Motorway Services, what service?

Motorway Services, what service?

We do lot of travelling by road and despair of having to try and find something to eat at any of the motorway service franchises. If there is a Waitrose or M&S shop we can occasionally get fresh fruit or salad and the ubiquitous Costa GF brownie but the hot food/sandwich outlets offer so little that it is now more likely that we go self-sufficent and pack a picnic. This obviously saves me becoming ill and we save a lot of money but sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to know I at least had the option of getting something in an emergency! I am writing to all of the motorway service providers to ask for their opinion on this and would appreciate any feedback from this forum.

9 Replies

  • Totally agree with you, it is dire to try and eat whilst travelling. We tend to try and organise being able to leave the motorway to get to a little chef (who are always very accommodating) or to an Ikea (for the same reason). Once...and only once, there was one service area where the cook took pity on me and cooked especially for me but it was very quiet at the time. Would it be worth putting a standard letter together on here with a list of service areas and we could all copy the same letter and bombard them.

    I always take a picnic but sometimes I just fancy something warm to eat and we're not that difficult to feed...even baked spuds with cheese and beans would be good.

  • My husband and I also travel a fair bit and would also love to be able to eat at motorway service stations.

    So I'm totally up for bombarding them with letters to request they do the decent thing and cater for us! ;-)

    There must be a demand for GF foods in these places. However my worry is that they may see it as an opportunity to make even more profit and inflate their prices accordingly. Food prices in service station are notoriously expensive anyway.

  • I don't want specifically GF foods which they can then charge the earth for...just ordinary food that is naturally GF and isn't a limp salad or tasteless fruit salad bowl (or an I just being far too faddy here lol)

  • Hi Jollsenzo, if you are writing to all motorway services it might be worth mentioning that Dr Schar are planning vending machines providing gf options at airports railway stations and motorway services, please see:

    And recently when planning a trip North of Cambridge I did a google search and came across good reviews for the services on the A-14 North of Cambridge who have a gluten free menu.

  • I use Gordano all the time, which has a Waitrose and a Starbucks.

    Both offer the odd GF sarnie but you have to get in quick! I managed to get the last GF Egg sandwich in Waitrose at 10.30am the other day. I tend to take food with me when I travel, even though I might be able to get something I don't feel I can rely on either.

    Hope you get a positive response JoolsEnzo.

  • Yes, all for bombarding service areas on motorways with gf requests. Sounds like a very good idea, if they do not realise how many of us there are we will be/are ignored.

  • I recetly cherry picked a services with an M&S in the hope of picking up a sandwhich. When there were non on offer a staff member sugested i buy a loaf of bread which was a lone soilder and looked like it had been there a week. So if i were then to buy fillings id be looking at £10 plus for a sandwhich! Then all the remaining ingredients would be stored in the hot car for the remaining leg of our long journy:( i agree a nice spud would have done thge trick. I too would be happy to send letters as i use service stations alot. If we dont shout about it they will have no idea of the demand.

  • Looks as if we are all of a mind here! The cost of ANY food at services is extortionate considering the poor quality on offer and I agree if GF food was on offer they would hike the prices even further. I think there are many more people out there who would appreciate good, healthy options that are naturally GF, fresh, lower in fat and sugar etc. I will work on the mail bombardment and see what response ensues.

  • Like all areas of business the small get devoured by the large, and motorway services are no different. i worked for 10 years "On the Motorway" as the Deputy Head chef at one of the largest sites in the UK. At the time i worked there we were privately owned and our management were keen to promote good quality food, freshly prepared on site. On a busy day (in the main restaurant) we could produce up to 5000 meals with choices including a comprehensive salad bar offering a wide variety of salad products made freshly during the day, A pizza operation with a large choice of fillings made virtually to order. The main meals section was filled with a range of freshly made products offering a wide choice of meat ,fish and pasta products all made daily with fresh ingredients, just as you would obtain at any "decent" restaurant.(but obviously made in larger quantities) All of our bakery products were made on site and our bread , rolls , crossaints Etc.. were baked fresh each day.

    We had a top class dessert chef , who when she left us went to work in a 4* private country club.

    Of course we offered the usual "early morning Breakfast menu", but i like to think our offerings were of a standard unequaled on most motorways services.

    Well as the way of the world , we were eventually "bought out" by a National chain offering the usual "Ping" produced Micro-Garbage who brought in there Standardized menu. Needless to say myself and the other "Chefs" all left for pastures new....

    Dont you just love "Progress"

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