It’s been a long winter; sure, there have been mornings that weren’t as overcast, even a couple of concurrent days with no rain but on the whole, I think we can all agree the winter of 2021 has been a doozy. That said, there are shafts of light starting to penetrate the clouds, hints of spring and signs of better things to come.Advertisement
One such sign was waking up to this message from the Blog Preston editor: “Perhaps you’d like to go to the new Greggs Outlet.”
“Sure thing, chief.”
“Might be good material for an article.”
“Oh, you wanted me to write about it?”
Whatever, I’ve had worse assignments.
Honestly, the last time I’d seen anything about Greggs, it was a recent TikTok video by a plucky estate agent suggesting young people should stop eating there to help save for a house deposit. In fairness, she wasn’t wrong. A friend of mine made the switch from Greggs to the Pound Bakery last year and now she owns a super-yacht.
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However, what about those of us who want to get on the property ladder but also can’t face a perishing hangover without Greggs? Is there a savoury third way? Well yes there is… Let me tell you about the Greggs Outlet that just opened on London Road.
First, what is a Greggs Outlet? Upon closer inspection of the store it’s an unassuming building, the usual blue and yellow Greggs logo is dwarfed by a red sign the starkly reads ‘OUTLET’ and it’s free of the pervasive savoury aroma liberally piped out from your average Greggs branch.
The reason for this is that no goods are baked on site; the stock is made up entirely of surplus and stock from other branches that didn’t sell. As a result, they’re able to sell these products at a significant discount (with the £3 change I had in my pocket I managed to walk out with around 2,500 calories of food) – but how do they taste? Well, frankly, they taste like Greggs but with a very slight ‘vintage’ to them.
Look, I’m not here to review the food, I assume we all know what Greggs tastes like; it’s made to spec and cooked to spec to allow a uniform taste across its 2,000+ UK branches. We’re really here to talk about the business model, which boils down to ‘You can have more of something cheaper and it’s marginally less good’. Works for me. The only caveat is that they can’t heat the food on site which, however again, this works for me as every heated item I’ve had from Greggs felt like someone applied a blowlamp to my epiglottis.
While I don’t think they had the full Greggs menu on offer, there was still a reasonable choice and I settled on a four pack of vegan sausage rolls for £1.50, plus a pack of doughnuts for £1.40. Although the sausage rolls appeared completely intact, some of the doughnuts appeared to have lost their immaculate decorative icing sheen somewhat, as the image demonstrates. Though it should also be mentioned that’s because I’m a hack sensationalist who purposely bought the most bashed doughnuts on the shelf for the purposes of this photo.
Interestingly, there didn’t seem to be much of a reduction on soft drinks but in fairness – and I’m happy to be corrected by chemical engineers about this – the idea that Coke will ever go bad is ludicrous and in a few billion years when the sun spits its last rays, the only thing left of human civilisation will be cockroaches nestling in two litre Diet Coke multipacks.
After a brief chat with the store assistant he confirmed the shop had only been open for a couple of weeks but was slowly starting to pick up, which was good as I was the only customer during the entire time I spent browsing in the shop (and I was there for an uncomfortably long time). This is in stark contrast to the crowded and fast-paced queuing experience of your typical Greggs.
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Apparently the existence of these Outlets isn’t highly publicised by Greggs corporate offices, something which is borne out by the fact that Google Maps still has this branch listed as permanently closed. This being the case, I consider it a public service to write about cut-price savouries on their behalf, both for those looking to buy their first home and for those ecologically conscious types aiming to reduce food waste.
As I left, I spotted a stern warning sitting atop the entrance: ‘Food must be consumed on day of purchase’ – wholly redundant as I don’t think anyone goes to Greggs to get a snack to eat 14 hours later. However, not one to shy from a challenge, I will be placing one sausage role in storage for consumption at around 1.20am after a lonely night on the gin and will report back my findings. (Update: It was fine, slightly dry, but fine… although that might just be the gin talking.)
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