BP Retail has launched a franchise trial of its BP Connect and Wild Bean Café. The first two sites are Crow Orchard Connect in Wigan and Maynestone Connect in Ashton under Lyne. Both are now operated by Wembley-based Motor Fuel Limited. The company is run by S Sejpal and S Raja – known as Sej and Raj respectively.

Sej told Forecourt Trader: “We really believe in Connect so we’re very proud to be associated with such a successful brand.This is a great opportunity for us as there are very few quality sites available.”

Sej added that a lot of franchise agreements can be a bit one-sided but said his company is happy with what it had signed up for. “We’re confident in BP so we’re not at all worried. BP has been absolutely open and has some very experienced people running the new franchise set-up.”

The deal meant quite an investment for Motor Fuel as it bought the real estate of both sites: “Crow Orchard and Maynestone are class ‘A’ sites, so cost us a lot but we’re confident they will be worth it and if it doesn’t work out – and I am sure it will – we’ll have the land.”

The agreement is for 20 years but will be reviewed after five years.

The Wild Bean Café was a very important part of the deal according to Sej: “It’s a very successful food-to-go operation. Where office workers go to Starbucks for their coffee first thing in the morning, motorists use Wild Bean Café.” He admitted that labour costs were heavy but said his company ran “a very tight ship” so was confident he could cut back on costs.

Sej is very interested in BP’s trial with M&S Simply Food and is hoping that if successful, the company will roll this out to franchisees.