Greggs is one of the most prolific food chains in the United Kingdom. Walking down any high street in the UK, you are likely to see one or more in no time at all. The first Greggs opened in 1951, the company has grown exponentially in the following years, becoming the largest bakery chain in England.
With 1,806 shops under its wing, and 145 new locations opened just in 2016, things don't seem to be slowing down. The firm unveiled their sales figures for the first half of 2017, revealing that they had earned £453 million, an increase 7.3% from last year. During these statements, the company announced that they would be expanding into a new territory: the drive-thru.
While the likes of McDonald's and KFC have been doing it for years, various chain restaurants and cafes are jumping on the bandwagon. It wasn't that long ago that Costa Coffee had no such locations, but now they do, and Greggs are hoping to find success in the same way.
Greggs opened an experimental drive-thru at a service station in Salford, Greater Manchester, a month ago. After the wild success of that trial location, the company knew they had to expand to as many places in the UK as possible. While no locations have been officially confirmed yet, they have promised that a large number of places will be able to find a drive-thru Greggs in the near future.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside, speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle, said that the company has "been encouraged by its popularity, indicating a demand for further drive-thru locations". The peak times will likely be the morning and evening rush hours, but these drive-thrus will likely open much later to accommodate travellers, staying open until 9pm. He continued:
"There is an edited selection of the menu at the lane but everything in the whole range is available. People know Greggs and know what they want so just order from memory, and the transaction value is higher because they are doing a run for a group of people or a family.
"Drive-thru is something we have shown we can adapt ourselves to without introducing new products. In terms of opportunity, we want to get to 2,000 stores and have 1,806 now, so we will get as many as we can where the costs stack up."
While there are plenty of fast food chains and bakeries I would love to see get the drive-thru treatment, Greggs seems like one that should be front of the queue. Their particular menu and quick service seems like it was destined to receive the drive-thru expansion.
Whiteside is even tempted by the idea of home delivery, explaining that "if you'd asked me a few years ago, I couldn't see there being demand. Now I can see there is demand, but now it needs to be proved we can make money from it. I'm one step closer to it."
I've got to admit, I'm pretty excited about the prospect of stopping by to grab a late night coffee during a long journey, or grabbing breakfast on the morning commute. I'm sure I'm not the only one looking forward to these new locations being opened.