VIVO Café at the UPG Gas Stations: when high service quality and safety are a priority
It was bold decisions, risk-taking, and the desire to ensure the safety and comfort of Ukrainians during the large-scale war that helped the national UPG Gas Station chain strengthen its position in the Ukrainian fuel market. During the most troubled days, gas stations became pretty much the only place for people to have a meal and some coffee, or simply relax.
How Ukrainians were fed during shelling and blackouts, how the concept of cafes changed, and why quality is the basis of the brand - more on this in the following material.
To Hold on and Support
Finding new suppliers quickly, reviewing technological processes, optimizing the range of dishes were the steps taken by the VIVO café chain to withstand the greatest turbulence in the first months of the invasion. Despite all the difficulties and challenges, the doors of the establishments have always remained open to Ukrainians.
The key to this was that the restaurants' kitchens are full-cycle enterprises: dishes are prepared here from fresh products. The chain also differs in the fact that it has implemented the HACCP control system, which eliminates any risks.
"In the most troubled days for everyone, we worked non-stop. We warmed and fed people with hearty and tasty lunches, supported them as much as we could. From February 24 to 27, we used up all the stock of goods and ingredients that was intended for three weeks. But we managed to withstand, found a way out, because we knew that our gas stations on the highways were often the only place where the whole family could have a meal. The fact that we have our own kitchen where dishes are prepared here and now played a key role," said Victoria Horova, Deputy Executive Director of the UPG Gas Station chain.
All UPG stations were proactively equipped with generators, so the chain also withstood the blackout tests: the restaurants worked without interruption. For Ukrainians, this meant not only the opportunity to taste hot meals and drinks but also to stay in touch.
"We called our gas stations in the cities 'feeders.' Everyone remembers the time when almost all small cafes and other establishments were closed. It is important that the Ukrainians who visited us then have remained our loyal customers until this day. The growth dynamics of the VIVO Café is very positive," shared the UPG team.
Prepared at VIVO café at UPG petrol station
At the same time, the company decided not to change its pricing policy. Quality, safety, and respect for people remain the solid basis of UPG. Even in the darkest times, the company has stayed loyal to its customers, and none of these principles was violated.
The VIVO café Concept - Making Customers Happier
Making Ukrainians happy and surprising them with interesting novelties is one of the aspects of the updated VIVO café concept. Creating its own ice cream is considered a significant step in this direction. This summer, the company launched its own brand of this iconic dessert - ice U. The product line is presented in three interesting formats.
Victoria Horova explained: "We understand the importance of the mental health of the nation, especially today, during the war. By creating ice cream, our goal was to support the inner child that lives inside each of us. Yes, a bit scared, disoriented, not knowing if he/she can endure all of this. With ice U, it's easy to dive into childhood, feel the protection and unconditional love, and recollect the taste of childhood."
And although the project was implemented in a short time frame, the company admits that delicious and aesthetically beautiful ice cream with a tender texture and the right flavor characteristics is a tall order, as they say. Quality components and specially purchased high-tech equipment are, of course, the foundation. But the next step was teaching the staff all the intricacies of creating the perfect ice cream.
It turns out that a lot depends even on such a stage as filling the cone properly: how the dessert will hold its shape, how gracefully the curls will fall, and whether the crispy waffle cone will not disappoint. So, when the brand claims that the perfect ice cream lives in the VIVO café, nobody is lying. Once you taste ice U, you'll definitely want more. And your age does not matter, by the way.
The Secret of the Bestseller
The VIVO café is proud of its signature dishes, but the express menu section offers many items that will be interesting not only for hungry travellers, but also for gourmets. The juicy burgers at UPG are top customer favorites. When tasted, this hearty and delicious dish brings a sense of satisfaction that makes you close your eyes in delight. The selection is impressive too: the UPG burger is offered in seven variations. There is even a kids version served in a special box for the youngest customers.
Burgers at VIVO café at UPG petrol station
So, what is the secret of popularity of the UPG burger? And this brings us back to the question of quality, or rather true perfectionism. For this dish, the chain prepares by hand the juicy patty from selected meat, which contains 80% of high-quality beef. In combination with fragrant brioche buns and other carefully selected ingredients, it's a true paradise for your taste receptors.
The same goes for hot dogs. Although not just for them. To create this dish, VIVO café's professional chefs use only top-grade sausages, making it a unique offer in the market. Even here, the company decided to surprise and delight its customers. Recently, an interesting novelty was introduced in the restaurants – a juicy hot dog with bacon. It's the kind of fried bacon that won't leave any Ukrainian heart indifferent.
It seems that the food service at UPG has become yet another competitive advantage for the chain. They keep track of trends, personalities, and moods of their customers. For example, in the updated menu, you won't find any complex names of dishes. The company opts for a combination of simplicity, lightness, and naturality along with refined taste. Popular new items include tuna or beef bowls with quinoa, dishes with avocado, and many more.
At the same time, the VIVO café is convinced that speed cannot be the main indicator of quality service, at least when it comes to food preparation. High quality and safety remain a priority here.
The company announces many more interesting offers. And given the pace at which the chain is developing, there is no doubt that they will continue to delight and surprise.