A company born on the harbourside in Mevagissey in Cornwall is powering its way out of the COVID pandemic, meeting constant challenges head-on with opportunities.  Led by founder Steve Grocutt, after a year like no other, sales at The Cornish Bakery are in impressive double-digit growth as the ‘independent chain’ prepares to take over £20 million through its tills in 48 UK-wide locations, and meet a target of ten new openings across the UK in 2021/22.

Originally a property developer, Steve Grocutt founded the company seizing a new-found opportunity to add a unique contemporary twist to the classic, and cult-loved, Cornish pasty.  Experimenting with previously unheard-of flavours in traditional pasty casings, demand soared and swift, but careful, expansion followed.   With a vital switch of focus from only pasties to a full bakery proposition, a multi-award-winning rebrand to The Cornish Bakery fuelled explosive potential across the product portfolio, with matching sales growth and significant returns.

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Cornish Bakery Chichester
Cornish Bakery Chichester

On an ongoing brand-building journey, Steve has nailed a way of creating an emotional connection with the ‘Cornwall state of mind’, whether people have ever been there or not. With close to 50 bakeries across the UK, The Cornish Bakery is now firmly one of the country’s leading independent, high-end bakeries.  The number one performer in all of its factory outlet locations, with soaring coffee sales across the country, all of its bakeries making and breaking already high targets every single week of 2021.

New bakeries have just opened in Chichester, Lymington and Dorchester and within the next six months, new Cornish Bakeries will appear on more smart high streets and harboursides – all prestigious locations that Steve has precision-targeted for the brand, with an objective of doubling the estate up to 100 branches within the next five years.

Throughout recent lockdowns, the Cornish Bakery pivoted, launching a mail order ‘pasties by post’ platform. Substantial investment in the product range as well as in the bakeries themselves has driven out a new interior design and refurbishment programme, with Steve enacting a significant fundraising exercise and securing substantial expansion for the future.

A property entrepreneur by profession, Steve is obsessive about ‘turning left when others turn right’ and over the last decade he watched the high street become more expensive and competitive. Whilst others failed on said high streets, Steve got in his car and drove around all of the country’s holiday hot spots, spotting ‘postcard’ locations where he knew The Cornish Bakery’s unique proposition would work – and work well.

However, having doubled the size of the companies within these idyllic locations, post pandemic, Steve is turning his gaze to ‘high streets’ – but only a specific kind of ‘high street.’ Often in traditional market towns and cathedral cities, recent openings are in Lymington, Chichester, Dorchester, with Bakewell, Rye and Plymouth Barbican to follow in the near future.  And all have a number of vital elements in common: historical locations, beautiful buildings, and a regular, year-round high-yield footfall, as well as a summer boost when the tourists come to town.

These locations will drive a new breed of ‘bakeries’ for Steve and his team, and they will also fuel a new experiential brand evolution, as well as interior styling and a more high-end menu of freshly cooked options, and stylish afternoon teas, elongating the experience for new, and younger, target customers.

Cornish Bakery Chichester

Steve reflects, “The pandemic may have caused us to take a temporary pause from the frontline business, however, it’s actually fuelled our hunger for determined growth of all the right kinds, in all the right ways.  Within our bakeries, sales are in significant growth, with like-for-like way up compared to 2019 and the summer of 2020.  Our enhanced menus are delivering extremely strong average transaction growth and we’re leading our industry with our commitment to low waste due to our innovation in our ‘recycled’ products. Our new mail order option also elongates the year and provides our holiday customers with a way to get their ‘Cornish Bakery’ hit at home whenever they want.”

Steve continues, “Bakery is most definitely the new coffee shop and our carefully crafted brand and interior design evolution will continue to inform and pioneer our high-end proposition as we get further into the 2020s.  The ever-discerning customer is continually looking for something more niche, that provides a unique emotional experience and sensory connection.  As Cornwall continues to go from strength-to-strength as the place to be, so do we.”

With substantial cash funds for future expansion and astute planning for the reinvestment funding, Cornwall is set to hit every spot-on stylish high street and holiday location in the coming years.

Grocutt concludes, “The future is bright.  The future is Cornish.”

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