You know your site deserves an industry Oscar, but how can you be sure of putting on a star performance and taking the top prize at the Hollywood-themed Forecourt Trader of the Year awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel on Thursday, September 22?


Winners are people who know how to get themselves noticed not just because their forecourt is the best in its class, but because they’ve managed to show that by putting in a good entry.


Categories to enter


This year the awards have been restructured and simplified so that regardless of ownership or operational status, the main retailer categories will be grouped by two main criteria region and fuel volume. There are also 12 specialist categories to enter. Entry form


First get an entry pack by either calling the awards hotline 01293 610422 or by visiting our website Read it thoroughly to understand the rules, the categories to enter and what’s expected of you. The entry form requires you to explain why you think your site should be a winner. This is your chance to highlight any big achievements, or elements of your business of which you are particularly proud. The pack also includes the judging criteria for the specialist categories these are a BIG CLUE as to what the judges are looking for. Check the form is completed correctly with full contact details and ticked categories.




We can’t stress enough the importance of the photographs. The early rounds are judged anonymously using only the pictures you’ve sent in. Be sure to submit HIGH QUALITY photographs that give a good impression of the whole site and the relevant categories.Top tips from the sponsors


Palmer and Harvey Principal sponsor


Richard Hayhoe, marketing director for Palmer and Harvey: "To me a winner is someone who thinks outside the box, and is constantly chasing ways to attract and keep more customers; someone who sees the current economic situation as an opportunity not an obstacle. I know there are a lot of exciting retailers out there and I’m looking forward to finding the industry’s leading lights."




Heineken Best site with a Licence to sell Alcohol


Nichola Cookland, customer marketing manager of Heineken: "Shoppers looking for beer and cider in your forecourt store will be wanting to take it home or to friends’ houses to drink almost immediately. In a winning retailer we would be looking for a tight range of the leading brands displayed clearly in a chiller. Over 90% of your shoppers will drink their purchase on the same day so a chilled offering is critical, along with displaying brands together in a block so shoppers can find them quickly.’’




Convenience Distribution Group Best Car Care & Lubricants Outlet


Graham Tissiman, sales & marketing manager of CDG: "The car care bay and planogram needs to address the different needs of the motorist, from the distress purchase of things like tow ropes and fuel cans to impulse items such as air fresheners, valeting and cleaning products. The winner will have a good cross-section of brand leaders."




RS Sales Best Customer Service


James Hayfield, general sales manager of RS Sales: "Appealing to your local community can help distinguish and differentiate forecourt retailers from their competition. We will be looking for retailers that operate a clean, inviting and presentable forecourt combined with staff that are clearly committed to improving the customer experience. The forecourts that stand a real chance of making our shortlist will be able to demonstrate a unique approach to serving the needs of their local community to help shift the consumer focus away from pump prices."




Ginsters Best Display of Chilled Food


Phil Eastham, channel controller at Ginsters: "It’s all about the presentation and theatre which will drive customers to the chilled fixture. A combination of lighting, cleanliness, availability, the range, the brands, pricing, signposting, and fixture position in-store, are all key factors. Ask yourself: would I buy fresh, chilled food from this fixture?"




Wilcomatic Best Eco-friendly Outlet


Kevin Pay, managing director of Wilcomatic: "We have vastly reduced the amount of energy and water our machines use, with no loss of performance. But there are plenty of other innovative ways that the best retailers are getting their green act together: low-energy lighting, low-energy fridges and freezers in the shop, modern efficient heating systems. Customers should also be aware so judges will consider not only what the operator has done, but also what steps have been taken to publicise it."




Dresser Wayne Best Forecourt Facilities


Soren Powell-Holse, sales manager of Dresser-Wayne: "We are looking for someone who takes great attention and pride in making sure the customer visits a welcoming forecourt with a clean and tidy feel, modern fuel dispensing equipment, good car washing facilities as well as other community relevant facilities."




Coffee Nation Best Hot Beverages


Oona Rosser, marketing manager at Coffee Nation: "The winner of the Best Hot Beverages category will be the business that best demonstrates a wide choice of quality drinks that appeal to consumers, visibility and availability of the hot drinks offer and the generation of new sales and customer loyalty through innovative promotional materials."




Torex Best Site Manager


Charlotte Piercy, marketing manager at Torex: "The winning site manager will be a master of stock and availability. He will know his customers, understand what they want and when they want it and will analyse stock and sales information to make sure they are always satisfying their customers’ needs. Customer service will be at the heart of the store, with fast, efficient service, great customer interaction and minimised queuing. And most importantly, the Best Site Manager will be the one who most inspires their staff, instilling a sense of teamwork and pride in the appearance of the store.




Coca Cola Enterprises GB Best Soft Drinks Outlet


Selina Taylor, trade communications manager of CCE: "We’re looking for those forecourts who demonstrate best practice and understand their shoppers’ different needs and preferences, and tailor the range to meet these needs. A tip is to focus on the best sellers, as the top 30 drink-now products deliver 50% of sales. Successful entries are often those that also look to innovate with secondary sites, POS, promotions, and link deals."




Imperial Tobacco Best Tobacco Retailer


Mike Laney, Imperial Tobacco’s head of convenience: "The winner will manage their tobacco category by adhering to three strong foundations maintaining 100% availability at all times, shopper and adult consumer ranging and merchandising that reflects a deep understanding of local trends. These three areas are important as the tobacco category is flexing to align with consumer spending and attitude."






Judging process


The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes the Forecourt Trader team and awards sponsors. The team will also include our very own Shop Doctor, and last year’s overall winners, Bhupa, Lata and Jay Gohil of Cosford Garage. The first round of the judging takes place at William Reed Business Media’s head office in Crawley, West Sussex. The process involves looking at all the entries, which are presented anonymously. Marks are awarded for each entry, including an overall mark for the site and a separate mark for each specialist category. This round relies heavily on your photographs so make sure they show off your forecourt and facilities to their best advantage. The written entry is also key.

Judges then take to the road and visit the top-scoring forecourt in each category, to see if the forecourt is trading as well as is shown in the pictures. Cleanliness, tidiness and friendly and helpful staff are key elements for consideration at this stage, as well as adherence to the criteria for the specialist categories. If the site is every bit as good as the photographs suggest, it goes on to the final rounds. If the site doesn’t come up to scratch, judges move down the list to the next highest scorer, and so on. Thus high-scoring sites from round one can be knocked out at this stage. So make sure you don’t let standards slip once the pictures are taken!

There will be three finalists competing for each of the specialist category awards; and also three finalists in each of the regional and two-tier volume category. The overall winner is chosen from these category winners.