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Pret A Manger and LEON launch UK coffee subscriptions as traditional footfall falters

Launch of the UK’s first beverages subscription services among major branded coffee chains seeks to offset reduced and irregular footfall due to coronavirus disruption

Pret A Manger is offering heavily discounted coffee to counter reduced footfall among its key commuter and office worker customers | Photo: Charleigh Clarke



Launched on 8 September 2020, Pret A Manger’s ‘YourPret Barista’ service entitles customers to up to five barista-made coffees, teas, and hot chocolates per day. Beverages must be ordered 30-minutes apart, meaning customers can obtain around 150 drinks within a 30-day period for a £20 ($26) monthly subscription.
 
Pret offers a single size for its beverages, meaning the cost of a £2.50 ($3.26) flat white purchased every weekday during September 2020 would be reduced to £0.91 ($1.19) – a discount of nearly 64%.
 
In late August 2020 JAB Holdings-controlled Pret announced 2,800 job losses in the UK, around a third of its workforce, and revealed sales remained 60% lower year-on-year due to coronavirus disruption.
 
Fellow organic-focused food-to-go and coffee chain LEON is also launching a coffee subscription service, which includes hot beverages of any size over a 30-day period for £15. LEON has previously sought to supplement revenues lost due to coronavirus by selling branded ready meals and condiments at UK supermarkets.
 
With many consumers’ daily work routines upended by coronavirus, businesses heavily reliant on commuter and office worker trade face the challenge of repositioning their offerings amid reduced footfall at UK travel hubs and city centres.

World Coffee Portal research shows that among UK coffee drinkers surveyed who had not visited a café or coffee shop since the lockdown eased, 30% said it was because their daily routine had changed.
 
Coffee subscriptions are not without precedent globally. In March 2020, US food-to-go and coffee chain, Panera Bread, which like Pret is controlled by German investment firm JAB Holdings, launched an $8.99 ‘unlimited’ monthly coffee subscription. In March 2019, fast food chain Burger King launched a now discontinued $5 monthly coffee subscription in the US.

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