From taking delivery of their first pieces of equipment through to selling their first steak bake, it was plain sailing for father and son duo Bob and Paul Bettesworth at their Premier store
in Newdigate, Surrey. Paul tells Convenience Store he is pleased they took the decision to provide food to go, even if it does mean a slightly earlier start for him each morning.
"We decided to offer hot and fresh food to go as we knew we had the right customers and because it can deliver better product margins," says Paul. "We also knew that the smell of fresh bread would draw more people into the store. We had wanted to do our own sandwiches for quite a while, but we first wanted to get our recent refit sorted and become a Premier store."
After signing up with Booker in April, work started in mid-May for two weeks and the new format was up and running in June. It was then that final discussions took place with Country Choice.
"They seem to be a very organised company," says Paul. "The oven, bread stand and counter-top were wheeled in quickly and the delivery driver was gone in about 10 minutes. It was just like any other delivery. There was little disruption and everything was left ready to plug in and go as soon as the training began.
"The training is very easy to understand and the processes are quick to pick up because it's very practical and hands on. You're not just standing there reading from a book. It was very relaxed and informal, and at the same time we all learnt a lot. Originally, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to pick up, but I now feel confident we can handle it. The equipment also seems very easy to operate. I was a bit anxious at first, however we'll start with getting the basics right and we should be fine. The first couple of days might be a bit hectic, but we'll aim to stay calm and keep on top of things."
Paul is confident the smell of freshly cooked bread will go down very well with customers and adds: "A lot of people have already said they are really looking forward all the freshly made sandwiches. I think our customers will be really happy with what we've done and I believe it's going to take off."