Location: This site is on a busy road just off the M4, to the south of Reading.
Forecourt: It’s a smart site, easily visible from the main road.
BP Ultimate is promoted above the pumps and media screens at those pumps promote brands, including Subway.
There’s plenty of parking behind the pumps/forecourt area as well as directly in front of the Budgen’s-branded shop. Outside the shop, spaces are marked for disabled drivers as well as those with children.
On the forecourt there’s a large Costa coffee cup promoting the beverage offer inside as well as an A-board advertising the Cook frozen food range.
There is also a defibrillator certainly something you don’t see on every forecourt.
Eye-catching panels depict the Fraser family including a wonderful black and white photograph from 1954 showing their first store opening.
The external ATM is boarded up following an attempted theft. However, a notice says cashback is available in-store, subject to a £5 minimum spend.
Shop: This is an impressive store spacious and well laid out.
As you walk in, there’s a good display of flowers and potted plants. Then you are met by a great chiller section with loads of meal-for-tonight options. There’s an impressive food-to-go/snacking range in the chiller, fully-faced and well laid out.
However, I was looking forward to a freshly made sub as highlighted in the Subway ad playing on the pump screens. I looked around and there was no Subway to be found. For a moment I thought I’d been mistaken about the advertising so I asked a member of staff. She said ’yes’, they were advertising Subway, but there wasn’t one on this site however there was one on a Fraser’s site down the road. She added that they’d applied to get one at Three Mile Cross but been turned down.
There were some freshly made subs in the sandwich section of the chillers, where there were also some products that had been marked down in price.
There were some gaps on the shelves and in the chillers. But a notice explained this saying that due to thieves operating in the area some items had been removed from shelves.
It was good to see signage saying energy drinks were not suitable for under-16s and asking for young people to provide proof of age when buying these.
There was plenty going on at the till area including a Creme Egg dumpbin; a trolley with some reduced lines ; a stack of beer on offer; and some handmade cards.
Behind the till there’s information about Fraser’s Platinum Club loyalty scheme. Forecourt Trader of the Year awards’ certificates are on the wall above this messaging.
There is a customer toilet. It was clean, but a bit whiffy.
Staff were friendly, helpful and efficient.
Prognosis: Fraser’s has built a solid reputation for offering what shoppers want. The company bought this site in 2015, ran it for a year, then redeveloped it, re-opening with a much larger shop. Shop-only customers account for 70% of customer spend and you can see why, as most people would love this as their local shop.
Diagnosis: It’s hard to find fault with the Fraser operation it ticks all the boxes. However, it is a shame that Three Mile Cross is clearly promoting Subway but does not have one on-site. The advertising on the pump screens therefore needs changing.
Another niggle was the cut-price sandwiches. With food-to-go, consumers want fresh do they want it reduced? Perhaps some do, but I think it would have been much better to give these sandwiches away to staff for their lunches.
Oh, and what about some air freshener for that toilet?