In Brief

Rolling in it: Greggs giving £7m in bonuses following vegan sausage success

Bakery chain staff rewarded as meat-free pastry sales pad out profits

Greggs employees are getting £300 bonuses in their pay packets this month as the bakery chain celebrates an “exceptional” year boosted by the success of its growing vegan range.

The payouts, totalling £7m, were announced as “the company’s latest trading update saw it upgrade full-year profit expectations”, Sky News reports.

The windfall comes after shareholders received a £35m special dividend payment in October. And the company already shares 10% of profits with employees as part of its benefits scheme, reports the BBC.

Greggs says profits have received a big boost thanks to its “now iconic” vegan sausage rolls, along with continuing demand for more traditional offerings. 

The company launched the meat-free pastry, which has a Quorn filling, in January last year, and has since introduced a vegan steak bake and a vegan doughnut.

As customers tuck in, like-for-like sales grew by 8.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, in what chief executive Roger Whiteside described as a “strong finish to what has been an exceptional year”.

A total of 19,000 staff who joined the company before 31 March 2019 will each receive the £300 bonus, while a further 6,000 employees who joined after this date will get £75 for each quarter-year that they have worked for the chain.

However, Greggs has sounded a cautionary note about the year ahead. The company does not expect the same level of growth during 2020, owing to higher costs from “a boost to the National Living Wage and higher pork prices”, a spokesperson said. 

But Greggs will “continue to evolve our range to suit a broad variety of dietary choices”, the spokesperson added.

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