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Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Guild Foods Market
10 February, 2020

Location:

On the busy Woodbridge Road in Guildford

Forecourt:

The site is on a busy road and I could see the forecourt thanks to the BP canopy, however it was disappointing that the top part of the BP pole sign was dark the bulbs must have blown!

It's a small forecourt but a busy one. But you have to ask if it's a victim of its own success as lots of the pumps were out of order. There is some parking but it's all quite tight.

Shop:

The shop sports an attractive Guild Foods illuminated logo with 10 slots to highlight what's inside. Mentioned were: The Kitchen, Guild of Vapes, The Cellar and the butchers Rawlings of Cranleigh.

There is a great range of nuts and snacks in dispensers where you can help yourself by filling paper bags. You then weigh your bag and print a label. It's the sort of thing that's now available in some Waitrose stores.

There is also an impressive range of healthy lines including probiotics, Osteocare liquid, apple cider vinegar as well as free-from foods such as egg-free mayo and dairy-free milk alternatives.

I think someone must have over-ordered toilet rolls as there seemed to be stacks of them everywhere I turned.

There's a separate vape area, which was busy at the time of my visit.

There is an impressive looking serve-over hot drinks and food-to-go area however it was closed at the time of my visit (just before 6pm on a weekday). There was also a nice-looking The Kitchen 'made with love' cabinet but it had one solitary item in it.

The counter with coffee stirrers and condiments desperately needed a wipe down.

There's a good range of Urban Eat sandwiches and wraps, but no meal deal.

The fresh produce section was excellent, with a great colourful range. Glass chiller doors sported the Guild Foods Market logo.

I was keen to buy some of the fresh meat that I knew they sold but there was hardly any available on the fixture.

There was still quite a lot of Christmas stock hanging around and there were quite a few gaps on shelves right across the store.

Generally, the range across the store was amazing with lots of unusual products mixed in with the standard ones you can find anywhere. For example they had Casalinga cracker bread next to Tuc crackers.

The dedicated Beer and Wine Cellar was a busy area.

A lot of thought has gone into the interior design with wood flooring, exposed brickwork, a leafy arch and old black and white photos.

The staff were exceptionally helpful and the lady on the till who served me was amazing; just so friendly.

The toilet facilities were okay but the toilet seat was tatty.

Prognosis:

The owner of this site said he wanted to do something different and he has definitely succeeded there. Apparently less than 20% of customers here want fuel, which is why so much attention has been placed on the shop.

Diagnosis:

The shop side of a petrol forecourt is extremely important nowadays particularly when it comes to profits but it should not be at the cost of the forecourt.

Prescription:

There's no doubt that the shop is impressive, however the fact that the hot food counter is closed before 6pm is disappointing as are the many gaps on the shelves. Perhaps they don't get food-to-go trade after 6pm but the site is on a very busy main road so I would be surprised if that were so. Definitely more attention needs to be paid to stock levels. To say you offer meat from a family butcher and then to have hardly any on display is very disappointing.

Also that BP pole sign desperately needs illuminating and those pumps up and running. One has to wonder whether the fuel side is an after thought and whether the owners would have been better to have done away with it altogether and concentrated on the shop!


Have you introduced a new way of doing business/added new services during the pandemic, that you will continue to offer in the future?