Coffee, convenience and community were the main topics of this year’s ACS Summit at the Birmingham NEC.

Speakers included Kris Engskov Starbucks head of Europe, Middle East & Africa who enforced the importance of community and told retailers that quality should work in harmony with convenience. He said: “It’s about creating experiences and to not just focusing on the product. When you go into the convenience sector, never compensate the brand. There are no shortcuts.”

His advice came after he reminded te audience that the UK is unique, because it’s “the original nation of shopkeepers” and the only place in the world that the coffee giant is franchised.

Nick Lloyd, managing director of Budgen’s Symonds, a forecourt company in the south west of England, announced that they have secured a Starbucks franchise deal in one of their eight outlets. He described the deal as the “biggest opportunity” for the business.

Engskov said: “Ten years ago I would have said no to a Starbucks in a petrol station, but innovation is key to staying ahead.”

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, brought the audience’s attention to the near future and advised that building relationships with community leaders will ensure survival after the General Election. Referring to regulation of tobacco and unhealthy foods, he said: “The local Government will attempt to control these products. My biggest worry for the next five years is local intervention.”