Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Credit crunch

AS the recession continues to bite, fans of bargain bakers Greggs are going dough-nuts for the High Street chain.
The credit crunch-busting business aims to open 600 more shops in the coming years after selling a staggering 130MILLION sausage rolls last year.
Rising to the top ... Greggs favourites. While other High Street firms have suffered, the Geordie-based bakers have recorded a 3.8 per cent rise in sales over 12 months. Greggs' Meal Deals - any bloomer sandwich, a cookie or doughnut and a drink for £2.99 - have undoubtedly helped in these tough times. But it is their "iconic" 57p sausage roll which has led the way. There is now even a Greggs Sausage Roll Appreciation Society on social networking site Facebook. It is, according to its founders: "A group for all those people who find it difficult to walk past a Greggs without nipping in for a sausage roll when you can smell the aroma of the freshly baked sausage meat in pastry". One member, Travis Grant, boasted: "4-a-day. Love it!" And David Bradford rated them: "Best edible item in the world!" Greggs dates back to the late 1930s, when John Gregg started a business delivering yeast and eggs in the north east of England. He was called up to the Army with the outbreak of war in 1939, but his wife Elsie kept the business going. In 1951 they opened their first shop on Gosforth High Street - and it is still there today. Over the next 30 years the firm grew steadily, numbering 261 shops by 1984. Now their "Ready when you are" slogan and reasonably priced butties and pies have proved a winner in troubled economic times. Not everyone is happy with them, however. David Barling, senior lecturer in food policy at London's City University, is one food expert who has criticised their products. He said: "Sausage rolls wouldn't be ideal in any nutritional diet. "In the case of industrially produced bread, a lot of the nutrients are removed from the grain and then reinserted later as added-value extras. It is less healthy for us." Others have hit out at the levels of saturated fats, salt and sugar in Greggs' products. But the firm's marketing director, Scott Jefferson, has hit back. He said last night: "We sell 2.5million sausage rolls a week - at 57p they're one of life's pleasures. "As with all the food we make, our sausage rolls are free from hydrogenated fat, added trans fats and artificial colours. "We will be providing nutritional information for all our nationally available savouries and sandwiches in January so customers can make an informed choice." Clearly Mr Jefferson has plenty of satisfied customers in his corner to help him win his bun-fight with the nutritionists. One fan, builder Ryan Payne, 21, from Bampton, Devon, said last night: "Greggs is comfort food. When you've been out working hard on site all morning in the cold it's just the job. And it's cheap." Here are a few food facts about just how many Greggs goodies we munch through in a year:
Enough steak bakes to place 329 on every seat at Wembley Stadium.
Enough sausage rolls laid end to end to reach from Newcastle upon Tyne to Sydney, Australia.
Enough jam doughnuts to give seven to every person who went on the London Eye in 2008.

I don't know what you think but, although Greggs is not part of a staple diet of mine, this is very impressive.
Have you ever worked out figures like this for your business? Have you worked out a metaphor for your company? Greggs could say that they sold a shedload of food and made a lot of profit but by using the metaphoe of Wembley Stadium, Newcastle to Sydney and the London Eye you really appreciate the size of the turnover rather than just facts and figures. Can you do the same with your company and make the point of how successful you are really hit home to your customers? Think about it!
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