Applegreen innovates across the board at Navan Retail Park

Applegreen Navan Retail Park is awash with innovations. They span the store design, eco-friendly features, new technologies and payment solutions, an enhanced food range plus the latest customer service initiatives.

In terms of site design, Applegreen Navan Retail Park showcases a contemporary and unique curved structure with empty glass windows enabling full visibility inside the store. This feature highlights the retailer’s food offerings, its spacious seating area and wide range of facilities and also helps to flood the internal space with light. There’s a variety of seating styles, designed to create a ‘cosy lounge-style environment’; accompanied by plush banquette seating and an external oasis area. The decor and colour palettes perfectly complement the stylish and relaxed setting.

Applegreen Navan Retail Park is trend setting from an environmental perspective too. It is encouraging customers to bring their own coffee cup for refills and has installed a cup washer in-store to facilitate this move. Applegreen reports the service is proving popular with customers, who benefit from a 15% discount; and it is helping to reduce single cup usage waste.

A recycling cart has also been introduced alongside its food offer to further reduce waste and promote recycling among customers; while an eco-friendly car wash harvests and recycles rainwater, which is pumped directly to the carwash.

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Applegreen has invested in new technology, loyalty and payment systems at Navan Retail Park.

Digital screens showcase its own brand food offering, The Bakewell, with new digital menu screens showing tailored offers throughout the day. The screens also enable Applegreen to monitor footfall and demographics throughout the day.

The site also introduces a Charging Table - a state-of-the-art timber mobile charging table with USB and plug sockets, which allows customers to charge their devices at their leisure.

Applegreen’s new Store Management System (SMS), fully rolled out in 2017, has added new capabilities at stores, such as Navan Retail Park. It has improved the speed of service and reduces the average handling time for the customer. The system also facilitates points collection for the retailer’s rewards customers, which they can then redeem against a range of offers; and allows the store to personalize any future communication with customers.

Navan Retail Park also offers new payment tools such as Android and Apple Pay, so customers can make fast, easy payments from their phone or electronic device.

The range of services is second to none at Applegreen Navan Retail Park. They include 24 hour fuel pumps, a full convenience store, indoor and outdoor play area, off-licence, ATM, car park, truck stop, rest rooms, charging table, indoor and outdoor seating for 120 and two car washes.

From a food perspective, there is a wide variety of food offerings available including Burger King, Subway, The Bakewell and Splitz ice-cream. Applegreen Navan Retail Park is also the first Burger King drive thru to open in Navan and has proved very popular with the locals.

Applegreen’s own brand shop and food range has also been extended to include a new sweet line, baked goods, prepared meals and salads. The store also stocks the company’s award winning Gourmet Sausage Roll and Vitality Salad (Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards 2017).

As an Irish company, Applegreen reports it strives to support Irish suppliers and businesses, both across its shop and food offers, and is proud to provide 100% Irish chicken and breakfast products at Navan Retail Park.

Beverages have a fresh focus too with Applegreen Navan Retail Park being the first forecourt retailer in Ireland to install Coca-Cola Freestyle 9000/8000 machines, offering 100+ beverage choices. The machines allow the customer to be in control by creating their own special recipes and introduce an element of fun alongside the Coca-Cola brand, which appeals to the much sought-after younger demographic. According to Applegreen, this move has successfully driven growth in fountain servings, total beverage servings, total store transactions, total store revenue and bottom line.

People development is high up the agenda. Applegreen Navan Retail Park has created over 50 permanent jobs across its forecourt, shop and food offerings. It participates in the company’s Management Development Programme (MDP) - each year, 25-30 rising stars from all different areas of the business are selected to enroll in the Management Development Programme. This gives them the opportunity to train in all aspects of the business encompassing food, leadership, health & safety, financial, people management and customer service.

For those looking to excel as a Barista, Applegreen has partnered with the ETB to deliver a Barista & Customer Service Programme (City & Guild Award, Level 2). This programme is offered to those staff members who are passionate about making great coffee and upskilling in this area of expertise. A new Supervisory Management Programme for 2018 has been introduced. This programme allows staff to upskill so that they are prepared for supervisory roles within Applegreen. A number of its staff at Applegreen Navan Retail Park are taking this course; while two staff members at the site - Liene Mezviete and Laura Gudeliauskaite - have excelled in their career development as managers of The Bakewell and Subway respectively.

Customer service initiatives abound too. The Navan Retail Park team has completed Applegreen’s new internal Customer Service Programme to ensure it constantly delivers on customer expectations.

The format specifications for Navan, meanwhile, included the installation of three tills instead of the standard two in a store of this size, with the goal of improving flow and speed of service for the customer.

Applegreen receives detailed audience measurement data through the digital screens in The Bakewell. This data shows how the customer moves around the store, what they are looking at and how long they remain in the area. This enables the store to tailor the food offer to the local customer and offer day part menus i.e. breakfast/lunch/dinner at the right times, according to specific site traffic.

An independent quarterly Mystery Shopping programme is carried out across the shop and food sections to measure the store’s customer buying experience. Alongside the customer service programmes in Subway (Tell Subway) and Burger King (Guest Track), this ensures the whole site is delivering the highest possible customer service, Applegreen reports.

Since opening, Applegreen Navan Retail Park has outperformed expectations with fuel sales 10% ahead of forecast and shop sales exceeding targets by 15%, mainly driven by impulse purchases.

The site’s food brands have all performed well with Subway up by 56%, Burger King up 36% and The Bakewell up 47%. Overall, food sales are ahead 46%. The innovations at Applegreen Navan Retail Park are clearly bearing fruit.

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