bakery, convenience food, food-on-the-go, takeawayStarbucks provides a cheap place to meet or an expensive place to buy coffee, depending on the shopper’s outlook. Aggressively expanding bakers chain Greggs says it plans to increase the number of its outlets selling lattes and cappucinos.

While the media says this is a threat to Starbucks, Greggs appears to be operating in the part of the market where McDonald’s is operating and that is its natural competition. What is clear about its strategy is that it is tapping into the same “on the go” food and beverage opportunity that is available to local shops. Greggs says it sold 10 million breakfast rolls last year and 300,000 pots of porridge.

“Convenience is getting more crowded and everyone is our competitor,” chief executive Ken McMeikan told independent retailers at an ACS summit earlier this month. Sandwiches and drinks are now 50 per cent of his sales and coffee is the biggest growth opportunity.

His focus is on delivering outstanding service, value for money and to follow the customer (what the shopper wants the shopper gets). It sounds like a strategy most local shops would say they believe in. With plans for 1,480 stores by the year end it should not take you too long to find a nearby Greggs. If you think you can beat it on execution, then give it a go. Don’t stand still.