Greggs using menu innovation to recover from cold snap that grounded stores

Greggs is planning on kitchen innovation driving further growth in its business after revealing it is seeing rising demand for both hot food and healthier menu choices.

The company said its hot food offer remains a growing area for the business, providing food-on-the-go options for all times of the day.

At the same time, it is reporting strong sales of healthier options as it extends the menu choices available in its stores. The 1,900-strong chain recently launched two new salads for the summer – feta and beetroot dip with grains and lemon and herb chicken with roasted vegetables and grains.

A range of new snack pots have been added to the menu and it has also launched its first ‘Balanced Choice’ sweet option, a Belgian chocolate pot.

Greggs is hoping the drive will compensate for a difficult few months in which the adverse weather caused a drag on sales.

Although it began the first eight weeks of the year with 3% like-for-like growth, the prolonged cold snap temporarily closed many of its stores.

Greggs said trading during March and April had been “challenging”, and while average transaction values grew it saw a reduction in like-for-like transaction numbers.

Total sales for the four months to 5 May increased 4.7% year-on-year, but just 1.3% on a like-for-like basis.

Greggs has completed 36 shop refurbishments and opened 41 new shops since the start of the year, including 14 franchised units in transport locations. 12 shops have closed in the same period.

New shop openings remain focused on increasing the brand’s reach into new food-on-the-go locations and the relocation of existing shops. In recent weeks there have been a number of high-profile openings including Westminster Tube station, Birmingham New Street station, Glasgow Buchanan bus terminal and East Midlands Airport.

Looking ahead, the company said May has started more strongly than it experienced throughout March and April, however it added that it remained “cautious” in respect of its outlook for sales in the balance of the year due to uncertainties over market footfall.

“We are well positioned to compete for sales in the months ahead with the launch of our new summer menu featuring new sandwiches and salads and we will be extending our offer of value meal deals. Costs are being controlled tightly with food input cost inflation easing in line with our expectations, and we expect this trend to continue,” the chain said.

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