Remembering ‘Food Plus’ convenience stores

There was once a time in Australia restrictive trading laws saw supermarkets open limited hours, and petrol stations only sold car parts. This changed in the 1970s with the introduction of the first convenience stores, one of which was called ‘Food Plus’.

Each location combined a small petrol station with a miniature supermarket – open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Their architecture was distinctive – a long glass window facing the car park, flanked by brown brick walls, topped by a terracotta tiled mansard roof, and a big ‘Food Plus’ sign above the door.

The store I grew up with was on Roslyn Road, Belmont. It still exists today, but with the petrol bowsers rebranded as ‘United’ and the store as ‘Tobacco Station’.

But other stores no longer exist – this one is on Canning Street, Avondale Heights is now a hand car wash.

While this one on Sun Crescent, Sunshine is now offices.

So what happened to Food Plus? Someone going by jmacca53 on YouTube had this to say:

They started in the late 1970s at a time when convenience stores were a new concept to Australia. Unlike the US, Australian convenience store chains were generally started by major oil companies. Food Plus was no different, being BP’s offering in VIC and NSW. Food Plus began to disappear in the mid to late 1990s with some sites being divested whilst others were rebranded into standard BP outlets.

The original red logo was replaced by a green and yellow version in the early 1990s.

TV commercials

From 1983:

1989:

And 1993:

Store locations

Here is an incomplete list of Food Plus locations in Victoria from May 1987.

  • Balwyn Food Plus, 310—314Whitehorse Road, Balwyn
  • Bayswater Food Plus, 684 Mountain Highway, Bayswater
  • Blackburn Food Plus, Canterbury Road & Main Street, Blackburn
  • Box Hill Food Plus, 851 Canterbury Road, Box Hill
  • Brighton Food Plus, 601 Hampton Street,Brighton
  • Food Plus Brunswick, Holmes & Donald Streets, Brunswick
  • Burwood Food Plus, Royton Street & Burwood Highway, Burwood
  • Food Plus Camberwell, 735 Riversdale Road, Camberwell
  • Carlton Food Plus, 445 Nicholson Street,Carlton
  • Caulfield Food Plus, North & Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield
  • Coburg Food Plus, I 125 Sydney Road,Coburg
  • Food Plus Cranbourne, High Street, Cranbourne
  • Doncaster Food Plus, 987 Doncaster Road, Doncaster
  • Elstemwick Food Plus, 543 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick
  • Essendon Food Plus, 238Buckley Street, Essendon
  • Food Plus Belmont, cnr. Corio & Roslyn Streets, Geelong
  • Food Plus Manifold Heights, cnr. Shannon Avenue & Manifold Street, Geelong West
  • Heathmont Food Plus, 382 Canterbury Road, Heathmont
  • Kilsyth Food Plus, 470 Mt. Dandenong Road,Kilsyth
  • Malvem Food Plus, 1367 High Street, Malvern
  • Food Plus Melton, Western Highway & Station Road, Melton
  • Mentone Food Plus, 18l Nepean Highway, Mentone
  • Mitcham Food Plus, 240 Mitcham Road, Mitcham
  • Mont Albert Food Plus, 731 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert
  • Montmorency Food Plus, Rattray Road, Montmorency
  • Moonee Ponds Food Plus, 294 Ascot Vale Road,Moonee Ponds
  • Noble Park Food Plus, 1120-1126 Heatherton Road, Noble Park
  • Preston Food Plus, 502-506 Plenty Road,
  • Northcote Food Plus, 227 St. Georges Road, Northcote
  • Notting Hill Food Plus, Ferntree Gully & Blackburn Roads, Notting Hill
  • Ormond Food Plus, Jasper & North Roads, Ormond
  • Preston Food Plus, 504 Bell Street, Preston East
  • Preston Food Plus, 559 Gilbert Road, Preston West
  • Sunshine Food Plus, Sun Crescent & Watt Street, Sunshine
  • Tally Ho Food Plus, Highbury Road, Tally Ho
  • Templestowe Food Plus, Thompson Marcus Roads, Templestowe
  • Food Plus Thomastown, cnr. High Street & Pleasant Road, Thomastown
  • Watsonia Food Plus, Watsonia Road & Grace Street, Watsonia
  • Williamstown Food Plus, cnr. Ferguson & Lyons Streets, Williamstown

This has been extracted from the 13 May 1987 edition of the Victoria Government Gazette, which listed every location in the state permitted to sell “Male Occlusive Devices” – also known as condoms! The reason for this is a story for another time!

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3 Responses to “Remembering ‘Food Plus’ convenience stores”

  1. Daniel Bowen says:

    Ah yes, that brings back some memories. When I lived nearby in the 80s I used to use the Elsternwick Food Plus to buy milk when the supermarket was closed – which was most of the time back then of course.

  2. Andrew S says:

    Food Plus was essentially BP’s version of 7-Eleven stores, the first of which opened on Warrigal Road Oakleigh in 1977. It was no coincidence the later 1990s colour scheme was the BP colours in reverse with the Petrol price boards being the reverse of the BP colours with the same font.

    My nearest was the Heatherton Road Noble Park store – located next door to the RSL it closed shortly after the Coles on the other side of the railway line started 24 hour trade. The site was taken over by the adjacent RSL for car parking which had a few years prior refurbished its venue covering the 1950’s facade. The former Food Plus building was retained for some years as the pokies venue before they went into the main building with another extension and the old store demolished. Today it is just car parking – the former building was located on the right hand side from this Street View scene:
    https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-37.9652719,145.1758703,3a,75y,182.24h,89.92t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sSASR_zXMwAoDcCjL3DmXlQ!2e0!5s20150801T000000!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

  3. Rich says:

    The Ormond store was refurbished and had bits tacked on to make it into a Maccas, Caulfield was extended and is still a BP with an IGA Express, Lower Templestowe recently reopened as a functional training centre complete with shelter over the pumps remaining as part of the set up.

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