Moto – the name behind the brand

Q&A with Tim Moss, chief executive, Moto.


Marketing Week (MW): How do you approach running someone else’s brand?

Tim Moss (TM): We strive wherever possible to achieve results that are higher than the franchisors’ own results in terms of standards within the [shop] units, so from the customer’s perspective, it is a seamless experience.

MW: Does Moto taking the risk for a brand allow it to try out new formats?

TM: The motorway service market is more conservative, so we tend to see the trends later. So the first time people might try a new food brand it might be somewhere like Canary Wharf, then it might be Heathrow Airport and then the London stations. Then it might extend to the West End, to the provinces and to service stations.

MW: Why aren’t less established brands seen at service stations?

TM: Motorway service stations effectively lose money by being at the cutting edge of brand development. People come from all over the country so don’t have that familiarity [with newer brands].

If they saw [upmarket takeaway brand] Leon in a motorway service station, not knowing what it is, they wouldn’t necessarily go and buy from it. Would we want to offer a brand like that in the future? Yes, that would be great, as the distribution gets wider and people recognise it more.

MW: What trends do you see happening?



We see the snacking trend of the last five or six years continuing. People used to come into Little Chef and buy a starter, main course and dessert but now people buy hot or cold food at any time of day or night.

There will be more convenience food and packaged food, along with fewer plated, traditional English meals.

MW: What can brands learn from Moto?

TM: Our main priority is to learn from them rather than the other way round. We pay a franchise fee to take advantage of the franchisor’s expertise. There is no point paying that to tell a brand what to do.

We always try to run a brand in line with how the owner would; that is why we enter the relationship and is the reason why we quite like being told what to do and how to do it.

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