The categories

The Forecourt Trader of the year awards has two groups of categories: Regional and Specialist. Please find full criteria below.

Regional Categories

Best Motorway Services Outlet
London & the South East over 4mlpa
London & the South East up to 4mlpa
Midlands over 4mlpa
Midlands up to 4mlpa
Northern England over 4mlpa
Northern England up to 4mlpa
Northern Ireland over 4mlpa
Northern Ireland up to 4mlpa
Scotland over 4mlpa
Scotland up to 4mlpa
West Country & Wales over 4mlpa
West Country & Wales up to 4mlpa

Specialist Categories

Best Car Care & Lubricants
Best Coffee & Hot Beverages Outlet
Best Community Engagement
Best Customer Service
Best Design and Development
Best Food-to-Go Outlet
Best Forecourt Innovation
Best Forecourt Loo of the Year
Best Forecourt Team of the Year
Best Site Manager
Best Soft Drinks Outlet
Best Valeting Facilities

Main Retailer Categories Criteria

Regardless of ownership or operational status, the main retailer categories will be grouped by two main criteria – region and fuel volume.

Retailers can compete for the high-status title of being the Best Forecourt Retailer in one of six regions:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Northern England
  • Midlands
  • West Country & Wales
  • London & the South East

There are two volume categories – up to 4mpla and over 4mpla.
There will be two winners in each region representing the two-volume categories.

There is also a separate category for Best Motorway Services.

The overall Forecourt Trader of the Year winner will be chosen from the winners of the aforementioned categories.

Our panel of judges will be looking for entrants who show entrepreneurial skill, initiative and dedication in running a successful business. Their operation will be professionally and efficiently run, reflecting the high standard of discipline required to compete in today’s retail environment.

The judges will consider such elements as:

  • welcoming and well-maintained facilities; cleanliness and tidiness of both the forecourt and the shop; general standard of décor
  • store layout and atmosphere; range, stock levels and merchandising; consistent standards
  • friendly and helpful staff
  • facilities/services offered
  • promotional activity
  • ability to maximise opportunities and meet changing customer demands
  • profile/role in the community

Specialist Categories Criteria

Are you the best forecourt retailer?

Take a look at the list of categories below and choose the best one to enter.


Best Car Care & Lubricant Outlet – Sponsored by Convenience Distribution Group

This award recognises the Forecourt Retailer who best demonstrates the most innovative displays of car care products and lubricants. Judges will take into account the type of display, product positioning and use of POS to encourage targeted product purchasing.

Judges will take into account:

  • Displays – whether horizontal or vertical – should be group related, i.e. all valeting together, all additives together
  • Eye level is buy level – position brand leaders, impulse lines and promotions at eye level. Up to 40% of all purchases will come from this area
  • Right side influence – when attracted to the display of product, the eyes continue to move to the right, the eyes slow down and are likely to dwell on the right-hand side of the fixture
  • Multi-facing – a greater rate of sale is achieved with an increased number of facings, which maximises impact and draws attention to the display
  • Sight and take – up to 35% of purchases come from hip level
  • Shelves – graduated or sloping shelves should be used where possible to create a difference and allow the eye to see more products on display
  • Advertising – capitalise on brand and TV advertising by using POS to guide the shopper to the featured products

Best Community Engagement – Sponsored by Essar Oil

Judges will be looking for a retailer who can provide evidence of community engagement through either social media, charity events, fun days or any other means. Judges will take into account bespoke initiatives, innovative use of technology and special partnerships.

Along with a supporting entry please submit good quality photos to show evidence of the following:

  • Bespoke initiatives such as charity projects or events, demonstrating a commitment to the local area through business, sporting or charity investments.
  • A partnership approach including working with local authorities or bodies to enhance their store or surrounding area
  • Social media campaigns or initiatives to encourage community engagement
  • Testimonials from customers or charities to endorse what your involvement has meant to them
  • Innovative use of technology-based solutions such as loyalty platforms

Best Customer Service – Sponsored by JTI

This award will be handed to the forecourt retailer who can show that their customer service is second-to-none. Judges will take into account the presentation and maintenance of the forecourt, shop and facilities, relevant product ranges and of course knowledgeable and friendly staff.


Judges will look for:

  • Clean and inviting forecourt area with a fully stocked glove and towel dispensers
  • Clean and well-maintained shop area, with effective use of POS material to enhance the shopping experience
  • A product range relevant to their target audience
  • Demonstration of a warm welcome to all customers by well-presented, friendly, courteous staff who have a good knowledge of products and services
  • Clean and well-maintained washroom
  • The speed of service
  • Provision of services that enhance the customer experience on shop and forecourt. To explain why you believe you should win the award for Best Customer Service, please answer the following questions:
  • Describe your different customers and advise what products you supply to satisfy their needs
  • Outline any customer service training you provide for your staff
  • Describe any specific customer service initiatives you have put into place in your forecourt
  • Provide an example of a situation where you ‘went the extra mile’ for the customer

Best Design & Development – Sponsored by Harvest Energy

This award is all about innovation and development within the design of the entire site. They have to provide documentation outlining how the design/innovation has improved the results of their bottom line and improved their retail offer and show photographs of the site as it was before, where available. Entries are required to show any new materials used or new products sourced to complement their design.

Judges will take into account design and innovation demonstrated across:

  • Canopies
  • Price poles
  • Pump islands and layout
  • Pumps
  • Car park and facilities
  • General layout
  • Lighting
  • Use of Materials
  • How the site sits within the local area

Consideration is also given to the overall look and feel of the site, combining good clear signposting of areas and facilities taking into account ergonomics and customer friendliness

Best Food-to-Go Outlet – Sponsored by Rollover 

Judges will consider sites both large and small for this award. Staff engagement and promotional initiatives are also criteria that will be considered.

Judges will consider:

  • Innovation – a demonstration of how you are exploiting current food-to go trends embracing new ideas and standing out from the crowd
  • Visual impact – a demonstration of great execution and use of POS and promotional mechanics
  • Sales success – how much have you grown and developed your food-to-go sales this year?
  • Staff engagement – details of how you engage your team to drive your sales including any specific initiatives
  • The breadth of range – demonstrate how are you meeting the needs of different consumers in your store
  • Promotional Initiatives – what promotional initiatives do you use to drive food-to-go sales and can you demonstrate the uplift/participation

Best Forecourt Innovation – Sponsored by Booker

Innovation for this category will be measured by outlets that have driven their businesses forward by adapting their working practices to reflect the evolving needs of their customers. Entrants with the best chance of winning have to:

  • Be able to demonstrate increased footfall through a commitment to innovation
  • Consumer-driven – be able to demonstrate a real understanding of the evolving Forecourt shoppers needs/missions and how you are meeting and exceeding their   expectations

Best Forecourt Loo – Sponsored by Fast Track

Entrants for the Best Forecourt Loo had to demonstrate that their facilities are:

  • Clean, clean, clean! – including the loo, the floor, the walls, the door, the sink
  • Subject to a maintenance schedule to show the site recognises the importance of keeping the toilet facilities clean and in full working order at all times
  • In fresh, bright surroundings
  • Have a plentiful supply of loo paper
  • Have a sink with hot and cold running water
  • Have a plentiful supply of soap
  • Have a plentiful supply of paper towels or hand dryer in good working order
  • Able to accommodate all types of customer requirements such as disabled/baby changing
  • Clearly signposted

Best Forecourt Team of the Year 

Whether you are a site manager of one of the team, you will need to demonstrate why your forecourt team are head-and-shoulders above the rest. Please provide a written nomination on how your team is head and shoulders above the rest based on these four points.

  • Customer service – how does your team demonstrate excellence in interacting with your customers and community?
  • Engagement – how does your team apply their knowledge of forecourt promotions to encourage full customer participation?
  • Stock – how does your team best sell the right product lines for your store?
  • Pride and standards – how does your team demonstrate their pride in supporting each other, their job and representation to the customer?
  • Please support your application with anecdotes, examples or testimonials from colleagues and customers

Best Hot Beverages Outlet – Sponsored by Smokin Bean

The site to receive this award will be able to make evidence of the following criteria:

  • Impact internal – the visibility and location of your hot beverage unit, point of sale and merchandising of consumables
  • Impact external – the visibility of signs and banners alerting passing trade to your hot beverage offer
  • Staff training – details of staff training programmes including equipment operation and maintenance, product knowledge and customer service
  • Cleanliness – hygiene, cleaning and maintenance routines of all equipment and the surrounding areas
  • Proximity – how well the unit is positioned in relation to other impulse items for maximising overall sales
  • Weekly sales – turnover on hot beverages, how many cups you sell, average profit margins and what percentage of your overall retail turnover this makes up
  • Initiatives – details of promotional activities or other initiatives that have taken place to boost your sales within this category and the results that have been recorded
  • Experience – details of the number of years you have been offering hot beverages and the kind of hot beverages you have offered


Best Site Manager – sponsored by Jet

Whether applicants are a colleague or a group manager, they have to explain why their store manager ranks are the best.

A nomination detailing how their manager is the best of the best was presented on the following four points:

  • Customer service – how does your site manager encourage excellence in staff interaction with your customers and community?Engagement – how does your manager engage you in forecourt promotions so that you have the knowledge to be able to encourage full customer participation?’
  • Stock – how does your manager identify, stock and sell the right product lines for your store?
  • Pride and standards – how does your manager motivate and inspire pride in you and your team?
  • Complaints – how does your site manager record and handle customer complaints?
    Please support your application with examples, anecdotes or testimonials from customers and colleagues. Demonstrate cross-category knowledge and commitment to the latest innovations

Best Soft Drinks Outlet – Sponsored by Coca-Cola

Judges will consider the entry based on soft drinks retailing, active promotion of soft drinks and merchandising standards.


Soft Drinks Retailing – Does the outlet:

  • Stock the leading brands?
  • Stock an adequate mix of colas, flavours, waters, juices, sports and energy drinks to meet consumer demand?
  • Offer a choice? i.e. a range of original variants as well as low and zero sugar soft drinks?
  • Cater for both the instant and take home purchase?
  • Provide a range which is reflective of market dynamics and meets consumer needs – ie does 500ml feature strongly in their chiller (a pack which is driving growth in the market and provides the benefit of being resealable)

Active Promotion of Soft Drinks – Does the outlet actively promote soft drinks through:

  • Having a number of points of availability – i.e. not only in the main chiller?
  • Clear communication of prices?
  • The provision of promotions on both take home and impulse products?
  • Clear signposting of the category i.e. through strong use of POS both at and away from the fixture?

Merchandising Standards – Does the outlet maximise sales through:

  • Positioning soft drinks in high-traffic locations?
  • Siting soft drinks alongside related categories – eg sandwiches, newspapers, confectionery, snacks?
  • A clearly blocked fixture, with soft drinks merchandised together?
  • Is sufficient space given to each product based on the rate of sale?
  • No out-of-stocks of the key range?
  • Having a clearly visible category, from the door and the till point?
  • The use of equipment in addition to the main chiller, eg 2L hanging racks?
  • Maintaining a clean fixture?


Best Valeting Facilities – Sponsored by Wilcomatic

The best valeting facility will be judged as a centre of excellence for valeting. Clean and tidy, clear signage, inviting and well maintained, the facility would be viewed by customers as a destination for car cleaning and stand out as the facility of choice against the local competition.

  • Wash: Points will be given for quality of wash, layout and ease of use, innovation of programme choices, and theatre of wash operation and the overall inviting look of the facility
  • Signage: The judges will be looking for clarity of signage, promotion of the wash from the roadside, on the forecourt and within the shop, branding, appeal and condition of any signage
  • Staff: The judges will want to see evidence of site staff knowledgeable in the operation and the programme choices, actively involved in selling the wash and keeping the wash clean, tidy and operating to its maximum potential
  • Innovation: Additional points will be awarded for the use of innovation and new technology within the wash operation such as customer promotional loyalty programmes, payment terminals, added value features and facilities that deem the location a true ‘one stop shop’ for a customer’s every valeting need.

Automatic car wash, jet wash and hand car wash will all be considered but all must operate in a safe and legally compliant manner. Written entries are invited, but the inclusion of as many clear and labelled photographs as possible will be essential in the support of any submissions.