June 17, 2021
The forecourt is changing. Everyone knows it.
If you want to compete in the next five, ten or even twenty years, you need a differentiator that sets you apart from the competition.
There is a mad scramble to find that secret sauce to bring people to your stations.
But what if you already had that secret sauce? And what if that sauce was actually Biscoff-crumb sprinkled locally-sourced vanilla ice cream?
I was introduced to Conor McKibbin, the owner of Brennans, by our Customer Success Manager Joe Coulburn. Joe knows I love food, but also that I love outlier operators that have something different about their business.
Brennans as a business is certainly a unique story. Started in the 1930s in Northern Ireland as an ice cream business to use up spare milk from a local farm, it didn’t even become a forecourt until years later.
Conor’s father bought the business back in 1996 and they’ve not only continued the tradition of serving delicious ice cream, but they’ve expanded it to another forecourt and a small fleet of ice cream trucks that can be rented for weddings and other social events.
Conor himself is infectious. He beams when he tells me “We still use the same equipment they were using back in the 1930s. The buying process, the pasteurisation process, the freezing process; it’s all the same.”
As a business they stick to what they do best in serving vanilla only, making sure not to sacrifice the quality by experimenting with new flavours. “We use toppings to create the theatre. On Sunday’s the queue is out the door.”
The toppings is really where Brennan’s comes into its own. Whilst Biscoff is the most popular right now, toppings are seasonal with Creme Eggs at Easter and strawberries and cream representing the tennis season in the summer. Heaven in a cone.
Even more relevant to today’s forecourt industry is the use of social media. With new drivers coming on to the road that have grown up expecting all businesses to have a presence, embracing Instagram and Facebook has really raised their awareness within the community.
As well as being a must-visit for me next time I’m over in Northern Ireland, I feel Brennan’s is a unique offering that all forecourt owners can take notice of.
Get our best content on fuel pricing and retail in your inbox weekly.