When you think of Greggs, it’s easy to imagine a quick dash down the high street for a hangover sausage roll.
However, there are signs the Newcastle-based chain is changing how it reaches consumers. Last month, Greggs opened its first drive through site in Salford. And in an interview with Marketing Week, its CEO Roger Whiteside hinted that you could soon get sausage rolls and steak bakes delivered to your door as well.
“Does a Greggs customer want someone to deliver food to their door to save them making it? Yes, because convenience is everything,” says Whiteside.
“The question is still how to make money out of it and that’s what we’re trying to work out. If you work with Deliveroo, they charge a commission. There’s also the question of how it impacts customer behaviour. Will delivery cannibalise your shopper’s time and stop them going to a Greggs shop? If someone can deliver and it isn’t too expensive we can use it. But there’s still a long way to go.”
Something that’s much closer to fruition for Greggs is click-and-collect. Whiteside admits the brand currently struggles to meet customer demand for customised products as it slows up service. But he says Greggs is fine-tuning its systems to enable mobile pre-ordering.
“Click-and-collect is definitely coming, we will do it. We haven’t yet as we’re integrating our systems in the backend but that will soon be finished and I imagine you’ll be able to pre-order a customised sandwich on your phone,” he adds.
In the first 19 weeks of 2017, Greggs saw its total sales rise 7.5%, compared to 5.7% growth in the same period last year. Its like-for-like sales, meanwhile, were up 3.6%. It said this rise was largely driven by the popularity of its £2 breakfast deal.
And with such upward momentum within the business, Whiteside says the plan is now to open at least 100 stores a year. With Greggs already in so many high street locations, he says this expansion plan will target drive-by locations, industrial parks and service stations.
“We’re currently on 1,800 stores and there’s scope to go well beyond 2,000. Subway just celebrated their 2,500th shop and we know we trade fantastically in locations where there’s a Subway, so [Greggs hitting 2,500 stores] is realistic.”
Whiteside says there’s also scope for Greggs to make more hot food and target the dinner market.
He concludes: “Hot food is a big possibility for us and we’re busy experimenting. Our hot sandwiches are flying off the shelves so we now want more hot choices for customers. Wherever people want lunch, a snack or even a meal at tea time, that’s where Greggs needs to be.”