GREGGS has plans to offer restaurant dining as its much-loved vegan sausage roll helped the bakery top £1BILLION in sales.
The bakery chain posted a 15 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £82.6 million in 2018, with sales rising 7.2 per cent this year to the record figure.
Boss Roger Whiteside told BBC Today that “millions of pounds” had been spent on transforming perception of the brand.
“We want people to reappraise us and understand we’ve moved on from being a pure bakery business to offering people food on the go,” he said.
“2018 was a year that tested the resilience of Greggs’ business model and demonstrated the benefits of our strategic investment programme.
“Whilst there are significant uncertainties in the months ahead, Greggs has started 2019 in great form, helped in part by the publicity surrounding the launch of our vegan-friendly sausage roll.”
There is no doubt that Greggs is on a roll and it is giving customers what they want – something that many retailers often overlook
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell
His announcement that the chain is “looking to move into the evening food market” comes after Greggs trialled an evening menu across 100 UK stores.
The chain also has form in holding one-off open evenings for events, such as the PR-storming Gregg £15 Valentine’s Day pop-up, that sold out in 20 minutes.
Regulars were left vowed when the steak bake haunt was transformed into a restaurant complete with linen tablecloths and heart-shaped balloons – and a pastry-strong four-course meal.
Greggs currently boasts 1,953 stores across the UK, a number Mr Whiteside hopes will rise to 2,000 by the end of the year.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “There is no doubt that Greggs is on a roll and it is giving customers what they want – something that many retailers often overlook.”
But he warned that ongoing innovation was key, telling This Is Money: “That could easily backfire if new products aren’t a hit and could also be a distraction to management who should be focused on the day-to-day business.”
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