Success stories

Developing a channel strategy for Ireland’s largest food and convenience brand

Pathfinder brought the structure we needed and strongly challenged our team, which was critical to our success”

Circle K (formerly Topaz) is the largest food and convenience brand in Ireland, with over 400 stores across the country. This figure contains approximately 280 dealers and 160 Circle K owned sites. Canadian group Alimentation Couche-Tard acquired Topaz in a €400 million deal in February 2016.

The Challenges

Circle K sought to enhance their forecourt offering in the Irish market. It wanted to consider how it could increase the value for Circle K and channel partners, by enhancing its customer offer while also addressing the opportunities and challenges facing the sector on the future of fuel. Up to this point, the company had operated a dealership model.

What We Did

Pathfinder was asked to support Circle K in the development of a channel strategy for the dealer network and also to design and develop the model and plan for a franchise model. The process involved bringing the Circle K team on a journey; building the franchise proposition, and mobilising the team around the future destination of the business. Pathfinder worked with Circle K to put the new processes and operating model in place to support the new franchise offer. The services provided included:

The Outcomes

A new channel strategy was developed and a franchise model for dealers was designed, leveraging Circle K’s understanding of customer needs and the trend towards healthy ‘on the go’ convenience foods from their successfully established Re.Store offer.

Working with Circle K, we achieved clarity around a single strategy that the delivery team and senior management believed in and were excited about. We designed a clear approach to achieve this strategy at an operational level, with targets to measure what a good outcome looks like, workstreams to deliver, and owners to ensure accountability.

Working to very tight deadlines, across multiple functions, up and down multiple levels of the organisation hierarchy, we achieve alignment and mobilised the team to deliver growth at pace. The first sites have now gone live with the first franchise customers. There is a strong pipeline of new sites under consideration with the channel well positioned for future growth.

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