Pret a Manger will offer a new coffee subscription service where customers can buy up to five coffees a day for £20 per month. The new scheme aims to tempt back customers as the chain struggles to regain sales in its core city centre locations, which are still relatively deserted as many office workers continue to work from home.
New digital strategy
Pret will launch its YourPret Barista monthly subscription service next week as part of a new digital strategy. Through a combination of great value and ease of use, the scheme aims to make Pret the default choice for coffee, as services like Netflix have done with other subscription services.
The new digital platform will also pave the way for Pret to offer other services to build loyalty and engage customers.
Pret chief executive Pano Christou said: “As people across the UK begin to get back to the things they’ve missed, our new subscription service is perfect for customers who have been craving one of our barista-prepared drinks. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or tea devotee, we hope this new service helps you start your day strong. This is just the first step in our plan to bring Pret to more people. We now have the building blocks to establish Pret as a multichannel, digitally led business, and YourPret Barista is the first big launch we’re able to deliver through our new technology platform. Since reopening back in May, our coffee sales have been rising faster than food – evidence that coffee has become an integral part of both our customers’ everyday routines and the Pret experience.”
Pret had been trialling new digital initiatives last year but now engaging more closely with customers has increased in priority as the company seeks to adapt quickly to new customer behaviours. Read more about Pret’s digital trial store here.
Pret is owned by JAB Holdings who also own US sandwich chain Panera Bread. Panera introduced a coffee subscription service earlier this year and its digital loyalty scheme is highly developed, as is its in-store kiosk ordering system - all initiatives which we could see Pret learning from in the coming months.
How the new service works
Once subscribed, customers can order any hot or cold "barista prepared" drink via their phone, up to five times a day, seven days a week. Each drink must be collected 30 minutes apart to avoid customers sharing subscriptions. The first month is free.
At around £2.40 for a latte, customers only need to buy 9 coffees a month to benefit from the scheme. This relatively low threshold could fit well with the “new normal” for office workers commuting to offices fewer days per week than before the pandemic.
Adapting to the new retail environment
The scheme is the latest in a number of innovative new services from Pret including meals to heat at home and a retail coffee offer available via Amazon. Pret has also been working with professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal and property agent CWM on cost reductions plans to examine the best options to “adjust its business model in a new retail environment”. Measures recently announced include job cuts, reduced hours and store closures.
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