FT - Ilyas Munshi - commercial director EG Group

EG Group has unveiled plans to roll out its Leon and Cooplands brands to its UK forecourts and accelerate openings of partner brands such as Starbucks and KFC.

The plans are part of a growth strategy that it says will create 22,700 UK jobs and more than 32,000 jobs globally over a five-year period, driven by investment in its foodservice business.

The group said it has a new growth strategy for its Scarborough-based bakery chain, Cooplands, with plans to open 30 outlets a year through to the end of 2026, including cafés inside new to industry (NTI) sites and convenience stores on EG forecourt sites.

The group also intends to roll out at least 50 Leon restaurants a year through to the end of 2026, primarily in the UK, alongside 10 further openings in the Netherlands, ahead of a wider European expansion.

It also plans to create a large number of new jobs by accelerating openings for its existing third-party brand partners, notably Starbucks and KFC, including drive-thrus on the group’s UK forecourts and on Asda carparks ‒ with these foodservice outlets operated by EG and its colleagues.

The group plans to add about 22,700 UK jobs between January 2022 and December 2026, including new roles, both highly skilled and entry level, at its head office in Blackburn, where it currently employs about 900.

Approximately 9,700 new jobs will also come from organic growth in EG’s nine additional markets: Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia and the US over the same five-year period.

To supplement the growth strategy, EG will increase the pay its workers receive and this month it raised the average hourly pay to £10.05 for those aged 18 and above. This follows two previous pay rises to more than 10,000 UK colleagues in 2021, in recognition of the cost-of-living pressures they currently face. EG also recently augmented its benefits package for colleagues .

There are also about 200 apprentices are currently working across the group, with that number expected to increase to 500 over the next three years, and the first cohort of 33 apprenticed in September 2021.

Mohsin Issa CBE and Zuber Issa CBE, co-founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, said: “As EG continues to go from strength to strength, we will be creating a large number of new jobs over the coming years, particularly in our successful foodservice business ‒ which remains a significant growth opportunity globally. We are proud to be a business founded in Britain that invests in job creation worldwide, while focusing heavily on the training and development of colleagues.

“EG has a strong track record of providing colleagues with long-term opportunities to progress their career at all levels ‒ and we are passionate about continuing this.”