In part eight of the IAA’s visits, category partner Imperial Tobacco help retailer Mukesh Patel identify ways he can continue to retail responsibly

This time, we focus on operating ethically and legally, exploring how to protect staff and shoppers through standards, legislation and caring for the environment. Doing this shows staff you run a reputable business and promotes customer trust.

Before benchmarking, read how Rob Taylor and James Hall from Imperial Tobacco helped Mukesh Patel form an action plan. Mukesh’s store is part of a parade in a busy area attracting 300 shoppers per day. He and his wife have built up the business and its reputation by being stringent on underage sales. How can the IAA help them improve?

Why I take part

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“I took part in the IAA’s benchmarking because I wanted to find out what I was doing right, and more importantly, what I need to improve on.

I want to be sure my shop is perfect for my community. Rob and James from Imperial Tobacco have a lot of experience and I know I can learn a lot from them.”

IAA advice for Mukesh

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Mukesh’s challenge: Protecting customers through legislation

Mukesh has a four-star food hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency but wants a five. To prevent waste he freezes perishables a day before their expiry date. How can he increase his rating?

James and Rob say: “Start by displaying your four-star rating prominently in-store to show your high standard. To gain a further star, label your perishables with the date they were frozen, so consumers know when they must eat the food by. It will give them certainty that the food is OK to buy.”

Action: Display your food hygiene rating and date frozen foods to give clarity.

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Mukesh’s challenge: Reducing waste effectively
To reduce waste, Mukesh rotates his stock. However, he doesn’t have a way to ensure each section is being checked regularly. How can he actively keep on top of this?

James and Rob say: “Keeping track of stock near its sell-by date is important but could slip if not recorded. Introducing checklists, on a tablet if you have one, ensures sections are monitored and helps when training new staff. Fresh will need checking daily, however ambient lines could be done less often.”

Action: Introduce checklists to ensure sell-by dates are monitored to reduce waste.

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Mukesh’s challenge: Eliminating underage sales
Very few underage customers attempt to buy tobacco or alcohol in Mukesh’s store, and every attempt is recorded. How can Mukesh ensure new staff continue to comply?

James and Rob say: “Mukesh is keeping a refusal log, but the till receipts are being kept separately and could be lost. Stapling the receipts to the notes so they’re together and signing the book weekly shows you are monitoring the situation. It also means you’re protected if you get inspected.”

Action: Keep refusal receipts stapled to your notes and sign the refusal book monthly.

Partner advice

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Rob Taylor and James Hall, Communications Executive and Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, Imperial Tobacco

“Mukesh’s shop is an outstanding example of convenience and this action plan should iron out any niggling issues.”