Doughnuts, social media and Middle East expansion

Bread Ahead’s founder Matthew Jones tells Campaign Middle East about his plans to open 35 sites across the region

“I think the proof is in the pudding,” jokes Matthew Jones, the founder of bakery chain Bread Ahead, talking about how his creations exploded on social media.

The popular London bakery has ambitious plans to expand across the Middle East.

Bread Ahead already has a presence in the Middle East, with flagship stores in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

It is set to open 35 sites in seven countries in this region over the next 3 years, including Morocco, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Qatar.

“This is just the first step of a much wider expansion plan. Next we plan to take on the whole of the US, Asia and beyond. Watch this space, in the next ten years Bread Ahead plans to be worldwide,” Jones told Campaign Middle East.

The brand exploded when Jones launched a new range of doughnuts. Social media also played its part in catapulting the brand onto the global stage.

“Social media is essential and important to every brand these days. Our approach to social media has always been very ‘free-style’ and we plan to keep our style very natural moving forward.”

Bread Ahead runs its own social accounts internally and has an in-house team who know what its community and followers like, keep content very natural and let the products speak for themselves.

“We stick to using our own style and speak on our socials, a very visual, unbranded, organic and spontaneous approach that resonates with our brand fans.”

Constantly trying and testing new flavours also keeps momentum up and consumers always wanting to try more.

“I love nothing more than talking to people and engaging with new local audiences to spread the Bread Ahead message.”

Bread Ahead’s bakery school and and learning element has been an essential part of its growth, originally born during Covid-19 lockdowns.

“We like to think we have given our gift of baking to the world, through our baking schools and online workshops we have made baking accessible to the masses, our consumers can learn from our professionals and repeat what they do at home.”

But the pivotal moment arrived with the introduction of its iconic doughnuts. The team put a little tray outside its London outlet of about 20 and they sold out in 4 minutes.

From three core flavours (vanilla, chocolate, and jam), Bread Ahead has since expanded its range with a variety of different fillings available: Eton mess, pistachio, sea salt caramel, praline and blackcurrant mascarpone.