Tariq Majid, Baberbridge Service Station, Feltham

A year ago, Tariq Majid at was facing up to a threat from a supermarket giant, but did it materialise and how did he cope? We revisit his forecourt Mace operation.

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How has business been over the past year?

It’s been good and bad . At times over the past year, it’s been hard, but right now it’s pretty good. We’ve had some of our stores up and some stores down over the past year, and obviously we’re working hard and spending more time on the ones that aren’t doing as well. We’ve seen a lot of other stores closing, but thankfully we’re still here.

 

A year ago, there were plans to open a Tesco near you, did that happen?

Yes, the Tesco did open. The first three months were very tough for us. Business was down by about 30 per cent, but now it’s down by just 15 per cent, so we’re on the way back up.

 

How have you managed to claw back business from the supermarket?

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We’ve kept up with price promotions for starters, as well as making sure we look nice and clean all the time. Customers realised that there was not much difference in price. They realised there were hardly any cashiers in Tesco, it was all computerised. There’s not a friendly face there – maybe a security guard and one cashier, and self-service tills. Once the novelty had worn off, they started coming back.

 

You were also talking about introducing meal deals to your food offering, did this happen?

We’ve done a few meal deals and they’ve worked well. We’ve got one coming up again – we’ll see how that works out. We’ve pushed for milk and bread deals through our suppliers too, we’re now doing £1 for milk and £1 for bread, matching Tesco.