Can Pret successfully target the evening meal mission?

Nicola Knight
Senior Analyst - Food-To -Go

Date : 17 November 2020

This week food-to-go specialist Pret A Manger will launch its latest diversified offer targeting evening meals at home.

Dinners by Pret will be available from 30 Pret sites and will include new dishes such as focaccia pizzas, pigs in blankets, mac ’n’ cheese, hot rice bowls including curry and chili, and milkshakes. The meals will be delivered via Pret’s delivery partners UberEats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.

Briony Raven, UK food and coffee director at Pret, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to offer more customers new (and freshly made) Pret Dinners for their evening takeaways. With many of us having tried to take up cooking during the last lockdown, we decided it’s time to let our customers sit back and relax while Pret handles dinner – you’ve seen enough of your kitchen this year. We’ve worked hard to take some of the nation’s most beloved comfort foods and give them a Pret twist, including our new focaccia pizzas.” 

Pret is also launching its latest digital development - a new Order Ahead system. This click and collect feature will allow customers to safely pick up their order from their designated shop at the specified time.  It builds on developments Pret originally trialled at a London store last year.

Our view

Our food-to-go shopper research shows that the evening meal mission was the only meal to grow during the first lockdown. Previous research also shows the importance of hot food at this time of day.  In the midst of the second round of national lockdowns, and restrictions likely to remain in place for several months, Pret’s decision to boost its range by serving up more substantial hot dishes suitable for delivery and supported by Pret’s trusted brand reputation for great fresh food sounds like it should hit a sweet spot.  

Tapping into new daypart opportunities is also a good way to maximise return on site overheads.  Our latest food-to-go shopper research shows that McDonald’s is the brand with the most even spread of food-to-go mission uptake, as strong at breakfast as it is at evening meal, and not far behind on lunch, snack and drink-on-the-go.  Other brands fall short in one or more missions.  The McDonald’s model of being equally strong across all day parts is ultimately something I’m sure Pret would like to emulate.

The competition for the evening day part is particularly tough, however, with new delivery-only virtual brands specialising in specific dishes or cuisines popping up daily next to more established and well-known counterparts.  Now that Pret has an all-day offer it will be interesting to see whether it makes more use of ‘dark kitchens’ (lower cost, delivery only sites) to roll the brand out to suburban areas, which it says it plans to do as a result of pandemic impacts on its core city centre and transport hub estate.

As Pret stretches into new territory – be it in dinners or retail products (Pret’s coffee is now available in Waitrose as well as Amazon) -  it will be relying on its loyal fanbase and their trust in the Pret brand to make its diversification a success.


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