Who will wear the crown at this year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards?
Read our top tips to help you achieve that great moment of glory - the entry deadline is fast approaching.
ENTRY DEADLINE: May 9, 2023
The Forecourt Trader of the Year Award will be presented at a glittering ceremony at the Park Plaza, Westminster, on Thursday, October 12, along with many other awards, which recognise the high standards of operation in the fuel retailing sector.
But as the nation dusts down its flags to celebrate this momentous year of the Coronation, will you also be celebrating your moment in the spotlight in 2023?
TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THE FORECOURT TRADER AWARDS
Take time and care to make your entry as good as it can be. Winners are people who know how to get themselves noticed. They have done the right things to attract the attention of the judges, not just because their forecourts are the best in class, but because they’ve managed to communicate that fact in their entry. Many of you probably think your site is as good as, if not better than, many sites that have won in previous years, and yet you didn’t get past the first hurdle. But did you give yourselves the best chance?
You can be sure we go to great lengths to make sure the competition is as fair as possible. There is absolutely no favouritism - we just want the best sites and the best retailers in our industry to come to the fore. After all, they may have something to teach us all - advice and insight that can help to improve everyone’s business.
But we believe everyone should have an even chance of winning something at our awards, and if you think you’ve got something to shout about, you need to make sure you’ve maximised your chances.
And it all starts with the entry!
HOW TO ENSURE THE BEST ENTRY POSSIBLE
- Double-check that your entry has been completed correctly with the site’s full name, fuel brand, address and telephone details. Please tick the right region and annual fuel volume for your site. You don’t want to be knocked out of the competition because you’ve entered the wrong category. The error may not be noticed until too late in the judging process and your entry would have to be withdrawn.
- Read the entry instructions thoroughly so that you understand the rules and what’s expected of you. You need to complete the section explaining why you think your site should be a winner. The more information you provide the better. This is your chance to highlight any big achievements, successes or elements of your business of which you are particularly proud.
- The entry process also includes the judging criteria for the specialist categories - use these as guidelines, not just for how to run that particular category of your business, but also as a BIG CLUE as to what the judges are looking for.
- Categories to enter: regardless of ownership or operational status, the main retailer categories will be grouped by two main criteria - region and fuel volume. Retailers can compete for the high-status title of being the Best Forecourt Retailer in one of six regions: Scotland; Northern Ireland; Northern England; Midlands; West Country and Wales; and London and the South East. There is also a category for Best Motorway Services Outlet.
- There will be two volume categories - up to 4mlpa and more than 4mlpa. There will be two winners in each region representing the two volume categories. The overall Forecourt Trader of the Year will be chosen from the regional and motorway winners.
- Make sure you complete written entries for the specialist categories where indicated. Bearing in mind the judging criteria available for each category when explaining the merits of this particular part of your business.
We can’t stress enough the importance of good photographs. The early rounds are judged anonymously using only the pictures you’ve sent in.
YOU CAN’T BE JUDGED ON WHAT CAN’T BE SEEN IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS!
Don’t just send in a picture of the front door (yes, it’s been done!). Judges need a range of good quality photographs to be able to glean a good impression of both the interior and exterior of your site. They need to be bright and clear, so try to take the outside shots on a bright, sunny day, if at all possible.
And if you’re entering a specialist category, make sure the photos show how you are meeting the judges’ criteria. If you have multiple displays for some categories, for example, let’s see them.
The pictures need to be good quality digital photographs. For the main regional categories, you need to submit: external photos of the forecourt - including fuel pumps and other services such as car valeting; external photos of the shop front; and a selection of interior shots of the store, focusing on the till point, aisles, and other areas of note such as food-to-go and coffee offers.
DON’T LET STANDARDS SLIP ONCE THE PHOTOGRAPHS HAVE BEEN TAKEN
If the site is every bit as good as the photographs suggest, it goes on to the final round. If it doesn’t come up to scratch, judges move down the shortlist to the next highest scorer, and so on.
Welcoming and well-maintained facilities, cleanliness, tidiness, well-stocked and merchandised store, as well as friendly and helpful staff are key elements for consideration at this stage, as well as adherence to the criteria for the specialist categories.
The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes industry specialists and former Forecourt Trader of the Year winners.
The process involves looking at all the entries, which are presented anonymously as far as possible. This round relies predominantly on the photographs you have uploaded - so make sure they show off your forecourt and facilities to their best advantage – in combination with your written entries. Separate marks are awarded for the forecourt and the shop, then added together to create an overall score.
Shortlists for each region and specialist category are drawn up and judges then take to the road travelling thousands of miles around the UK to personally visit the top-scoring sites.
There will be three finalists in each of the specialist and regional categories.
The Forecourt Trader of the Year is chosen from the winners of the regional and motorway categories.