Big Mac poised to join Texaco war effort


The Times (UK); November 1996

Press Index

TEXACO is mounting a big push to gain market share in the UK petrol retailing market and its secret weapons are burgers, doughnuts and coffee. The American oil company has been in talks with McDonald's and has plans to expand rapidly the number of petrol station sites that contain McDonald's restaurants and drive-through sales units.

Texaco has been hurt badly by the petrol price wars Like its peers it suffered losses as a result of Esso's Pricewatch campaign and the struggle by the oil companies to prevent customers from filling up their tanks at the supermarket. Roger Ebert, managing director of Texaco's downstream business, admits that there were times when its petrol stations were making more from selling newspapers, burgers and sweets than from fuel.

Mr Ebert, who arrived at Texacos London headquarters in January believes now is the time to expand. Texaco has about an 8 per cent share of the petrol retailing market in the UK and wants to move that quickly into double digits. This week he met senior executives from McDonald's who are keen to develop an existing relationship, and Mr Ebert has identified 40 potential sites. "We are the preferred McDonald's partner, he said.

Texaco is mounting its push at a time of turmoil in the industry. The oil company has a huge refinery in Wales, but Britain is awash with cheap petrol and Texaco sells a large part of its product overseas. Mr Ebert believes that more station sites will become available as the industry consolidates, and that food will be a draw. "I see people at my local station in the morning They buy gas, they buy a newspaper, a coffee and a doughnut."

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