Nine in 10 drivers will choose which service station they stop at based on their favourite fast food outlet, new research from Europcar suggests.
However, despite fast-food chains topping the chart for the most in-demand service station food outlets, drivers chose Tebay (on the M6) and Gloucester (on the M5) services as their top choice of service station.
Hailing from the same family-owned business – Westmorland – both stations offer drivers an alternative to the typical service station fare - selling fresh, locally sourced produce to take away or enjoy in the farm shop-style café.
But with 97 service stations currently operating on UK motorways, it seems that the traditional services offering fast-food, petrol and shops are here to stay, says Europcar.
“Fast-food joints are often a hit for the whole family, even the most unadventurous eaters among us,” said the resident chef on ITV’s This Morning, Phil Vickery.
“Though fast-food at the nearest service station may be a welcome treat for families on the road this summer, sometimes we just want something a little healthier.
“They may be few and far between but services – such as Tebay and Gloucester – are now reacting to the public’s asks for fresh, wholesome food to energise them on their journey. Let’s hope in future there are many more service stations on the UK’s motorways offering quality food on the move.”
More than a third of drivers said the choice of a variety of places to eat is the most important thing to them when visiting a service station. However, for 64% of motorists the cleanliness of the bathrooms is top of their wish list for their chosen service station. Indeed, clean toilets are vital as more than seven in 10 drivers surveyed by Europcar admitted that they only take a break on a long journey when they need the toilet.
The importance of taking regular breaks on long journeys doesn’t, however, seem to be recognised by the majority of UK motorists. Just 16% said they factor in a stop on a long journey every two hours. And a quarter said they only stop to use the toilet and then continue their journey as quickly as possible – which probably means they are not having a good rest.
“Long journeys in the car can be tiring, so it’s important that drivers give themselves a chance for a decent break”, said Gary Smith, managing director of Europcar UK Group.
“Using a vehicle that has all the latest motoring technology and is fully maintained and regularly serviced is also important for a stress-free journey, which is why we encourage holidaymakers to leave the family car at home and hire for the big summer trip.”