Journalists across the Trinity Mirror regional press network were apparently encouraged to write stories asking whether a drive-thru Greggs would be coming to their areas.
One well-placed source contacted Press Gazette to say that journalists at their title were “appalled and angry” to be publishing a story which they saw as little more than “clickbait”.
The source said that there was a “three-line whip” to write a localised version of the story across various Trinity Mirror titles. However, another source denied this and said this was not the way the company operates.
The Manchester Evening News covered the news that the drive-thru bakery was opening on its patch with the following headline: “The first AND ONLY drive-thru Greggs is in Greater Manchester and it’s open now.”
Despite the fact that only one drive-thru bakery was currently on the cards, this didn’t stop various other Trinity Mirror newspapapers across England writing various localised versions asking whether the new catering phenomenon would come to their patch.
The Leicester Mercury story was headlined: “A Greggs drive-thru has opened in Manchester – so we asked whether one is coming to Leicester.”
The answer, further down the piece was: “When we heard the news that Manchester were getting their very own drive-thru, we wanted to know if we were getting one in Leicester – soon. so we got in touch with Gregg’s to find out – but it’s not good news.
“Greggs got back in touch to say there are no further Drive Thru shops planned to open in the immediate future.”
At the Liverpool Echo the story was headlined: “Is Liverpool getting a Greggs drive-thru?”
The answer, further down was: “But unfortunately for all our Scouse Greggs fans, there are no current plans to open a drive thru in Liverpool.”
The Grimsby Telegraph headline said: “Drive-thru Greggs may find its way to Grimsby as new concept is trialled for nationwide rollout.”
However further down it said: “The concept is being tried out at Irlam Gateway Service Station, in Salford, before a potential nationwide roll-out, though bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”
Lincolnshire Live said in its headline: “Could drive-thru Greggs be coming to Lincoln? Bakery’s new concept set for nationwide roll-out”
However further down it said: “The concept is being tried out in Manchester before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”
The Bristol Post asked in its heading: “Is Bristol getting a Greggs drive-thru?”
To which the answer was: “Although the company hasn’t said yet whether it plans to open a drive-thru branch in Bristol, its chief executive Roger Whiteside said it wanted the chain to have drive-thru shops in all sorts of convenient locations – so we wouldn’t rule out one appearing here just yet.”
Somerset Live asked: “Will Somerset get a Greggs drive-thru if the first one is a hit?”
The answer, again further down, was: “The concept, follows the launch of Greggs delivery service in Manchester, is being tried out here before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”
A spokesperson for Trinity Mirror said: “Many of our newsrooms produce upwards of 100 stories a day – it’s very easy to pick one or two which don’t meet personal preferences.
“Our titles aim to be a part of people’s everyday lives, and we are proud of the wide range of articles we produce every day and the fact we put reader views at the heart of our work online.”
He said: “We shouldn’t be ashamed of being popular, we shouldn’t be ashamed of experimenting. We shouldn’t be ashamed of learning from every piece of content – and we certainly shouldn’t be ashamed of being able to write stories which people want to read, regardless of whether it’s an in-depth investigation or a fun conversation about whether a popular sausage roll shop is moving into drive-thrus near you. Which, for now, it appears they probably aren’t … as we now know.”