‘Bakery is the new coffee shop’: Fast-growing Cornish Bakery continues to ramp up UK footprint

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Cornish Bakery has set its sights on 100+ outlets across the UK. Pic: Cornish Bakery
Cornish Bakery has set its sights on 100+ outlets across the UK. Pic: Cornish Bakery

Related tags Cornish Bakery bakery chain Uk Cornwall

The independent UK bakery chain has opened a new bakery in Truro, with another five sites in development: in Canterbury, Salisbury, Harrogate, Norwich and Cheltenham.

Founded in 1994, Cornish Bakery currently has more than 50 locations across the UK, with an ambition to reach over 100 sites within five years. Company founder and owner Steve Grocutt also has an eye on doubling turnover by following the mantra ‘bakery is the new coffee shop’.

His approach to achieve optimum profit levels is to curate a collection of bakeries in beautiful buildings within historical market towns and cathedral cities that command year-round footfall, with a spike during the summer months.

Cornish Bakery reported a profit before tax of £3.1m in 2022, up from £1.5m in 2021, with ‘record’ sales from its cafés in tourist hotspots and a strong recovery from the high street.

During 2022, new bakeries were opened in Plymouth Barbican, Beverley, Stamford, Rye, Whitby and Caledonia Park, Scotland; the branch on Boscawen Street in Truro jumped into gear on 17 May; and the company is set to open five new branches in Bakewell, Canterbury, Cheltenham, Harrogate and Bury St Edmunds in the coming months.

Several bakeries - in Gunwharf Quays, Gloucester Quays, Bath, York, Newquay and Clark’s Village in Street - have been given an upgrade and re-opened under the company’s new branding, driven by the company’s change in direction to more mainstream high street locations.

Five star reviews

Steve Grocutt

According to Grocutt, even before it opened, the Truro outlet stirred up significant excitement among locals and has gone on to surpass all expectations in its first months of trading. The first Cornwall-based bakery to be opened in many years amassed an impressive net promoter score (NPS) of 71.1%.

NPS is a market research metric based on a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood of recommendation.

“We found the right location in Cornwall’s capital city, however, trading here has already far exceeded our wildest expectations. Alongside positive comments the bakery’s look and feel, we’re gaining glowing 5 star reviews,”​ said Grocutt.

The company tapped local artists and artisan creators to outfit the shop, including lights from Falmouth-based Tom Raffield, Perranarworthal’s Studio Haran and Lin Lovekin in West Cornwall; handmade tiles by Wadebridge’s Decorum Studio in Wadebridge; and artworks by Ella Carty (who has a studio at Cornwall’s largest creative hub Krowji in Redruth).

Many of these touches are now being incorporated into future locations.

Places and spaces all over the country

Cornish Bakery Counter Shot

“We’re now well into the process for our upcoming openings in some of UK’s most prominent market towns and cities, including Canterbury, Salisbury, Harrogate, Norwich and Cheltenham.”

Further new sites are currently going through legals.

Grocutt said his nugget of business advices would be to “turn left when everyone turns right. This manta has been at the core of our explosive growth.”

“Our vision is to redefine what a bakery does and can be. We see this as an open door to create a bakery that is different. We are not your local bakery to get your daily bread, in fact, we do not even sell bread. We simply want to nourish our customers with the freshest possible quality food washed down by the best imaginable coffee.

“Bakery is most definitely the new coffee shop, and we’re continuing to bring our unique experience - and our top-flight customer service - to places and spaces all over the country.”

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