EXPANSION plans could see a Tyneside bakery one day be recognised the world over, its boss says.
Greggs’ chief executive Ken McMeikan has revealed he wants to take the stottie to new markets and says there is no reason why the company should not be as big a name globally as Starbucks and McDonald’s.
The Tyneside firm is already Britain’s biggest baker with more than 1,500 shops. Mr McMeikan said he is now looking for even greater UK and global increases.
He said: “I can see Greggs being substantially larger than 2,000 shops across the UK. And that also doesn’t include outside of the UK.
“Over the past two years particularly, I’ve been travelling to different parts of the world and trying to look at the countries where I believe there is a demand from a customer base in terms of their tastes, and also maybe where there is a competitive opportunity for us to go into those countries.”
He added: “I really am convinced that Greggs can go international. You only need to look at some very good brands that have made the leap and gone around the world, companies such as Starbucks, the likes of Subway and McDonald’s and others.
“They sell a number of items that we sell ourselves at Greggs. Increasingly coffee and hot drinks are becoming important.”
He also revealed a trial of a new frozen range. “We are trying at the moment in a very low key way, through a trial with Iceland selling frozen sausage rolls (in supermarkets).
“However, there is a risk that you could make it much more convenient for your customers to buy your products at a supermarket rather than coming into your own shops.”
He also gave a realistic assessment of the firm’s trading position. “We always thought it was going to be another difficult year in 2011,” he said. “Within my leadership team we have been talking about how we have been through three tough years, but let’s plan for it to be tough over the next two or three years and don’t be too optimistic and hope that it’s going to turn around in the next six or 12 months.
“The reality is, it looks like from an economic point of view that it’s going to be tough throughout the second half of 2011 and right through 2012.”