Greggs is trialling 100 shops with hot counter units o attract new customers

Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside has announced plans to capture a slice of the evening food-to-go market through an expansion in hot food-to-go options.

Whiteside told The Grocer Greggs was currently trialling 100 shops with hot counter units, offering a range of fresh pasta, porridge, chicken and potato wedges.

He said the initial focus was to get the evening menu up and running in normal trading hours, and look to extend trading hours if there was sufficient customer demand.

“Hot food is the last of the big trends that we’ve chosen to pursue, something that is growing rapidly in the business, so hot sandwiches is a natural starting point for that because we’ve obviously got a good position in the sandwich market already,” said Whiteside.

“We’re starting to experiment now with other hot food options which we’ve got in trial stores, things like chicken goujons, potato wedges, pasta dishes, that type of thing. We’re trying to develop a menu that we think ultimately might have appeal at a strategic level in the evening. We still see that as a time of day where Greggs basically doesn’t trade and it provides an opportunity over the longer term for us to develop a reputation in that time as well.”

He added that Greggs’ home delivery partnership with UberEats would become more important if Greggs successfully tapped into the evening market.

“It will have more relevance to Greggs over the long term if we are successful as we intend to be in developing a reputation for a menu that sells in the early evening, because it appears the delivery solution is skewed towards an evening meal solution rather than a breakfast or lunch solution.”

Greggs’ company-managed shops saw a like-for-like sales increase of 3.7% in the final quarter of 2017, with a total sales increase of 7.4%.