Greggs bakery chain prevails in row over late-night trading at Leicester Square

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 16th May 2023) London, Uk – –

A battle between the right to sell potato wedges and sausage rolls into the early hours versus police warnings about a wave of crime and disorder has been won by Greggs.

The bakery chain has prevailed in the row about late-night trading at its Leicester Square outlet in London, reaching agreement with Westminster city council that will allow it to sell hot food until 2am.

Greggs said it had cancelled a planned appeal hearing set for Tuesday after cutting a deal which will enable it to trade until 2am, although falling short of its hopes of 24-hour trading.


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Greggs will need permission from Westminster Council to trade through the night.
24-hour sausage rolls: will they lead to a wave of crime and disorder?
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The company was last summer refused a licence to open its store in Leicester Square between 11pm and 5am amid claims it could become a “hotspot for late-night disturbances and antisocial behaviour”.

The row was set to be reheated in a three-day appeal hearing at Westminster magistrates court from Tuesday 16 May – but that hearing has been cancelled.

Roisin Currie, the chief executive of Greggs, said the hearing had been cancelled as after discussions with Westminster it had “reached a good solution for both parties”. She said Greggs would not trade 24 hours a day but would be able to open “over the midnight cusp”.

Greggs does not need a licence to sell its trademark sausage rolls and other bakes as they are made elsewhere and not kept hot in store.

However, it needs special permission from the local authority to sell hot food and drink including bacon baps, sausage breakfast rolls and potato wedges, as well as tea and coffee, between 11pm and 5am.

Greggs said it chose not to open after 11pm until reaching the new agreement as customers could be confused if its full menu was not available to them all evening and this would be more likely to cause trouble.

Nearby competitors including McDonald’s are able to sell hot food into the early hours.

Greggs’s application for late-night trading was blocked by Westminster council after the Metropolitan police said fast-food premises operating after 11pm attracted those who had been drinking in pubs and bars nearby, with “the likely effect of an increase in crime and disorder in the area and an increased demand on police resources which are already stretched”.


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Police said the fact that the outlet did not have seating would add to problems with dispersing crowds from around Leicester Square’s gardens.

News of the appeal came as Greggs revealed a 17% rise in underlying sales in the 19 weeks to 13 May. The company said sales of hot food including chicken goujons and potato wedges were showing particularly strong growth with evening the fastest-growing sales period.

Currie said Greggs was working hard to keep a lid on price rises as it had fixed the cost of energy and packaging for several months. She added that inflation continued to have an impact, with labour and commodity prices rising, and she expected costs to rise by up to 10% in the year ahead.

By Sarah Butler

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