Business in a service station

I was intrigued the other day whilst sitting in a service station or, more accurately as they are now known: a Motorway Service Area.  They even have their own TLA* = MSA!

What was I doing in a MSA?

Well, I’d gone all showbiz and glam and set up a meeting at Warwick Services.  I arrived early and installed myself in Starbucks (Grande Latte and a Breakfast Panini, which cost me in excess of seven quid) and started to write some blogs.

But I got distracted by two blokes sitting behind me… or at least I was distracted by their conversation.

The two guys were middle aged.  One, I guess, middle, middle aged, the other late middle aged.  Curiously, they were both dressed the same… black trousers, checked shirts and blue jumpers.

In my defence, I have to say I wasn’t really earwigging because they were making no effort to lower their voices or disguise their conversation.  Here’s how it went:

Guy 1: Well, we’ll make a net profit on three million if we sell that property

Guy 2: No, I don’t think so… you need to lose a million out of your costs to achieve those figures

Guy 1: I agree, let’s see where we can lose that million, shall we?

Guy 2: Look, I think the refurb we’re doing, we push that out to next year and that will save us five hundred thou

Guy 1: I’ve just had a left field idea… hear me out.  Why don’t we up the refurb expenditure and then divest ourselves of that property?  We’ll need to do it quickly and we can yield even more

Guy 2: Talk to me more… I like the sound of the divestment but we need to yield four mill to make it worthwhile

And so on and so on.

All very interesting, and it was the bandying about of the ‘million’ figure that really caught my attention.  But, as I was thinking more about it, I tried to put this into the context of franchising.  If franchising is all about the system and process, could you imagine a franchisor saying:  ‘What you need to do is get yourself to Warwick Services and free flow some thought processes…’

It just wouldn’t work.

The thing is, I’m a great believer in process but maybe, just maybe somewhere in the process there has to be an allowance for Service Station Business.

I can’t believe I’ve just said that!

What do you think?


*TLA = Three Letter Abbreviation

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