GREGGS opens its first concept coffee shop in the centre of Newcastle today and the model could be rolled out nationwide if it is a hit in its North East heartland.
Greggs Moment has created 25 jobs and has taken nine months to bring from the drawing board to its site at the top of Northumberland Street.
Around 50 new products have been created especially for the concept and there is not a sausage roll or pasty in sight. Instead, customers can sit down with a cup of quality coffee or tea in a British-themed two-floor cafe, complete with teapot and bowler hat lamp shades, Union Jack cushions and bookcases on the wall.
Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan said: “This is a new concept shop looking at something completely different. This is a one shop trial – is this what our customers want?
“It’s based on customer research. They said they wanted something that feels very friendly and has got a bit of fun about it. They want to recognise there’s a British feel.
“Typically, Greggs shops don’t have the seating and the space. The cafes [we still have] are the legacy of Bakers Oven rather than Greggs. They are very different in terms of the space you’d have.
“The range we have is very, very different. You can choose what you want and we’ll make it up for you. This is a range tailored for customers who want to sit in.”
He is confident that Greggs Moment can compete with the surrounding chains by offering food he says is typically 20% cheaper than its rivals and a cup of cappuccino costing around 30p less. The cafe is also trialling 7am opening and 10pm closing on Monday to Saturday, with 9am-5pm hours on a Sunday.
McMeikan said it was “hugely important” that the first Greggs Moment was tested in Newcastle.
“We are very proud we are one of the few public limited companies in Newcastle,” he said. “Sixty years ago we opened the first shop in Gosforth. I felt it was really helpful for us to open here – the people really know Greggs and they will give us feedback on what they like and what they don’t.
“They are very open and honest and to the point. It’s a lovely message for the people of Newcastle; we are investing and investing here.”