Greggs has opened its 500th franchise shop in Monktonhall, East Lothian.
The bakery chain described it as a key milestone in the continued expansion of its shop estate, in line with its strategic growth plans.
It also said the opening highlights the strength of its collaboration with franchise partner Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which features a network of 84 shops that are all trading as part of petrol filling station locations across the UK – its 500th outlet is just off the A1 outside of Edinburgh.
Greggs noted that many of its MFG franchised shops are strategically positioned in roadside locations and retail parks, enabling it to cater to customers on-the-go.
The company also works with 15 other UK franchise partners including fellow forecourt giant EG Group (owner of the Cooplands bakery chain), Moto, Blakemore, Welcome Break, Park Garages, Compass, HKS, Falcon, Applegreen NI, Sodexo, Appleby Westwards, Ascona, Rontec, and travel-hub specialist SPP, which recently launched a new retail concept at train stations.
These partners, it revealed, play an important role in providing access to restricted locations such as motorway services areas, petrol filling stations, educational establishments, and smaller high street convenience locations.
Franchise shops currently account for around a fifth of the food-to-go retailer’s total estate, with 71 new franchises added this year. As of 30 September 2023, the Greggs estate comprised 2,410 shops, employing approximately 28,000 staff across the business.
Several international retail and foodservice businesses have recently annnounced plans to roll out franchise models in the UK, including Canadian chain Tim Horton’s, American brand Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, and Ireland-headquartered Bakers + Baristas.
“Just one year since we marked our 400th franchise, we’re now delighted to open our 500th – this is a huge milestone that underscores the success of our franchise model,” said Malcolm Copland, commercial director at Greggs.
“As we round off 2023, we’re pleased to be well on track to meet our ambitious shop expansion targets for the year ahead,” Copland added. “The relationships we’ve built over the years with our valued franchise partners have been critical in enabling us to accelerate our shop expansion plans, reach key travel hub locations across the UK and enhance even greater accessibility for our customers.”
New shop openings along with increased customer visits saw Greggs continue its strong trading performance into the third quarter, with total sales up by 20.8% compared to the previous year, as reported in its trading update for the 13 weeks to 30 September 2023.
Last month, it unveiled the return of its fan favourite Festive Bake via a 3D drone light show at its Gosforth bakery in Newcastle, as well as launching a new Spicy Vegetable Curry Bake.
More recently, it teamed up with department store Fenwick to create a fine dining experience dubbed ‘Bistro Greggs’ in Newcastle, which reimagines classic Greggs menu items with ‘culinary flair’.