Last night more than 100 checkout operators from New World and PAK'nSAVE stores across Wellington took to the tills onstage at St James Theatre to compete for the chance to be 'Checker of the Year' in Foodstuffs North Island's annual competition. Judged by a team of eight senior Foodstuffs staff, the checkout operators were judged on their speed, presentation, customer service and accuracy as they scanned 30 items as quickly as possible while maintaining friendly and composed.

Vanessa Cone from PAK'nSAVE Kapiti was announced as the winner, followed by Noora Tautua from New World Porirua, and then Ashleigh Quayle from New World Miramar.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate the contribution our checkout operators make on the front-line of our business every day. Our checkers are the face of our business and their customer service skills are crucial to our success in meeting the expectations of our customers. The annual Checker of the Year competition is about acknowledging their skills and creating some friendly rivalry between stores,” explained CEO of Foodstuffs North Island, Chris Quin.

The top twelve checkers each received a $50 gift card with the top three finalists winning extra prizes. Prizes were also given out for best dressed team, best supporting teams and best air guitar solo (in keeping with the 'rock star' theme).

As the winner of the Wellington region heat, Vanessa Cone will go on to compete against the winners of the nine other regional heats held over June-July. Each regional winner will be mystery shopped three times between August and November to determine the overall North Island Checker of the Year winner and two runners-up, which will be announced at the Foodstuffs North Island Excellence Awards in November.