‘Coffeelab can lift our service stations to a higher level’

THE BOSCH – A weak cup of coffee; In the year 2022, we no longer know it in the world of tank shops. Everyone agrees that a stop along the way should be provided with good coffee, with or without an enthusiastic barista behind the bar. And that means the menu also extends beyond black coffee and cappuccino. All flavors, milk types and varieties are presented. Hanex Hospitality Group recently acquired Coffeelab, which offers many options for the company’s sixteen service stations.

Concepts such as Coffeelab are not new to Hanex Hospitality Group. Villy and Kwartiertje are other examples that the company has already marketed as a catering formula. Rob van Herpen, director of the Hanex Hospitality Group, talks about what the acquisition means for the company and how we will see Coffeelab back on the streets under their flag.

When I think of the Hanex Hospitality Group, I do not immediately think of a company that invents and takes over catering concepts. What’s up with that?
“We are originally a company that runs petrol stations. We have added opportunities for car washing, and catering also plays an increasingly important role. Last year, we took the step to the restaurant industry. The core of our business is that we want to make a positive impact on people’s lives. It sounds very big, but I like to keep it small. So give guests a moment of joy when they come to us. This has always been the approach, whether you are an employee or a guest. Real hospitality mentality. To this day, it is still my belief that guests not only buy products or services, but also want to have a distinctly positive feeling – a moment of happiness – after a visit with us. Wherever it may be. “

A few weeks ago it was announced that your coffee chain has taken over Coffeelab. How did it get in your way?
“I have known the three owners for a few years and they have helped me set up the catering department of the Hanex Hospitality Group with The Villy. They have been closely involved in this and have introduced me to the world of hospitality. Running a catering business in the heart of Amsterdam is very different from running a village gas station. Ultimately, that’s where our strength lies: bringing the village to the city. That collaboration felt so good and one led to the other. The three owners will continue to play an important role within Coffeelab and our company, they are, after all, the experts in catering and coffee. ”

What is the added value of Coffeelab for you?
“Behind the scenes, we are already working together, and we tackle things together. Now we need to merge the companies more, even though each brand will keep its own identity in front. Second, of course, the bridge with our full-service stations, which are important to us. We see that visitors to gas stores find convenience and catering increasingly important.
Coffeelab can take our service stations to the next level with the knowledge and experience they have with coffee. Like our petrol stations, the five branches are heavily trafficked locations with their central location close to the train stations. The potential of these places lies in exceeding expectations. Make each contact a special moment. This is only possible by expressing the unique DNA of the environment, because guests feel that their needs have been carefully considered. It is a good idea to continue at our petrol stations. ”

How will we meet this in practice?
“Of course in the gas shops, but I do not want to say too much about it yet. Until now, coffee was always an afterthought at our locations, Coffeelab knows exactly what beans we should have and responds to the experience. It will simply also ensure revenue growth. ”

How important is coffee in the gas store?
“Ten or fifteen years ago, it was difficult to find a good cup of coffee on the road, but it has gotten much better. Also at our locations. What you notice grows and the coffee offer is a good example of this. It is an important theme for guests in our stores, also because of the feeling they get when they come to the place. For example, we have a barista in locations with the Kwartiertje catering concept. If Coffeelab is rolled out to the service stations, whose plans are still very early, there will definitely be someone who prepares and serves the coffee. ”

You certainly also have the terms Kwartiertje and The Villy. Will anything change now that Coffeelab has been added?
“No, definitely not. Villy is a really cool and unique concept that goes beyond just catering. You see large apartment complexes in Randstaden and there is often a desire to establish a coffee bar on the ground floor. We continue with our concept; Villy is a combination of village and town.We want to bring the village feel back to the town and be a point of contact for all residents with the associated services.You can think of jobs, concierges, a small gym or a pick-up point for packages.We look at the wants and needs of This year we will also do the same in The Hague and Rotterdam, because the concept is a success. neighbor barbecue or chess tournaments.Coffeelab does that too, just in a different way.The question we ask ourselves at the gas stations is: how can we create the connection to the neighborhood? We have always focused at full-service locations, including car washes, food and beverages. And we can do much more; we can use that development at The Villy and Coffeelab at the gas stations. I am also thinking of other forms of energy, such as solar panels.
Can we not share the generated power or use it in another way? We are also locally active, and it’s not just about maintenance and food, but also collaborating with the regional hairdresser and supporting the sports club. In short, big steps are being taken to increase local involvement. ”

In addition to further developing these concepts, what is the ambition of the Hanex Hospitality Group?
“In the hospitality industry, it means growing with The Villy, Kwartiertje and Coffeelab. We are working on new locations and want to expand the Coffeelab brand further. At the gas stations, we will focus more on a complete full-service station for the neighborhood. We want to be a part of people’s daily lives: for refueling, washing or a drink, but in even more areas. And then the revenue: We will become less dependent on fuel and focus on new energy. Although the current delivery times are not easy. Car washing is also crucial for us, and we hope to be able to renew ourselves with the next year by washing more circularly. Although we have traditionally been a Brabant company, we are opening branches in Gelderland and North and South Holland. Go further inland? That’s not our ambition, but I’m not saying it will not happen. The location must suit us. ”

Source: Out.of.Home Stores

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