I’ve now got rid of the old island chillers I mentioned in my last column and have two bigger, more energy-efficient chillers in their place. Our chilled delivery came the morning after they were installed, but I got a call from staff to say that the new units weren’t working.
I had to ring my electrician and Delta to tell them I had two cages-worth of chilled deliveries and nowhere to put them, so it needed to be fixed straight away. They were on the case immediately and the problem was fixed within the hour. The lesson here is to wait a couple of days before filling a new chiller, just in case.
Other than that, the new units have been great. The temperature of the store has dropped noticeably since the island chillers were removed. I have been able to turn off one of our two air-con units altogether, plus it’s quieter without the constant hum of the chiller motors, because the new units have remote motors.
I have now filled the black chiller with fruit and the white chiller, which backs onto it, with sandwiches, pasties and other impulse food and drink.
Previously, I didn’t have enough room in my existing chillers to keep up with demand for fresh milk, and there was no storage space out back to keep extra stock. Now that I’ve moved my chilled impulse products such as yogurts to the new chillers, I can dedicate the leftover space to milk, so that I won’t keep running out.
The latest analysis of my epos stats has shown that in addition to impulse goods, alcohol is selling really well, so I’ve re-jigged the layout to make the most of this. I used to have a 2m-long bay filled with grab bags of crisps, but I’ve now moved these next to the 2ltr soft drinks, and I’m going to use the remaining space for ales. These are popular with both students and locals, so we’ll make sure we stock a good mix of local and national brands.
Freshers’ Week begins in a couple of days and a new apartment block especially for Oxford Brookes students has just opened nearby. I thought there might be 40 apartments in it, but there are actually 100, which is brilliant.
Some students have already moved in and have come in to buy cleaning products.
My coffee machine supplier Tchibo has agreed to run a ‘free coffee for students’ deal over Freshers’ Week. I’ve got more suppliers coming in to discuss what they can do, too. I can’t wait - it’ll be rock ‘n’ roll once the students come!