High street baker Greggs has hinted at offering a franchise scheme to independent retailers.

Speaking at the ACS Summit this week, chief executive Ken McMeikan said some of the locations where it planned to open stores in the future might be better suited for franchising. “We manage all of our estate ourselves,” he said. “There’s no franchise operation at the moment. But some of the locations that we might go into could be through a franchise route if we chose to go down that way.”

Greggs laid out plans in 2008 to move into a raft of new locations and in 2009 opened its first forecourt store in a partnership with independent forecourt operator Euro Garages.

McMeikan also urged lobby groups to pressure government to look closer at how banks lend money to small businesses.

“I don’t think individuals have the power or the clout to do what is needed,” he said. “You need a very strong voice at the moment to hold a mirror up to the banking industry and show them how difficult life really is. The issue for businesses is how much you’re having to pay for the money that they are prepared to lend. It’s not helping us to get the high streets open again. The lobbyists have to speak on this very loud and clear to government.”

McMeikan revealed that Greggs plans to expand its Breakfast Club scheme. It runs 169 clubs across the UK, helping 8,000 children. Greggs wants to grow the scheme to 300 clubs.