Former Greggs Employee Shares What It Was Really Like To Work At The Bakery Chain

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If there’s one true fact we can all agree on, it’s that Greggs is one of the most beloved bakeries in the country.

With their sausage rolls, baked steak, vegan options, and a host of other delicacies, it’s hard not to see why we have such a soft spot for them in our hearts.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work at Greggs while ordering your bacon roll in the morning or a sausage roll for lunch, then you’ve come to the right place.

A former Greggs employee, Christian Brayford, who is now a reporter for Grimsby Live, has shared his inside secrets about what working conditions were really like.

From endless supplies of your favorite orders to late-night shifts, it turns out working there wasn’t that easy.

The reporter shares his insider tips from his time working for the bakery chain during the pandemic in 2020, and while he still enjoys the food, the experience left a lot to be desired.

Christian explained: “At the time, I was a shift leader, so I was in charge of cash handling, staff management, complaint handling, stock ordering and end-of-day banking.

“The work schedule could be extremely demanding. You had to be there at 4am on some shifts and usually didn’t leave until after 6pm or later.

From long working hours to rude customers, the experience left a lot to be desired.
From long working hours to rude customers, the experience left a lot to be desired.

“And when you got to work, it was absolutely freezing. It was probably colder outside the store than it was inside, no exaggeration.

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“She was also not allowed to wear a sweater – she was provided with a Greggs hat, a Greggs t-shirt, a kitchen apron and a hairnet (all staff, regardless of their hair length, had to wear one). “.

He went on to explain that staff would have to spend the beginning of their shifts packing deliveries, which could sometimes be sent out twice a day.

“Our store used to have a delivery around 2am or 3am in the morning.

“This was when you would get a delivery of all your sweet treats like triple chocolate donuts, jelly heart cookies, Belgian scones and so much more,” she explained.

An interesting piece of information that may not have crossed customers’ minds is how much work it takes to make the sandwiches, as Christian said it wasn’t as simple as we might think.

Tons of food left over for employees to take home
Tons of food left over for employees to take home

It turns out that Greggs employees have to follow a “specific guideline, or cooking matrix, that must be followed in incredible detail when making a sandwich” from how much sauce and vegetables to how much protein to put in and whether” passed by the slightest margin, you’d have to make the sandwich again.”

It makes you think twice about the effort put into making your baguette.

It also turns out, based on the experience of former employees, Greggs’ staff is not immune to customer complaints that tend to come with the retail industry’s turf.

Speaking of her experience, she said, “I have a lot of sympathy and understanding for all the customer service workers who go through similar things, but in different situations and environments, on a daily basis.”

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“I certainly made it harder to get motivated to get up in the morning.”

Rude customers aside, he went on to say that there were generally nice customers who came by most days that he could “chat” with.

While the hard work of making sandwiches and rude customers may have been a downside to his experience, Christian said the end of the day was usually a “nightmare.”

Despite practicing regular hygiene throughout the day, they typically spent an hour to bank the day, make sure all food past its expiration date had been thrown out, and clean the entire store.

“I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I certainly felt it after a demoralizing change from dealing with complaints, rudeness and a huge demand for baked cheese,” he said of the experience.

The former employee also says that despite the number of customers who visit regularly, there is “literally a ton” of food wasted at the end of each day.

Was the experience really worth it?
Was the experience really worth it?

And this is where it gets good for the employees, well it was certainly a positive for Christian as it meant they could take bags of food home at the end of each shift.

Christian said: “It was literally a ton of pure sausage rolls, baguettes and sweets. But it was great deciding what food you wanted to take home. Sometimes I would walk out of the building with maybe four or five bags of food.”

“It was great to see my family’s faces when I brought them something.”

With grueling work shifts, rude customers, harsh working conditions, and a pandemic to top it off, Christian decided to end his time with Greggs.

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He said: “Even when the first lockdown was imposed, I felt like a walking zombie.

“The long hours were particularly tiring. Sometimes I would work five days at 14-hour shifts a day, which can be demanding. The pay hovered very close to the national minimum wage of around £8.40 at the time.

“So you can’t really whine and sulk because it was a job. The free food at the end of the day was amazing, even if it took a toll on my waistline.”

“But what really pushed me over the edge was the rudeness of the customers and I still see the same kind of rudeness today but in a different store.

“People can be so thoughtless and insensitive as to how their actions can be devastating or affect another person – the abuse was unwarranted and unnecessary.

“But the saying goes that if there’s no reason to complain, someone else will find a reason to complain.

“I loved the food, but I don’t think the experience of working at a Greggs was as good as it sounds.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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