Greggs CEO: ‘I’m going to go well beyond 2,000 sites’

Roger Whiteside, CEO at Lunch! 2017

The CEO of the largest bakery chain in the UK has revealed that he has ambitions far and above Greggs’ public growth targets and that the group’s kitchens will need to adapt to both allow and cope with the planned expansion.

Roger Whiteside, who has been in the position for four years and has taken the brand to over 1,800 shops so far, declared at the Lunch! show last week that he has limited his public target to 2,000 sites because he ‘doesn’t like to give a number that he might not hit’.

“I’m going to go well beyond 2,000,” Whiteside promised. “We know we’re going to go well beyond 2,000 but what we don’t know is whether we will go well beyond 3,000. Subway is at 2,500, Costa is at about 2,300. There is clearly scope for more Greggs’, believe it or not.”

Whiteside also revealed to FEJ that as the brand grows its numbers that more emphasis will be placed on back-of-house operations and kitchen space.

“We’re needing more space in the back to prepare food and we want to open up more of that. Just like you see in all the trendier London food-to-go operations, people like to see that their food is being made and that it’s fresh and they want to know that it can be trusted.

“Those are all cues that we need to pick up on so we’ve been busy rolling out the transformation of Greggs. Outside of London, Greggs has been literally transformed. The next generation of that needs to come and when that comes I’m sure it will be more visual in terms of the freshly prepared nature of the food.”

The business believes that it is still only “in the foothills of hot food” – an area it feels will be key to long-term growth and something it is investing a lot of money in, indicating that kitchen equipment will become an ever more important consideration for executives.

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