Greggs Plc — Where is the value baked in?

Alexander Weekes
6 min readMay 30, 2024


Greggs is a British bakery chain, primarily known for its pastries, sandwiches, and other baked goods. Founded in 1939 by John Gregg as a small bakery in Newcastle upon Tyne, the company has since grown exponentially and has established a substantial presence in the UK high street with thousands of stores and recognised as a household name. As far as British high street culture, Greggs is a core staple. The company has successfully navigated the challenges of the retail food sector by constantly innovating, adapting to consumer needs, and maintaining a strong brand identity.

Greggs objective: Number 1 bakery based retailer in Europe

Financial growth: 21.5% up in sales, 14.2% increase in pre-tax profit

Strategic growth drivers: delivery remains a significant proportion of sales although not growing as quickly as the proportion of evening sales, showing that extended opening hours in existing stores has a positive impact.


1. Advanced Analytics for Supply Chain Optimisation:

- Predictive Analysis: Use machine learning models to predict demand based on historical sales, seasonality, promotions, and other factors. This can help ensure that fresh goods are delivered to the stores in the right quantities, reducing waste and optimising the supply chain.
— Supplier Management: Implement a Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) system to ensure timely delivery, quality, and price negotiations.

2. Extended Hours Operation Optimisation:

- Energy Management Systems: With extended hours, Greggs can implement smart energy management systems in stores to reduce energy consumption during off-peak hours.
— Dynamic Pricing: Using real-time demand and supply data, implement dynamic pricing during extended hours to maximise profits.

3. Enhance Digital Channels:

- Augmented Reality (AR) Previews: Offer AR previews on the app where customers can virtually see the products before placing an order.
— Loyalty Programs: Offer personalised deals and rewards based on customer buying patterns to increase retention.
— Integrated Chatbots: For quick queries and efficient customer support.

4. Delivery and Outbound Logistics:

- Route Optimisation: Use advanced algorithms to optimise delivery routes, reducing delivery times and costs.
— Smart Inventory Management: Using IoT, ensure stores are well-stocked based on the demand forecast, ensuring the “grab and go” experience is always maintained.

5. Enhanced CRM System:

- Customer Segmentation: Use advanced analytics to segment customers based on behaviour, preferences, and purchase history. This will help tailor marketing campaigns more effectively.
— Feedback Collection: Use machine learning to analyse customer feedback from various channels (reviews, surveys, social media) to continuously improve the offerings and service.

6. HR and Employee Management:

- Digital Training Platforms: Use e-learning platforms to train employees about new products, promotions, and customer service practices.
— Employee Feedback Systems: Implement a system where employees can give feedback about store operations, customer preferences, and any challenges they face, ensuring their voices are heard and contributing to business insights.

7. Eco-friendly and Sustainable Practices:

- Sustainable Packaging: As Greggs controls its procurement tightly, it can move towards more sustainable, biodegradable packaging solutions.
— Waste Reduction: Introduce smart waste management systems, especially considering the freshness factor of their products.

8. Franchise Management Platform:

- Integrated Platform: For monitoring franchise performance, ensuring they adhere to brand guidelines, and providing support in terms of marketing, promotions, and logistics.

What the future COULD look like for Greggs

The ‘Post-Job’ Era of Innovation at Greggs

In the year 2035, the traditional 9-to-5 framework had become largely antiquated. Across industries, the rise of the ‘Post-Job’ era was in full swing. It was a world where Greggs, the European bakery giant, wasn’t just offering pastries but was baking the future of employment.

With the automation of mundane tasks, Greggs had embraced a new business model. No longer were their employees tied to fixed roles, and no longer did they operate within the confined spaces of physical shops alone. Greggs’ WorkPods had become a hallmark of the innovative work culture around Europe. These hubs were dotted across major cities and were designed to bring together thinkers, bakers, designers, and technologists on dynamic project-based tasks.

At the heart of this shift was Greggs’ state-of-the-art digital platform, “Greggs Innovate.” It was a space where any employee, irrespective of their primary skill set, could pitch ideas, collaborate on projects, or even take on new roles for short durations. With advanced analytics and predictive algorithms integrated, the platform would match employees to projects based on their skills, interests, and previous contributions. An artisan baker from London might find herself working with a delivery-tech innovator from Paris to reimagine the bakery delivery process.

Their flagship project, “Bake Tomorrow,” was a testament to the power of this new framework. It began as an idea pitched by a Greggs store manager from Liverpool who imagined integrating augmented reality (AR) into the baking process, allowing customers to customise cakes and pastries in real-time. Collaborating with AR developers, marketing professionals, and supply chain experts from across Europe, the project went from concept to a continent-wide launch in just six months.

However, Greggs didn’t stop at just restructuring internal roles. Tapping into the larger shift in global employment, they launched “BakeFreelance”. This online platform allowed freelance bakers, food technologists, and even logistical experts to collaborate on short-term projects with Greggs. Talents could hail from Berlin, Barcelona, or Bucharest, crafting unique pastries, perfecting new recipes, or refining delivery routes. It was the gig economy, but freshly baked!

Moreover, as the importance of traditional education waned, Greggs became a hub of learning. “Greggs Academy” offered a plethora of courses — from pastry design to supply chain analytics — allowing employees and freelancers to constantly upskill and adapt to the ever-evolving landscape.

In this ‘Post-Job’ era, Greggs was no longer just a bakery. It had metamorphosed into a thriving ecosystem of innovation. The secret ingredient was not just the flour or the yeast but the free spirit of continuous reinvention.

And as people across Europe bit into their morning croissants or evening pies, they weren’t just tasting baked goods; they were savouring the flavour of a revolutionary work culture that Greggs had kneaded to perfection.



Alexander Weekes

Digital Strategy consultant and lecturer helping senior project executives build systems & processes to remove the stress from delivering innovative projects.