Butterfly muffins at Tebay Services (Junction 38 – M6)

So check out this little baby I found at Westmorland Ltd’s Tebay Services (the truckstop, J38, not the motorway services) yesterday! A perfect butterfly muffin. It even looks like a butterfly. What a sweetie!

Fairy's muff

Today is a day to remind you of the existence of a company which is still very close to my heart, despite the sometimes rocky relationship I have had with it (say no more).

If you’re looking for decent food on the motorway – and when I say decent, I mean looking super-duper-delici-oso, with one or two healthy options, so that you know you’re probably not going to have a heart attack and a pile up in the next 20 miles – then Westmorland Ltd, known to the world as the famous Tebay Services, is the place for you.

It serves up homemade food, both prepackaged and available in their cafes, for all weary travellers who come a-knockin’. Well, as long as they have nice, healthy wallets (it is the motorway, for heaven’s sake, what more do you expect?)

Even if your wallet is looking a bit green, there are loyalty schemes such as the Truck Driver’s Club, and even those dinky little cards as per Caffe Nero, where you get a stamp every time you buy a coffee, or a meal. Buy so many, get the last one free. Comes in handy if you visit often enough (I do).

One of the important differences this company makes to the world is to serve as a lesson that just because something is homemade and in-house-packaged, it doesn’t have to look rubbish! Sainsbury’s, please learn this lesson!

Using beautiful designs, mainly by the fabulous Caryn Gough, and generally nice packaging which looks environmentally-friendly, they persuade you to pay your money and walk away with something which looks like a product that someone cared about.

The point is, if a company makes an effort with their products; actually sets out to design them nicely; produces sweet and colourful labels; uses packaging which holds the product, shows it off, and doesn’t collapse in your hands … well, all that leads to a better customer experience, doesn’t it?

I’m not suggesting Westmorland get it right all the time – they have fumbled a few things here and there – but everyone’s entitled to make mistakes, just as long as they don’t keep repeating them.

They’re moving on to the M5, at Gloucester Services so the poor ol’ South can taste some local foodwares with lovely design. Good luck to them, and let’s hope that getting bigger doesn’t spoil their product ethics.