GREGGS workers are to get a share of a £7million bonus after the success of the chain’s sell-out vegan sausage roll.
The high street bakery employs 25,000 members of staff who will each receive a payout of up to £300 as a “special thank you”.
The bakers reported that the underlying pre-tax profit would be higher than expected when it announced the 2019 results in March last year, following the launch of the meat-free snack.
Around 19,000 employees who have been with the firm since before March 31 2019 will get £300 each, while the other 6,000 staff members will be paid £75 per quarter they have worked for the company.
Staff will receive the bonuses at the end of January.
What does the vegan steak bake taste like?
THE Sun reporter Levi Winchester gives her verdict on Greggs’ vegan steak bake.
“I’ve been a vegetarian for two years so I can remember what a traditional steak bake tastes like – and Greggs’ vegan version has a lot to live up to.
“It arrived at The Sun HQ this lunchtime in a fancy yellow box with its very own video message inside, obviously.
“The first thing you notice is the difference in the pastry compared to the meat version.
“The slits along the bake are vertical, as opposed to horizontal. The base is also paler and lacks the shine of the original due to not being glazed.
“But still, it’s yummy and to be honest, tastes like regular Greggs pastry albeit a little less crispy.
“On to the filling: I was expecting large chunks of Quorn but actually, the no-meat mince used is pretty mushy.
“The gravy is delicious though and I think even meat-eaters would be fooled into thinking they’re eating a steak sauce.
“My verdict: vegans and vegetarians will love this. The taste is flavourful but I think the texture of the Quorn mince might be off-putting for some meat-eaters.”
Greggs’ boss Roger Whiteside said: “I am delighted to announce that we will also be making a special additional payment to all of our colleagues across the business who have worked so hard to deliver this success in what has been a phenomenal year.”
The bakery has dubbed the vegan pastry snack “iconic” and has tried to recreate the success this year with the launch of its vegan steak bake and a vegan doughnut.
This year saw Greggs open 138 new shops, while also closing 41, bringing its total portfolio to 2,050 across the UK.
It also plans to open another 100 chains throughout 2020.
In 2019, sales grew 13.5 per cent, compared to 7.2 per cent in 2018, and like-for-like sales were up 9.2 per cent.
But Mr Whiteside also warned: “Looking to the year ahead, we face strong sales comparatives and cost inflation headwinds present a challenge.”
Among these challenges, which were predicted to be tougher than in recent years, are the increase in national living wage costs that outstrip the rate of inflation.
It also warned that the rising price of pork – due to a weak pound and a soaring export demand – was likely to impact the business.
He added: “As usual we will seek to mitigate as much of this as is possible through business efficiency, but will also ensure that our prices continue to represent great value.”
Greggs has also hinted that it will be working on more vegan products to add to the menu.
It’s not the only high street chain trying to cater for the meat-free, dairy-free market.
Not sure which meat-free option is the best? We’ve taste tested the best vegan fast food on the high street so you don’t have to.