A major redevelopment project at a Dorset forecourt store - the third in the last 10 years - has put food-to-go firmly at the centre of the business.
The scheme, a co-investment project between Loders Garage of Dorchester and SPAR’s regional distribution company Appleby Westward, has transformed the 1,250 sq. ft. store in a bid to expand its takeaway food business.
“We are a food-to-go store and very much a breakfast and lunchtime destination stop for many of our customers,” said the company’s managing director, Lee Loder. “As a result, we decided to re-design the layout to make food-to-go the heartbeat of the store.
“We have brought the kitchen area into the store itself to create a bit of theatre, and have appointed Steve Jarvis, who has considerable experience in catering, as the dedicated manager to run the operation.”
Loders Garage moved its forecourt store under the SPAR umbrella ten years ago, and saw an immediate uplift in sales of 30% in the store and 20% on fuel. The company carried out its last shop refit in 2007.
“We moved to SPAR because of the strength of the brand,” said Lee. “Historically, we had been motor traders, not shopkeepers, and needed to get on board with the experts. Appleby Westward co-invested in the development of the shop from the outset, and we introduced an off licence, food-to-go and fresh and chilled produce.
“After every refit, I always think there will never be the possibility to do anything else and improve, but this latest development has proved me wrong and our customers are delighted with what we have done. Early indications are that the new food-to-go operation has kick-started other areas in the store.
“These are rapidly changing times in consumer buying habits and lifestyle, and you cannot stand still. You have to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and look at your whole offer, both inside and outside the store.”