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Pret A Manger plans to launch new self-serve coffee brand

Coffee and food-to-go chain continues to diversify in response to significant disruption to its business model caused by the pandemic

Pret A Manger's self-serve coffee plans are its latest efforts to diversify following Covid-19 disruption | Photo credit: The Blowup

Pret A Manger is planning to launch a new self-serve coffee brand to broaden its sales channels following significant disruption to its traditional office worker customer base.  

According to a report in the Financial Times, the London-based coffee and food-to-go chain has made an Intellectual Property Office filing to trademark “Pret Express” under the class of “vending machines” and “coffee vending and dispensing machines”. 

Introducing self-serve coffee machines, could be a savvy move for Pret. World Coffee Portal data shows the UK’s premium automated coffee market has doubled in size over the last five years, with the self-serve segment now comprising over 14,000 units.  

Automated coffee technology is being widely embraced across the UK hospitality industry, with operators benefiting from reduced staff costs, operational efficiencies and enhanced data capture. 

Pret has significantly diversified its business model in response to a dramatic reduction in office worker footfall as a result of the pandemic. The move into the premium self-service coffee market represents one of many new strategies it has deployed to diversify sales. 

In September 2020, JAB Holdings-controlled Pret launched its ‘YourPret Barista’ subscription. As part of the £20 ($26) service, customers can receive up to five barista-made coffees, teas, and hot chocolates per day over the course of a month. 

The coffee and food-to-go chain partnered with Waitrose and Amazon in November 2020, to sell branded retail coffee in the UK to target at-home workers. 

More recently, in May 2021 Pret announced it would launch concession stores within Tesco supermarkets across the UK in an effort to broaden its traditional London-centric customer base. 

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