| Italy

Pret A Manger makes Italy debut with franchise partner Chef Express

The UK coffee and food-to-go chain’s outlet at Milan Malpensa airport is the first of 40 slated for Italy in the coming years via a new partnership with Italian the Italian foodservice and retail business

Pret A Manger plans to open three further stores in Italy via Chef Express before the end of 2023 | Photo credit: Pret A Manger


Pret A Manger has opened its first store in Italy at Terminal 2 of Milan Malpensa airport after signing a franchise agreement with Modena-based Chef Express. 

The UK-based coffee and food-to-go chain plans to open three further stores via Chef Express before the end of 2023, including a second unit at Milan Malpensa airport. 

Chef Express, part of the Italian foodservice conglomerate Cremonini Group, expects to open 40 Pret A Manger stores across Italy over the coming years. 

Italy is Pret A Manger’s eighth European market and its Milan store follows quickly on the heels of its market entry in Luxembourg in May 2023. 

The coffee and food-to-go chain now operates approximately 450 UK stores and a further 70 outlets across France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Pret A Manger will also enter Spain and Portugal before the end of the year. 

“We know Pret has a huge fanbase in Europe, so I’m delighted to be bringing our freshly made food and organic coffee to even more people across the continent. Launching in Italy is a big moment for us and something I’ve been personally looking forward to. We’re excited to be working with Chef Express to help us introduce the Pret experience to people in Milan first, then across the country,” said Pano Christou, CEO, Pret A Manger.  

Pret A Manger becomes the eighth international branded coffee chain to enter Italy’s historically price-sensitive and domestic brand-led market. 

Highlighting changing consumer attitudes towards premium branded cafés in Italy, US coffee giant Starbucks, which entered the Italian market in 2018 with Europe’s first super-premium Reserve Roastery and now has 37 stores, has indicated its is confident of further growth in the Italian market. 

The Seattle-based coffee chain doubled its Italian store footprint last year and is seeking to reach 37 stores across the country by the end of 2023.  

Chef Express has a strong concessions presence across Italian transit hubs, with 50 sales outlets in rail stations, 13 within Italian airports and 55 catering areas on the Italian motorway network. 

The catering and concessions business also operates within shopping malls and retail parks via a joint venture with the Percassi Group, which licenses Starbucks in Italy, and controls the Roadhouse Restaurant, Calavera and Billy Tacos casual dining chains. 

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