Store Review: Mood Food Kempton

Mood Food Kempton, owned by Bennett’s Petroleum, already had a strong belief in the quality of its offerings. However, being named the Australian Association of Convenience Stores’ (AACS) 2023 Overall Store of the Year, as well as 2023 Independent Store of the Year, was a wonderful acknowledgement of its success.

“It was a confirmation that our company’s direction was the correct one. Which was to build a spacious integrated structure that blends into the physical environment, while cooking and preparing quality fresh food for the travelling market,” explained Troy Bennett, CEO of Bennett’s Petroleum Supplies.

For Bennett, winning the award gave him confidence that he was making more correct decisions than wrong decisions daily.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and couldn’t be happier for all concerned employees, suppliers, and Tasmanians.”

The open-planned colonial-style homestead service station effortlessly integrates the local environment into its design, with a dog run, football field, basketball and netball rings, all incorporated into Mood Food Kempton’s footprint.

“The site offers a sense of freedom, peace, and vacation for the travelling market, while still offering a local café for the community to gather. There are many comfortable seats to talk, share a bite to eat or drink, and relax internally and externally.”

Located in the small colonial town of Kempton, which is registered as a classified historic town, about 40 minutes north of Hobart, it is a perfect place for travellers looking to explore a beautiful place littered with architectural delights.

While those travellers explore, they need somewhere to refresh, wind-down, and maybe do a bit of exercise, and with Mood Food Kempton offering 20 parks in front of the store and 50 behind it, there is ample space for customers who want to enjoy what Mood Food and Kempton have to offer.

“Customer needs and wants are always shifting. They want the freshest, cheapest product as quickly as possible, with the least resistance as possible.”

Bennett explained that while healthy options are popular, particularly from females, the bottom line is that when people are travelling, they generally want comfort food, which means Mood Food attempts to provide for as many tastes and cravings as possible.

Food for the mood

Being in the heartland of Tasmania, a state that has some of the best and freshest produce in the country, it’s no surprise that Mood Food Kempton takes advantage of that unique positioning.

A wide range of both hot and cold foods are on offer, from fried foods to salads, to roasts and doughnuts, to hamburgers and fish, Mood Food caters to all tastes.

“All of our roasts are cooked on-site, and therefore all of our sandwiches and rolls have fresh meats inside. Our fish is all battered by hand and our hamburgers are made by hand using fresh mince. The chickens are all free-range from Tasmania and our coffee is also roasted here in Tasmania, which is paired perfectly with our doughnuts, made freshly each day.”

Featuring three point of sale registers, booth seating at the front of the store to catch the morning light, and gas-flamed heating inside, there is a place to sit, relax and enjoy your meal or beverage no matter the weather.

Lending itself to the colonial style of the town, Mood Food is somewhat of a throwback to a time when people were more connected to each other than their mobile phones, something that Bennett is well aware of.

“People need face-to-face connections. As the world becomes more automated, people will seek out these connections from as many sources as possible. Therefore, convenience stores will play a leading role in not only providing essential services and products, but also providing the communication and care that humans need.”

New Sunrise

As part of the New Sunrise network, Mood Food Kempton benefits from the services and support it provides. But Steve Cardinale, Managing Director of New Sunrise, also recognises the tireless work that its members put in.

“They are often first to open and last to close, particularly in times of distress in their communities. They continue to inspire, innovate, and support their communities every day. They have demonstrated to be true leaders of the industry, and looking back on a challenging retail landscape, particularly over the last 24 months, they have been agile, nimble, and led with strong food and coffee offers, which has set them in good stead for future growth.”

Bennett also recognised the importance of having New Sunrise in being able to help Mood Food Kempton improve its standard and offer over the past 15 years, with the team working hard to ensure Mood Food offers the best quality price as well as best quality service.

“New Sunrise has been really important for us because we are seen as a regional area in Tasmania, and therefore we aren’t necessarily able to negotiate with suppliers as well as some companies in major cities can. But through New Sunrise, being a national program, we get the benefit of what big city convenience stores get by piggybacking off the back of great negotiations by the New Sunrise team.”

This article originally appeared in the June/July issue of Convenience & Impulse Retailing magazine, which is available online here.

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