- Pret a Manger will offer customers up to five barista drinks a day through its new subscription service which costs £20 ($26.60) a month.
- Coffee sales have risen at a faster rate than food sales for the UK coffee and sandwich chain since its stores reopened in May.
- You won’t be able to order for your friends – customers have to wait 30 minutes between each drink ordered using the service.
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UK sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger is debuting a new subscription service to try to shore up its business that has been all but deserted for months after the Covid-19 pandemic kept millions of office workers, commuters and other customers at home.
For £20 ($26.60) a month, customers can get up to five drinks a day from Pret’s YourPret Barista service that launches next Tuesday.
This will be the first such drink subscription model on UK high streets, according to the company, and marks an important step in Pret’s digital transformation as it adapts to a changing customer landscape.
Pret, whose dark-red fronted stores are ubiquitous in financial districts, town and city centers, as well as around train and subway stations, is introducing the service to drive demand after sales collapsed during the pandemic.
The subscription service marks a shift in focus for Pret, which is owned by German conglomerate JAB Holdings, whose brands include Krispi Kreme doughnuts, soft-drink labels Dr Pepper and Schweppes and Kenco coffee.
The outlet is a lunchtime favorite among office workers, but CEO Pano Christou said that coffee sales have risen more quickly than food sales since stores reopened in May.
The service will operate via either Apple or Google digital wallets or QR codes, which are emailed to subscribers, and will be free in its first month.
The subscription will include all barista-made coffees, teas, hot chocolates, smoothies, and frappe drinks. Customers have to wait 30 minutes between each order using the service to prevent people buying drinks wastefully or for friends without subscriptions.
Pret described the service as a “flagship offering” in the company’s plan to turn around its finances that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The chain said last week it will cut around 2,800 jobs in its UK stores, after weekly sales dropped to 2010 levels – when the chain had half as many branches.
Pret had previously announced that 30 of its 440 UK stores would close by 2021, after sales fell by 74% in the period from March to late June this year, compared to 2019.
However, sales have grown by an average of 7% each week since July, helped by the UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme which offered diners half-price meals in August.