Consumer dining habits are changing – more and more consumers are opting for food on the go, and hospitality outlets are having to change their approach in order to cater towards this.

“Consumer demands for greater convenience are inexorable, as evidenced by the rapid growth of online ordering, curbside service, and immediate delivery,” said Adam Romo, CEO of Eatzi’s Market & Bakery. “They want upscale, restaurant-quality food, and they want everything they could order from a menu in a grab-and-go option.”

Z Energy teamed up with Retail Dimension (RD), an end-to-end service provider of retail spaces, with a goal to create an innovative solution for customer experience on-site. They wanted to focus on the utilisation of space, wayfinding, communication, and product and service display. ‘The Hub’ was created in order to streamline customers food and beverage experiences at Z Stations, while taking up a minimal amount of space. The Hub is a 360° café space, lined with cabinet food and with a barista working within.

“This rapid prototyping for Z Energy is the first of its kind, having taken inspiration from both global fuel stations and various other retail stores,” said Katie Hickmer, group marketing manager of RD. “Every day we are seeing more brands turning traditional models on their heads. The likes of the Commercial Bay development is seeing spaces turned inside out, creating more al fresco dining experiences. Z Energy has its own unique strategy, and it’s important that we fully understand and engage in their long-term thinking.”

The Hub is focussed on presenting fresher and healthier food offerings. It looks to provide fast and convenient food suitable to ‘grab and go.’ Furthermore, the upgrades extend the possibilities of what they can offer. Given the in-depth exploration and thorough design development of this project, the main challenges were installing The Hub during trade hours with minimal disruption and manufacture within a tight time frame. “When working in any busy retail environment, we have to consider and manage any risks which include health, safety and engineering.”

The fuel industry is very much in a transitioning phase. “All stations will be watching this space as they each chart their future; convenience for customers, physical footprint, and how consumers engage with the services offered to them.” RD is no stranger to the industry, having worked previously on a variety of quick service fit-outs in the past, such as Bazaar and Mumbai Express, workplace cafés for Vodafone, Z Energy and Westpac and display joinery for Moët, Louis XIII and Church Road.