Q&A with Rafe Overy Manager of the week
What is your greatest challenge on a day-to-day basis? Sustaining an extremely high standard of service. We are based in an affluent area with a Waitrose store along the high street so we are under pressure to keep our customers happy. But it is a challenge we are meeting. How are you meeting the challenge? Customers vote with their wallets and it really is a bit of a battleground out there. The perception of Waitrose and Marks & Spencer is that they are a better quality store so me and my management team reinforce the competitiveness in the staff. We want to be the best in town and wipe the floor with the competition! How have customer needs changed since you have worked in supermarkets? Customers now have more disposable income. They can afford to buy better quality products. However, there are more stores to shop at. This means I have to battle harder than ever to get them in my store and encourage them to upgrade to our premium range of foods. What's customer feedback like? Recently a customer came into the store, found me and told me to thank all of the staff at the store. The cashier was lovely to her and our trolley retrieval guy helped carry her bags across the car park. Do you ever get involved in the community? It's very important to have a community spirit. So, for Comic Relief we had staff doing the usual things such as having a guy sat in baked beans and a member of staff on an exercise bike, cycling the distance between London and Brighton. But I also attend local council meetings and take great interest in the future of Dorking. What do you do in your spare time? I am a father to a 7-month-old so that takes up a great deal of my spare time. But I also love to travel and try to get out to South Africa once a year to visit my family. It's vital to have a change of scene!
Asda Belfast, Northern Ireland
1 - This store had no 6-packs of ready salted Walkers crisps in stock and many items were unusually placed because of new Easter merchandise. The store was tidy, however, with aisles free of packing trolleys and shelf-stackers. Staff were helpful, and packed half our shopper's bags. We visited on 6 April at 12.50pm. Our shop lasted 51 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was two minutes and 45 seconds.
Morrisons Airdrie, Lanarkshire
0 - This Morrisons outlet provided a full basket and was clean and tidy. The staff were cheerful and polite when asked for assistance. Our shopper reported a very attractive Easter display of flowers and eggs and noticed plenty of special offers. Seventeen of the 26 tills were open. We visited on 6 April at 10.05am. Our shop lasted fifty six minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
Sainsbury's Dorking, Surrey
0 - This store was well-merchandised and effectively signed, and our shopper could locate the items easily. The customer service was impeccable and impressed our shopper. The receipt was correct and seven of the nine checkouts were operational. We visited on 6 April at 9.05am. Our shop lasted 35 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
Somerfield Daventry, Northamptonshire
1 - The outlet was clean and tidy although not all of the aisles were free of packing trolleys or shelf-stackers. The staff were in uniform and displayed a helpful attitude. The vanilla ice-cream was out of stock. Only three of the seven tills were open and our shopper noticed 'closing down' signs around the store. We visited on 6 April at 10.15pm. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was four minutes.
Tesco Kingston Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
0 - This huge Tesco outlet was mainly uncluttered, although our shopper found the amount of staff quite an obstacle. A full Grocer 33 basket was available and the well-presented staff were informative and helpful. Of the 48 checkouts, 37 were open and queues were minimal for such a large store. We visited on 6 April at 9pm. Our shop lasted one hour and 37 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes.
Waitrose Wilmslow, Cheshire
1 - The Wilmslow Waitrose were out of stock of After Eights. The aisles were ordered and tidy and the staff were well presented and wore badges. There were no queues on the checkouts and there were a number of special offers on display. We visited on 6 April at 10.52am. Our shop lasted 50 minutes. Time spent at the checkout was three minutes