Greggs set to launch drive-thru service in the UK

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Following a successful pilot, Greggs has confirmed that it will be opening more drive-thrus across the UK.

The company, which now has 1,806 shops, opened its first drive-thru last month at a service station in Salford, in a bid to experiment with the food-to-go format, to rival the likes of Costa Coffee who already provide a successful drive-thru service.

Following the successful pilot, Chief Executive Roger Whiteside has said that there is evidently a demand for more shops to adhere to the on-demand concept that’s revolutionising the industry.

He said: “We opened our first ‘Drive-Thru’ shop at Irlam, Greater Manchester, in June and have been encouraged by its popularity, indicating a demand for further drive-thru locations.

“We are very excited by it – it’s got off to a flying start. It’s been interesting and exciting to see how well customers have taken to it.

“Customers are very taken by the idea of not having to leave their cars. We wondered if they would be welcoming to do this, and it’s been very positive – I don’t understand why we haven’t done this years ago.

“We are actively looking for more sites but we will be competing against others looking for more sites. It’s something that’s become more and more prevalent – you’ve even got coffee shops now involved in drive-thrus.

“The main factor in how customers decide where to shop is convenience, and this is the most convenient – they don’t even have to leave their cars. And they are getting just the same as they would in the store – breakfasts, coffees and so on – so it seems to be the most natural thing to do.

“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.

“The peak times are as you would imagine, at morning rush hour and evening rush hour, and they trade longer, until 9pm.

“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.”

The company’s aim to keep up with its customers' growing demands has resulted in shops being reformatted in order to allow for more space, which has seen kiosks, forecourt shops and larger shops with comfortable cafe seating set the precedent.

Notably, Greggs is still piloting its business-to-business delivery service, Greggs Delivered, across London, Newcastle and Manchester, but plans for home delivery for general customers are yet to get underway. Whiteside has told of his surprise at the demand for home delivery, conceding that he didn’t expect there to be a demand.

This development comes as the firm unveiled total sales for the 26 weeks to July 1 of £453m, an increase of 7.3% from the same period last year, with like-for-like sales in company-managed shops up by 3.4%.