The battle of gas stations: Wawa vs Royal Farms


Royal Farms comes to Montgomery County, giving the beloved Wawa some competition.

Could you imagine a life without a Wawa and its oh-so-delicious hoagies? Probably not. But what if something new came to town and seemingly edged out the Wawa. It’s hard to imagine, but Wawa does have a competitor, and they may just do the unimaginable.

For people from Philadelphia and its suburbs, Wawa is the holy grail of gas stations known for its convenience, hoagies, and coffee. To anyone accustomed to Wawa, the central PA “knockoffs” like Sheetz and Royal Farms is a betrayal. As Wawas continue to pop up all over the country, it seems that some competition has risen. Royal Farms is now coming into Wawa’s territory, and they are not backing down.

Wawa has ruled Philly and its suburbs, taking over all the major exits and roads providing everyone convenience. Wawa is not your average gas station, with a variety of foods from mac and cheese to milkshakes. Not to mention their aisles and aisles full of snacks and their already made coffee and hot chocolate. Wawa has become a part of many people’s morning routines, with around 251 of them just in the state of Pennsylvania. But recently a new gas station with equally as many conveniences has been appearing.

Royal Farms, along with Sheetz, were typically kept away from Philly and the suburbs because of the competitive hold Wawa had, which has incredibly loyal fans. Royal Farms started in Baltimore, Maryland, and expanded into Pennsylvania, mainly claiming its land in southern and central parts of Pennsylvania, such as Lancaster and York counties. For years Wawa had the advantage of being located in more densely populated regions of Pennsylvania. Now Royal Farms is sneaking its way in amongst the Wawas in hopes of maybe turning Wawa customers into their own. While it is a brilliant strategy the question is, will it work?

One reason Royal Farms can be named as Wawa’s biggest competitor is that they offer fresh food. While Wawa also offers fresh food, other competitors do not. Wawa is known for their famous hoagies, which they claim are desired because they are freshly made with even the bread being baked on-site every day. Wawa also advertises their popular Hoagiefest and even had the genius idea to provide delivery of their hoagies all year round. Many customer favorites include their Thanksgiving special, the Gobbler, and their most popular hoagie, the Italian hoagie. While Wawa may have the hoagie, Royal Farms has the fried chicken. For years Wawa inched out their competitors by offering foods made freshly there but also having the food be grab-and-go. Now, Royal Farms is saying that they can do that too, advertising their fried chicken right under their Royal Farms sign with the words, “world-famous chicken.”

We all know that Wawa makes their hoagies fresh, but how about Royal Farms’ chicken? Yup, Royal Farms makes their chicken right on-site just like Wawa’s hoagies. Royal Farms claims their chicken is hand-breaded and baked there, never frozen in the process. Now, Wawa isn’t the only gas station in town offering their fresh premium food.

Wawa does have a leg up on Royal Farms in the gas game. Wawa is offering cheaper prices than Royal Farms with their regular gas price at $3.78 compared to Royal Farms’ $3.84. Unfortunately, this drives away a lot of customers along with the fact that Royal Farms doesn’t sell 91 gas, meanwhile, Wawa does. It is unfortunate timing for Royal Farms to make their appearance in the area because of the current high gas prices that can be blamed on the COVID pandemic and other world events. But while Wawa might have better gas prices, Royal Farms takes the cake for better locations. Some of the Wawa with the best locations don’t offer gas which is a big inconvenience. For Royal Farms to get in those premium spots didn’t come easy.

Wawa wasn’t quite ready for Royal Farms to invade their area. The two battled it out over the space that used to be the old Giant on Sumneytown Pike and Church Road. That was an important spot for both as it attracts many people who work at Merck, live in North Wales, and who are making their way to the turnpike. This corner is one of the more heavily trafficked spaces around, so neither was about to give up the space without a fight. In the end, Royal Farms did indeed come out on top.

Many North Penn students are inclined to go to a nearby Wawa on their commute to school whether that be to grab breakfast, lunch, coffee, or refuel their gas tanks. Not many have considered Royal Farms even though it may be the better option. There is a Wawa almost directly across the street from the high school on the corner of Valley Forge Road. It may seem like the perfect location, but it definitely has some flaws.

For example, this particular Wawa is practically falling apart and could use some major renovations. We have seen the newer Wawa locations and we know the potential this Wawa could have. Another important aspect is that for all the traffic brought to that location early in the morning, the Wawa is incredibly small. It seems to be one of Wawa’s smaller locations, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. All of the connecting units are unoccupied and could easily be bought by Wawa and used to expand the location. This location would also be an ideal spot to have a gas station, but this Wawa still lacks one. It would be much more convenient if you could get your food and coffee as well as your gas instead of being forced to make two separate stops.

Now, I am aware there are other Wawa locations near North Penn, but there are also Royal Farms locations. The Royal Farms I mentioned before on Sumneytown Pike and Church Road is on the route to North Penn for many of its students. There is also a Royal Farms even closer to North Penn located on Sumneytown Pike across from the Holiday Inn. There is also a Wawa near there but you can’t help but notice that it doesn’t have a gas station and seems to be significantly smaller and more outdated compared to the new more welcoming-looking Royal Farms.

While we may have become accustomed to Wawa and all it provides, not to mention the hoagies, maybe Royal Farms is worth turning your attention towards. After all, who doesn’t love fried chicken?