Best Oil Company Initiative winner
When Karen Dickens, Esso’s executive director, fuels marketing UK, stepped up on stage at the London Hilton Hotel last October to receive the award for Best Oil Company Initiative, it was the first time the oil company had achieved such a feat and it did so ahead of many strong entries.
Esso’s winning entry described its challenge to convert nearly 400 sites previously managed by independent agents to direct operation under Esso’s subsidiary company ROC UK, and in so doing, ensure that the 4,000 or so staff working at the sites had a consistent and clear focus on safety. "The objective was to make safety a fundamental and integral part of the culture of working for ROC," explains Dickens. "A significant improvement in safety performance was achieved by establishing a network of staff who have special responsibilities for safety training and development... The programme is entirely consistent with ExxonMobil’s global approach to safety."
Best Oil Company Initiative - highly commended
Total UK has run many successful initiatives, but the one that caught the judges’ eyes for the Highly Commended Oil Company Initiative of 2009, was its ECO 10 campaign. The objective of ECO 10 was to help educate UK drivers on practical, easy and inexpensive ways to reduce CO2 emissions. The initiative suggested four simple acts they could follow to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10%. Number one was to encourage drivers to use Total Excellium fuel with its performance-enhancing properties compared to standard fuel. The second act focused on lubricants encouraging drivers to use Quartz INEO ECS to minimise engine friction, and thereby also helping to reduce fuel consumption. The final two were correctly inflated tyres and regular vehicle servicing and maintenance checks. Other ECO 10 activities included a website, Green Car Surgery on selected forecourts and the signing up of model Jodie Kidd as ECO 10 ambassador.
Best Eco Friendly Outlet - sponsor Wilcomatic
Peter Roachford of Sainsbury’s Badger Farm, Winchester in Hampshire was the winner of another new award Best Eco Friendly outlet. Kevin Pay, managing director of award sponsor Wilcomatic, says: "Environmental issues have formed the cornerstone of the Sainsbury corporate responsibility programme for a number of years and Sainsbury’s is working hard to reduce its environmental impact in the construction and operation of its forecourts. The car wash operation at Badger Farm has been carefully designed to bring together the latest in water recycling and rain water harvesting technology manufactured by recycling specialist Working Water, to deliver forecast water savings of nearly 2.5 million litres per annum. In addition to water saving, the environmental credentials for Badger Farm continue through the use of environmentally-friendly car wash chemicals, energy-efficient heating, lighting and temperature-sensitive doors."
best Food-to-go outlet - sponsor Bake & Bite
Oliver Lodge, from Gilhams Service Station, part of the Top 50 Rusdene Services Group, was the much-deserved winner of the Best Food-to-go outlet. Richard Acey, sales director of award sponsor Country Choice, says: "Within the first month of opening, the food-to-go operation at Midhurst was contributing almost 12% of the store’s turnover. The comprehensive offer includes a hot food counter and separate coffee and cakes station, all of which feature innovative in-store promotional mechanics, particularly in relation to coffee and meal deals.
The hot beverage station, which serves a wide variety of coffees and teas at 99p each is particularly successful, selling between 50 and 60 cups a day. Merchandising is also excellent. The food-to-go counter has been intelligently and strategically placed beside the till to attract customers who come in to pay for their fuel. The general business performance and in-store operational standards are as good as any we have seen in the sector."
Best Forecourt Facilities - sponsor Tokheim
Brian Stoddart of Gem Bluebell Way service station in Preston, Lancashire, received resounding approval from the judging panel for his entry for the Best Forecourt Facilities award which he received from Adrian Beeby, national sales manager at Tokheim, the sponsor of the award. "I tried to look at this through the eyes of the motorist," says Beeby. "The site is great as there are loads of pumps meaning it’s unlikely a motorist would have to queue for fuel and every grade is available at every pump. It’s also got great outdoor payment terminals so motorists can pay at the pump particularly good for motorcyclists who don’t like to go in the shop and take their helmets off. There are also containers with gloves and towels, jet and rollover car washes as well as air and water machines and a cash dispenser. Plus there’s an HGV area, including truck wash. It’s got every facility a motorist could wish for."
best Hot Beverages Outlet - sponsor Simply Coffee
Katherine Batch of Sewell Retail Willerby was winner of the Best Hot Beverages outlet the first year of the award for an increasingly significant category. The Willerby site is part of the Sewell Retail Group which emerged as the overall winner of the Forecourt Trader of the Year award. For this category judges considered many factors, including experience in serving the hot beverage concept, optimal placement of unit, initiatives in developing the category, and cup sales achieved. Jason McNally, Simply Coffee managing director, comments: "The operator was thinking outside the box from the point of view of fulfilling the needs of a ’to-go’customer as well as the needs of a customer who wanted a five minute break with a beverage. The hot beverages category is very well presented at the site and the staff are very well trained. The hot drinks category is also a focal point in the store. In addition, coffee equates to 3% of the total turnover at this particular site."
Best Soft Drinks Outlet - sponsor Coca-cola Enterprises
Allan Joffe, of Isenhurst Service Station, Cross-in-Hand, Heathfield, East Sussex, was the winner of Best Soft Drinks outlet. The soft drinks category is extremely competitive among retailers within the awards as well as a key offering within forecourt stores.
Judges were looking for sites that stocked the leading brands, with an adequate mix of colas, flavours, waters, juices, sports and energy drinks to meet consumer demand. Isenhurst scored highly in this area, with numerous points of availability in high-traffic locations, particularly alongside related categories such as sandwiches, newspapers and confectionery. Judges felt that the site had maximised the opportunity to grow the soft drinks category by attempting to capture impulse sales at every turn.
The range was also reflective of market dynamics, catering for both instant and take-home purchases with an appropriate range of size options and clear price communication.
Best Tobacco Merchandising - sponsor Imperial Tobacco
Ellen Bebb of Newtown Service Station, Skelmersdale in Lancashire was the winner of the Best Tobacco Merchandising award although sadly she was not able to attend the ceremony to receive her award in person. Maria Payne, account manager for Imperial Tobacco, says: "The site demonstrated an excellent comprehension of the requirements of the adult smokers who visit their forecourt. The range and planogramming reflects the area in which the store is based. This is evidenced by the positioning and space which has been allocated to the growing sector of roll-your-own tobacco. The tobacco unit within the store is suitably lit and well presented to fit with the rest of the store this allows adult smokers to clearly browse the unit looking for their particular brand of choice. The winner has recognised that availability and with that reducing the amount of out-of-stocks is crucial when talking tobacco."
best use of retail Technology - sponsor Torex
Tom Massey of Sewell Retail Pocklington in York was the winner of the award for Best Use of Retail Technology. The site is part of the Sewell Retail Group the overall winners of the Forecourt Trader of the Year award. Award sponsor Torex aims to encourage the use of technology by retailers to develop their businesses, saving them time and enhancing their profitability. "Pocklington Service Station has demonstrated double-figure growth in shop sales and significantly improved fuel volumes since installing its new epos system in December 2008," says Torex sales director Steve Watts. "The user-friendly system has allowed staff to concentrate on serving the customer, speeding up transaction times and reducing queues while also providing a prompt to check ID for age-restricted items. It also ensures promotions are processed correctly. The site has also embraced new ways of communicating promotional activity to their customers on receipts and via their own website."