Jitinder stumbled on a near-perfect c-store site during a trip to a pub across the road. “It’s the most profitable pint I’ve ever had,” he says.
Located with a large car park in a residential area, and with a school, pub, community centre and park on his doorstep, this experienced retailer is making the most of opportunities with a cutting-edge store format.
Starting out in business in chip shops before turning to convenience 16 years ago, Jitinder’s experience in foodservice is being put to use in his new store.
“It all seems to have come full circle now. Food to go is quite big for us and we’re looking towards a fast food model with bacon butties, baked goods and fresh sandwiches made daily,” he explains.
Applying another lesson from foodservice and from leading convenience retailers, his new Premier store incorporates eat-in facilities with free Wi-Fi and power points. While many similar set-ups focus on being flexible working environments in urban areas, Jitinder’s is serving a purely social use.
“It’s a daytime alternative to the pub. It’s used by mums, builders and especially elderly customers who want somewhere to drink a coffee, read a paper or meet a friend,” he says. While the space ultimately means fewer shelves and products, his basket spend has grown. He adds: “I’m making my store a larger part of people’s day than just the point
It’s not the approach to fresh food to go, but fresh food in general that makes the store stand out.
“Tin days are over,” he says, describing how a larger ambient grocery range used to be canned in favour of fresh produce. “People aren’t doing weekly shops, it’s little and often, so the need to plan and purchase longer-life lines just isn’t there anymore. With the fresh-focused model we’ve adopted, we can build basket spend on those more frequent missions.”