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Pret A Manger launches self-serve coffee concept in the UK

Pret A Manger partners with JDE Peet’s to introduce Pret Express self-serve machines in the UK as the coffee and food-to-go chain continues to diversify its sales channels 

Pret Express self-serve machines mark the latest move by Pret to diversify its business 



Pret A Manger has made a foray into the UK’s premium self-serve coffee market. ‘Pret Express’ machines will use technology provided by fellow JAB Holdings brand, JDE Peet’s, and will be placed at on-the-go locations such as service stations and convenience stores.
 
According to Pret, the machines will offer the same range of coffee and tea beverages available in-store.
 
“This is new territory for Pret, which will allow more people across the country to enjoy Pret’s organic coffee and tea on the go, in places where there isn’t the right space to set up a new Pret shop,” said Guy Meakin, Pret’s UK Trading Director.
 
Self-serve machines are the latest move by the coffee and food-to-go chain to diversify its traditionally commuter-focused brick-and-mortar business by opening more neighbourhood stores, introducing supermarket concessions, selling at-home coffee products, and launching a coffee subscription service in the US.
 
In September 2021, Pret said it would double the size of its business by 2023 by opening 200 new stores in the UK and Ireland and hiring 3,000 staff.
 
Self-serve machines could be savvy bet for Pret, which suffered a 58% decline in revenues in 2020 as pandemic trading restrictions temporarily shuttered many of its stores and decimated footfall.
 
World Coffee Portal data shows the UK’s premium self-serve coffee segment has more than doubled in size since 2016 to exceed 14,600 units.
 
Self-serve units could also prove useful in ameliorating severe staff shortages that have blighted the UK hospitality industry in the wake of Covid-19 and Brexit. One third of UK consumers surveyed by World Coffee Portal in early 2021 would be open to a fully automated coffee shop experience with no human interaction.
 

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