Bakery suppliers to JD Wetherspoon are looking forward to a surge in orders after the pub chain announced it will open 250 pubs over the next five years, taking its total number of outlets in the UK to nearly 1,000.
Wetherspoon plans to invest £250m and create 10,000 jobs in the expansion, which will lead to increased orders for muffins, brownies, ciabattas, paninis and baguettes. "Food is a massive part of the Wetherspoon offer, worth £260m a year. Increasing the estate by a third will increase food sales by the same amount," said a spokesman. "The bakery side of things is a big market for us."
Wetherspoon sells around 18,000 muffins a week, 26,000 paninis and 25,000 ciabattas or baguettes. Total annual sales of these three bakery categories is estimated to be at least £9.5m.
Bakehouse, which supplies Wetherspoon with stone-baked ciabattas and multigrain baguettes for its sandwiches, has seen sales with the chain increase by 30% this year, according to Nicky Cracknell, national account controller for foodservice.
"Both breads have performed really well and have been extended into seasonal and limited-edition products, such as a meatball marinara ciabatta and traditional ploughman’s," said Cracknell. "The news that Wetherspoon is expanding means things certainly look healthy for the future. We are currently working on another bread line for them, as well as developing their offer in airport locations."
Wetherspoon is holding a strategic meeting with all its suppliers this week to discuss its purchasing strategy and future growth plans.
The group’s new pubs will be located across the UK, inclu-ding sites in Sheffield, Livingston, Leominster, Otley, New Malden, Liverpool, Haverfordwest and Newcastle.