Roadside service stations vary greatly in size and scope, ranging from small filling stations in rural areas, to truckstops on main A-roads or dual carriageways, right up to motorway service stations with a full range of shops, a complete foodcourt with multiple competing retailers, and overnight accommodation in some cases.
Exactly what catering equipment will work best for you depends on the type of service station at which you are based, and the type of business you are within that. For general advice in that regard, you might wish to review one of the following pages
The particular pressures of service station catering, on top of the general equipment requirements in these sectors, are of course space constraints and the requirement for speed of service. In terms of space, operating from within a small petrol station shop obviously limits the amount of room available, but even with a large food court the square-footage allocated to some retail units can be tight and may involve some unconventional floor plans and layouts (curved units to fit around a central eating area, for instance).
To give yourself more options, consider the many different configurations of equipment possible. For example, ovens traditionally come with built in hobs, but without hobs you can rack them one above the other. Similarly, hobs can be provided as stand alone counter top units, as can bain maries, and a lot of refrigeration units can double up as work surfaces on which other appliances can be positioned. Microwaves and small combination ovens are of course always useful and can be easily shelved one above another. With a bit of planning and the right appliances, you may be able to fit the same cooking power and capacity of a normal kitchen into a service station retail unit only half the size.
When it comes to quick service, you can either organise your food production around efficient preparation beforehand and then use a combination of quick-reheating and hot holding, or if your customer volume is high enough you can simply increase the capacity of your grills, griddles and fryers to keep a steady flow of freshly prepared fast food.
Regardless of the type of catering business you are, in a service station environment where customers are moving rapidly in and out, you should always maximise use of the service counter space and attract customers to you with a good range of ready to eat items displayed in hot merchandisers and cold merchandisers, as well as multideck chiller displays if there is a self service element to your operation.