Moto tops service stations survey

09 March 2006
Moto tops service stations survey

Moto has emerged triumphant in a Which? survey to find the best UK motorway service stations.

The 21 Moto sites visited were rated at an average of 3.1 out of five, Welcome Break (17 sites) was awarded 3.05, while RoadChef (13) received 3, according to Caterer‘s calculations.

Consumer watchdog Which? refused to release any detailed figures from the survey but admitted margins between the brands were wider than suggested by the scores. A Which? spokesman said: "There was a clear gap between first and second place, but less so between Welcome Break and RoadChef."

The report graded 57 of the UK's 82 roadside sites and based its findings on the sites' general facilities, including the range of food and drinks available.

Brian Lotts, managing director of Compass-owned Moto, said: "We're particularly pleased that Which? has recognised the facilities we provide for all our different customers."

RoadChef chief executive Martin Grant questioned the findings, however. "It's an interesting snapshot but the sites with the strongest scores are either very new or have had sizeable recent investment," he said. He also questioned how valuable it would prove to the consumer.

"It gives a few basic insights but customers use sites because they normally break their journey in the same place, their bladder goes or the car runs out of petrol," he said.

Branded outlets, such as M&S Simply Food at Moto and Costa Coffee at RoadChef, were praised for their sandwiches and coffee ahead of more expensive in-house brands.

The best motorway service station in the country was the independently run Westmorland Tebay services in Cumbria, which was praised for its duck pond. The Extra Cullompton site in Devon was voted the worst in the country, described as "little more than a McDonald's next to a petrol station".

RoadChef's Sandbach services in Cheshire, voted the worst in Europe by the AA's 2004 motorway services guide, was awarded three points in the Which? survey.

By Tom Bill

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