Spanish-born global ‘artisan' bakery brand Granier has just opened its second London bakery and café, in south-east London's Woolwich Arsenal, as part of its wider UK growth aims. Expansion director David Parera talks to Hannah Thompson about plans for further sites and getting that just-baked flavour
You opened in Woolwich Arsenal in November 2015 last year. Why now, and why in Woolwich?
Our first store in north London [Wood Green] has been very successful, and now we want to expand the business in other districts. We were looking at different places to open, and this location came faster than the others. It is an ideal space, in a prime location. As the opening of Crossrail draws nearer, bringing journey times to the West End to just 19 minutes, Woolwich is becoming increasingly sought-after. It was the obvious choice for the start of our expansion following a strong response to our first store in north London.
We have a long-standing and successful history in Spain, which we hope to replicate in London. London is a very important city for us to invest in, as we are competitive and offer a new business model as a baking company. Our business is working very well globally.
Why do your bakeries offer coffee and hot drinks too?
This model has been successful for us from the start. Our friendly atmosphere appeals to many people - families, couples, students or stay-at-home parents, who have the option to enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch in comfortable surroundings.
What is different about Granier compared with other bakeries on the market?
Granier has over 270 bakeries in Spain, and it produces 64 different varieties of bread. As well as the brand's full range of breads and pastries, our bakeries and the new Woolwich Arsenal Estate bakery will include a 40-cover café. We stock frozen, natural, fermented bread dough, which supplies all the stores in Spain and abroad, including in London, Miami, Rome and Lisbon. The fermentation process means that all baking takes place on-site giving that just-baked taste, guaranteeing high-quality, 'artisan' bread.
How does Granier ensure its baking is good quality and consistent between sites?
In our factories in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) all teams follow the same process of making the bread dough. In-house bakers at franchise stores are trained in every type of bread we offer, and we regularly monitor our franchises to ensure quality.
What did you need to consider differently for the UK?
Each country has its differences and the customers are used to different formats. We recognise these details - from coffee cup size to presentation - and we are able to adapt to this. London has proved to be a great place to launch.
What do you look for in an ideal site?
We look for a space with a large display area in popular, busy locations. We also sell pastries and have coffee areas, plus there's a breakfast and tea zone. Our 1,280 sq ft bakery in Woolwich is ideal for our target clientele.
You are planning to expand throughout the UK. Are you looking at other sites?
The Woolwich bakery has marked the beginning of an expansion programme in London. We are in negotiations with some key locations and are looking at potentially Portobello, Queensway, Notting Hill and other parts of west London.
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