​Greggs Overtakes Subway as the UK's Leading Fast Food Chain

​Greggs Overtakes Subway as the UK's Leading Fast Food Chain

Posted by Emily on 17th Oct 2023

The British bakery chain Greggs, established 84 years ago, now boasts a larger presence in the UK than the American submarine sandwich giant Subway.

Subway in Burwood Plaza TAC PlazaMaster, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As of this month, Greggs leads with 2,400 stores across the UK, a hundred more than Subway's 2,300. This growth is attributed to the Newcastle-based bakery's aggressive expansion, with 82 new shops already added to its network this year, and more on the horizon.

Specialising in a range of savoury favourites — including baked goods, sausage rolls, and sandwiches — and sweet treats like doughnuts, Greggs is on track for a significant milestone. According to its third-quarter earnings report released on 3rd October, the company is set to achieve a record number of new shop openings by year's end, with projections indicating a total of 135 to 145 new outlets. This expansion could solidify 2023 as a landmark year for Greggs in terms of growth.

Earlier in March, the bakery chain articulated a strategic vision to increase its footprint to over 3,000 stores, highlighting the scale of its ambition.

Modern Greggs The Bakery Unisouth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the competitive fast-food landscape, Subway and Greggs often go head-to-head, vying for prime locations adjacent to each other in petrol stations, supermarkets, and cinema complexes.

Here's a snapshot of Greggs' current standing:

  • 144: New shops opened as of early October
  • 62: Shops closed as of early October
  • 20.8%: Surge in total sales in the quarter ending 30th September, year-on-year
  • 1,928: Total company-operated Greggs outlets
  • 482: Franchise-operated Greggs shops
  • 500: Greggs outlets partnering with Uber Eats by October end, complementing its existing alliance with Just Eat, with plans for further expansion in 2024
  • 500: Number of Greggs shops keeping doors open until at least 8pm
  • 300: Shops where Greggs intends to extend trading hours until 9pm.

One notable endeavour involved a proposal for round-the-clock service at its flagship store in Leicester Square. However, the Westminster Council denied this, citing potential antisocial behaviour issues. Nonetheless, Greggs successfully appealed to permit the store to operate until midnight on certain days and 2am on others.

Article Image Source:Mtaylor848, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons