance Account Manager who visits each site once a quarter with a 100-point checklist to safeguard company expectations.
“I’ve got six owned sites where my staff are properly trained, they all wear the uniform, they all know exactly what to do so that the level of service is properly executed. The challenge is that I then have 24 branded sites that aren’t operated by my staff, so they aren’t trained in the same way and they don’t live the brand values, so I need those sites to come up to the minimum standards.”
But Ormerod says this challenge is also the brand’s greatest opportunity, as he has been receiving an influx of enquiries from independent service stations wanting to have their sites flipped to Enhance.
“We have the ability to grow really quickly but that is a challenge in terms of making sure our Enhance brand is maintained.”
Winning in customer service
The updated Enhance forecourt at Corrimal includes all four of Enhance’s fuel offerings at each bay and a separate high flow diesel section for big trucks.
“It’s all about being a safe, easy, undercover, clean and tidy experience,” says Ormerod.
Inside, the retail store is a bright and inviting cross between a café and a service station, with plenty of opportunity for impulse purchasing.
“We’ve included aisle interrupters with things like healthy snacks or ice creams, so it’s similar to somewhere like JB Hi Fi where they make you walk through the carousel, and it’s quite innovative for a service station.”
Building customer relationships and encouraging people to shop more frequently are key priorities and so when the Corrimal site opened, they gave away free coffee for a month to keep customers coming back and to get them hooked on the barista quality coffee.
“Park is a family business and we’ve been in this community for 30 years, so we really want to engage with our customers. We will greet them by name and ask them about their day, all those things to make it more than just a transactional interaction.
“The metrics that I look at within retail are that I’d like people to be coming in more frequently. I want them getting hooked on things like our coffee, hence why we gave it away for free for a month.
“Average order frequency is the thing that I’m trying to attract and ultimately I want to try and raise their basket or average order value.
“As a business we have tripled our size in 10 years, which is fantastic. The challenge that I’ve got is making sure that the profit mirrors the volume, and that’s what I’m striving to do.
“I see service stations becoming more important to the community, so we’ve all got to lift our game. We’re never going to be a supermarket, but we’ve got to be better than the service stations of old.
“We also need to be thinking about future technology and how we could embrace it. With electric cars, they obviously take a little while to charge so you need to give customers something to do while their cars are charging. We need to be thinking about things like that in terms of the facilities we can provide.
“I think service stations are going to become known for different things as we all start to evolve. I would like to be known as having great barista coffees, hot food, and great toilets. Everyone is going to have their place and it’s going to evolve quite quickly.”