waitrose southend wayne narraway

Your store won the Grocer 33 four years ago - what has changed since then? We have taken out a couple of thousand square feet of homeware lines. We still have a deep homeware range, but this reflects the different ways our customers are shopping. Our John Lewis click & collect service has been really popular with shoppers.

What have you filled that space with? We have a number of food to go options now with the café and a new Sushi Daily bar and so we have put more tables out.

Your store has removed disposable coffee cups. How has that gone down? We made the changes 10 days ago now and it has been relatively smooth. We have partners on hand to explain what is happening and why, and we’ve also had signs up and emailed shoppers. Most customers are supportive but of course you will get a few that don’t like the changes.

Waitrose has also been swapping out a lot of black plastic recently - is this proving popular? Definitely - it is the right thing to do and we hear it all the time from customers that they want us to do more to reduce plastic waste. I think it is a generational thing whereby you see a lot of younger people demanding that we take action - it certainly keeps companies on their toes. But it is also something the team is passionate about and we have upped our efforts to make sure we not only recycle as much as we can but also waste as little food as possible too.

How is Waitrose’s big vegan and vegetarian push going in your store? Our store is the first Waitrose to get a dedicated vegan fixture. It is going in this week with 125 products. We are really excited to see how it does. I can see it going like the gluten-free thing a couple of years ago, which has now grown into a very established category.

Waitrose has recently introduced its Beautifully Simple recipe concepts into store. Is it simple to keep on top of? We don’t always like to make things easy but it is about delivering what customers expect from Waitrose. Yes, it can be a bit fiddly and fussy, but we are trying to differentiate ourselves from others and not just chasing volume at the front of our stores. It is operationally challenging but it is about telling a story and it has been incredibly successful.

How do you maintain your high levels of customer service? We do put in a lot of effort around customer service but a lot of comes from the team. We have a great blend of new and experienced partners who are all keen to look after the customer. We do obviously educate them on the business but we have great people applying for the jobs.

Winner: Waitrose Southend

Manager: Wayne Narraway

Opened: 1994

Size: 55,000 sq ft

Market share: 4.4%

Nearest rivals: Sainsbury’s - 1.1 miles, Tesco - 1.8 miles, Morrisons - 2.5 miles, Asda - 3.4 miles

Store data source: Analysis by CACI. Call the market planning group on 020 7602 6000