Greggs takes on Burger King and McDonald’s with hot food menu

Greggs is looking to take a bite out of McDonald’s and Burger King’s evening trade with a new fast-food menu that includes chicken goujons, potato wedges and pasta dishes.

The Newcastle baker, famous for its sausage rolls and steak bakes, is broadening its takeaway menu as Britons spend more of their food budgets on eating out.

The Greggs chief executive, Roger Whiteside, said it had already taken on fast-food rivals at breakfast and lunchtimes and now sees scope to become a destination for evening meals too. “We are testing a menu that will appeal in the evening, which is the part of the day when Greggs doesn’t trade,” he explained.

The chain has already expanded its repertoire to include gluten-free soup, low-calorie wraps and speciality coffees, such as its new caramel latte, and is working on vegan options. “Hot food is the last of the big food trends we have chosen to pursue,” said Whiteside.

Greggs has installed hot food cabinets in 100 stores and if the menu is well received Whiteside said it could extend its trading hours into the evening, when burger chains and convenience stores cash in on office workers heading home or out for the evening.

“We need to find out if we can we sell hot food at the times we are already open.”

The update came as Greggs reported like-for-like sales growth of 3% over the Christmas quarter as shoppers topped up on festive bakes and mince pies. Its shares rose by 2%, described by analysts as a solid performance.

After strong results in 2017, the retailer said it would step up expansion this year with plans to add 130 sites to its 1,850-store network. It is also looking to open drive-through shops around the country.

The weakness of sterling as well as spikes in the cost of key ingredients such as meat and butter, forced Greggs to raise the price of its sausage rolls by 5p to 90p in 2017. Whiteside said it expected cost pressures to continue, albeit at a lower level.

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