Store Review: Vantage Fuels

Founded in 1985 Vantage Fuels is an independently owned BP retailer operating in regional Victoria and NSW.

In 2017, Vantage Fuels differentiated itself from traditional fuel and convenience retailers by introducing its cafe brand ‘Bowser Bean’ to showcase its exceptional food and coffee offer. Now operating at ten locations and with more coming online, Bowser Bean provides an inviting, convenient and comfortable space for customers to recharge and plan their day or grab something on the go.

“The Bowser Bean brand resonates with our customers and states that we are more than just a servo” said Marketing Manager, Haydn Tierney.

“Customers know that they can visit Bowser Bean for great coffee and food.”

Bowser Bean is also well known for its value driven specials. Offers include $2 Egg & Bacon Muffin Mondays, $5 Burger Wednesdays and Coffee Hero – 4x coffees for only $10.

“Local customers know each deal and will seek out our locations on a Monday for a muffin. The same goes for Burger Wednesday, the whole town knows the best burgers are available at Bowser Bean and they know on Wednesday they’re only $5.”

As the name suggests, coffee is a passion for Bowser Bean. “We have devised a system to ensure consistent, quality coffee through investing in hardware, quality ingredients and training” Mr Tierney said.

“Customers are much more savvy and have higher expectations of coffee so there’s no point serving substandard cofree or ‘drain cleaner’ as we call it”.

To match its premier food and coffee offer, Bowser Bean is pushing the envelope when it comes to store fitouts. The brand believes in creating attractive dining areas to enjoy its delicious food offer.

“Bowser Bean fitouts take inspiration from premier international food and convenience outlets as well as from Melbourne’s unique café scene” Mr Tierney said.

“The resulting look and feel of the shops really does take the customer by surprise and inspire confidence in the food and coffee offer,” he said.

“We also try to have phone charging points and free wifi at our locations to encourage customers to take their time. We’re more than just takeaway; we want the customer to be able sit down and enjoy their meal in comfortable surrounds.”

Bowser Bean has leveraged social media to communicate its message of quality food and coffee. With over 1000 Facebook and Instagram followers, Bowser Bean Marketing Coordinator, Matt Gronow has been pleasantly surprised by the high engagement of social media posts. A recent Facebook post regarding a newly reopened and refurbished site in Kyabram achieved a reach of over 10,000 people and substantial engagement and post comments. “It was like everyone in the town was putting in their 2 cents about this great new café that’s inside the BP servo” commented Mr Gronow.

Bowser Bean has utilised social media to build marketing content. The 2018 “Where Have You Bowser Bean” promotion involved customers posting scenic pictures of their Bowser Bean coffee cups. The lucky promotion winner from Euroa won a $2000 Flight Centre voucher.

The spectacular images harvested from the “Where Have You Been” promotion have been reprinted as collages that feature in the new Bowser Bean fitouts.

Bowser Bean and Vantage saw out 2018 with an epic staff party at the Bendigo Beach Races. This premier Bendigo horse racing event served as an occasion to present the winner of the Vantage / Bowser Bean “Scratch For Splash” Waverunner promotion.

The Beach Races also provided an opportunity for Vantage to recognise and applaud the fundraising efforts of its team for the Make A Wish Foundation.

Bowser Bean and Vantage Fuels are avid supporters of the Make A Wish Foundation. “We do a lot with the Make a Wish Foundation, and in the past decade we’ve raised over $500,000”.

“It’s a good charity because it’s a fantastic cause and it galvanises our team for a common goal,” Mr Tierney said.

“Outside of charity, we love to get involved with local sporting clubs and groups, they’re often community hubs.”

Mr Tierney said a great initiative of Bowser Bean last year were coffee pop ups at local football games.

“It’s a great branding exercise; we turn up with a truck and a tent and a coffee machine and we set up a portable coffee shop,” Mr Tierney said.

“The coffee pop exercise is a great way to expose our brand and coffee to new customers. Also, patrons at footy games are usually pretty excited to get their hands a quality brew as there generally is not much of offer”

2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Vantage and Bowser Bean with more locations and refurbishments scheduled. Bowser Bean has been a successful exercise for Vantage Fuels in what is becoming a very competitive petrol and convenience landscape. “We always thought we were more than just your average servo, but now our customers know this too”, said Mr Tierney.



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