Tell us a little about the history of the business
Dad (Yogan) came to this country in 1984 and he started working shifts in a bakery but the hours were long and unsociable so my mum encouraged him to change jobs and he started working as a cleaner in a petrol station - and the rest, is, well, history. He became a Manager, Area Manager and then he leased a couple of sites. He has an incredible work ethic. He’s actually been nominated for a Forecourt Trader award!
Did you and your brother Priyanth always intend to join the family business or did you have other plans after college?
We both studied economics at Uni in London and from there we worked in finance - and we enjoyed it. But my dad had always said, ‘if you want to join the business it’s here for you’ but, you know, he never put any pressure on us, he was adamant that it should be our decision. And much as I enjoyed the fast-paced world of finance I always had this feeling that I wanted more, a bigger challenge - and joining the family business has certainly more than lived up to my expectations.
What do you like about your job and what are the challenges?
I love that everyday is different. It’s not easy but in a way it’s the challenges that it make it interesting - keeps you on your toes! Every day I’m learning something new. And it’s hands on with so many different aspects to the job and with that variety come life skills that I would never have learnt had I stayed in an office job. I’ve spent the last 18-months learning the ropes from Vas, the area manager and my dad’s cousin - and he’s been a great teacher.
What is the recipe for running a successful site?
There are four main criteria: be presentable, be competitive, stay well-stocked and offer peerless service. When a customer comes on to the site it should be pristine, the pricing competitive, the shop well stocked and great service. Nothing too much trouble. It’s always been my dad’s ethos. People want to get in and out quickly and back on the road - everyone’s busy! I guess it’s about taking pride in your work and your environment and my dad and Vas are great examples of those principles and work ethic.
Tell me about your relationship with JET
The key thing with JET is service. Chris (Chris Murphy, Retail Account Manager, Phillips 66Ltd) is always on the end of the phone and on hand to sort out any issues if they arise. He’s the type of person you want as part of your team.
How has the new-look Hertford Rd been received by your customers?
Amazing! Really really good things. They love the JET branding - it stands apart from other sites - especially at night. The shop has also been completely transformed and we have already seen sales double and the Tango Ice Blasts and f’real milkshakes are flying! The trick is always to stay one step ahead of the customer and try and pre-empt what they need and/or want
If you had to sum up your job in three words, what would they be?
Rewarding, challenging, informative – every day I learn something different, something new.