Cornish Bakery shop  2100x1400

Source: Cornish Bakery

Cornish Bakery has named Mat Finch as its first managing director, while new funding from Virgin Money is helping accelerate growth of its retail footprint.

Having been on the hunt for a new leader for the past six months, the independent bakery chain believes that in hospitality specialist Finch, it has now found the right person to drive its stated objectives. These will include working alongside founder Steve Grocutt to build a unique team culture, supercharge swift growth, and continue ‘winning beautifully’, the company said.

Finch has over 20 years of experience of commercial leadership in the leisure, hospitality, retail, and tech sectors, with a track record of developing customer experiences and managing large teams. He previously had a 12-year stint as the commercial and marketing director of Warner Leisure Hotels, part of the Bourne Leisure Group, where he led a team of 120 and helped double revenue, achieve 90%+ occupancy, and open two new hotels.

New managing director Mat Finch - Cornish Bakery  2100x1400

Source: Cornish Bakery

New managing director Mat Finch

At the start of 2024, Cornish Bakery was operating 63 shop, the vast majority of which are in England with two located a short distance over the border in Scotland. This total saw it rise one place to 23rd in the list of Top 75 out-of-home businesses as part of British Baker’s Bakery Market Report 2024.  

At least 10 new openings are confirmed for this year, along with a future ambition of doubling or tripling its current estate. Cornish Bakery’s latest financial results showed a 13% increase in sales compared to the previous year, reaching £23.6m for the 53 weeks to 1 June 2023.

“We continue to drive our impressive business growth through our unquestionable people-first values and our independent brand spirit,” commented Grocutt, who opened his first store in Mevagissey, Cornwall, in 1994. “As our first MD, Mat will now lead our 800+ people, continuing our successful journey whilst nourishing our vital teams and customers on the way.

“Bakery is very clearly the new coffee shop, and Mat fully echoes my strong belief that our industry can change and create real legacy. He’ll lead the charge now with Cornish Bakery redefining what a bakery is, what it does and what it can be, every single day of the week,” the founder added.

Cornish Bakery offers an extensive menu of artisan-quality food including its signature authentic, handmade Cornish pasties, ethically sourced coffee via B-Corp company Union Coffee, and creative pastries. It was recognised in 2023 as among the top UK companies to work for by employee engagement specialist Best Companies.

Banking boost

Finch’s mission to supercharge growth at Cornish Bakery will be assisted by a new funding package from Virgin Money, announced just a day before his own appointment.

Cornish Bakery Cheltenham 1667x1581

Source: Cornish Bakery

The Cornish Bakery shop in Cheltenham was opened last November

The undisclosed sum is to be used in setting up new locations in the East Midlands, the South West and Nottinghamshire in the near future, as well as refurbishing existing stores in St Ives and across the Lake District.

“We fully appreciate our close working relationship with the Strategic Finance team at Virgin Money and are delighted to work together to continually achieve, and often overachieve, our ambitious objectives,” said Ralf Goad, finance director of Cornish Bakery.

David Burgess, business development director at Virgin Money, noted the latest cashflow finance package continued the bank’s 15-year relationship with the bakery brand. “Cornish Bakery is an established and growing business with a great reputation for quality produce and service which is backed up by their customer reviews,” he added.

Last month, Virgin Money approved a £750k financing package for Dean’s of Huntly to help the Scottish shortbread specialist meet overseas demand for its products during seasonal spikes.