Its strong neighbourhood presence and ability to shift its focus to new markets has seen Gail’s make the most of the opportunities that have come about from the pandemic, according to managing director Marta Pogroszewska.

Speaking at the Lunch! show last week, Pogroszewska said the business – whose parent company Bread Holdings was acquired by Bain Capital earlier this month in a £200m deal – had had “a very successful 18 months” for a number of reasons.

“We are stronger than we have ever been as a team. And we have become much clearer in what our purposes are and what we want to achieve,” she said.

Gail’s retained its growth mindset so despite simplifying “a lot of what we do”, it has opened 13 new sites over the course of the pandemic and “we plan to open even more in the coming months”.

It also shifted its online business from catering – which it was predominately focused on pre-Covid – to the at-home market. “We changed our thinking from platter to hampers and bundles – and we have had great success,” she explained. In addition, Gail’s launched a product range on Deliveroo, which she said had been “ground-breaking” and one of the best things it has even done.

In order to growth the online side of the business, Gail’s recently appointed a head of e-commerce, who joined the business last week.

In terms of its expansion plans, Pogroszewska said the bakery chain’s geographical focus had not changed, and that it was very much a southern brand “and that’s the aim for now”. But she does believe the business has a nationwide proposition and could expand further in the future.

“I think there is definitely space, desire and a need for Gail’s up north but there are still so many opportunities in the south that’s what we are focusing on for now,” she added.

Upcoming openings include bakeries in Greenwich, Cobham and Finsbury Park Station, with each one a little different in terms of its demographic, she said.

While trade in its suburban sites was much stronger Monday to Friday, during the pandemic, its bakeries in central London are still recovering. “When it comes to the longer term strategy I think the whole world will be coming back to normality so we will carry on with what we set out to do, looking for the best neighbourhoods in London and outside London,” added Pogroszewska.