Happy New Year to you all let’s hope it’s a good one! It’s always difficult to predict the future but, at this time of year, industry people are falling over themselves to give it a go. Take Sainsbury’s, for instance, which has said shoppers are better than ever at finding value really? Not a great surprise but surely, it’s a case of ’needs must’ for most of them? A top bod from the grocery multiple adds that value isn’t always about the lowest price but increasingly about quality, provenance and ethics something he calls the ’value of values’. However, there are still thousands are shoppers out there who can’t afford provenance and ethics, and so are simply looking for good value.

And, after years of being perceived as ’expensive’ and ’over-priced’, many forecourt stores now offer good value in the eyes of the shopper. Retailers have used the ongoing economic situation to turn up their value offer to 10 and install pound zones and promotional bays that scream value.

Good for them, I say. Yes, a tank full of fuel is eye-wateringly expensive but I think the days when adding a few over-priced snacks to their bill was the norm because customers were paying on cards and didn’t notice the extra couple of quid are gone. Yes, they may be tempted to try a full-price just-launched chocolate bar, but other than that sort of temptation, they’re after ’two for a price’ offers and meal deals.

But offering value can backfire as Waitrose has recently found with its ’free hot drink’ offer on its My Waitrose cards. Apparently traditional Waitrose customers (ie middle class/upmarket ones) are disgruntled that more downmarket shoppers have entered their turf just to get a free coffee.

It’s a brilliant story but one with a lesson ie don’t pee off your loyal high-spending customers with gimmicks that attract those just looking for a free drink.

I think it’s best to stick to what you’re good at and in your case, that’s probably providing drivers with fuel for their tanks and for their bellies from a well-placed location with clean and tidy facilities. All topped off with a nice bit of customer service, where staff actually say hello, goodbye, please and thank you. For 2014, I’d say don’t under-estimate the basics keep on top of them and you shouldn’t go far wrong.