pret a manger coffee


Pret A Manger, a leading food franchise in the UK, plans to install coffee vending machines as an alternative to dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, including staff shortages and a reduced flow of commuter traffic. The company has been rocked by a string of store closures over the past year and a half.

There were reports that Pret Express has trademarked its name with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in preparation for launch. In addition to the automated coffee machines, Pret A Manger is pursuing a loyalty program called ‘Pret Perk’ as part of its Automated Coffee Machine Plan.

Staff shortages at the company are attributed to the ‘pingdemic’, a combination of ‘pandemic’ and ‘ping’. Pings are alerts sent to the mobile phone of anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being advised to self-isolate. The situation has affected many Pret A Manger staff members.

In 2020, the coffee giant had to permanently close 74 UK stores and 22 US stores due to the impacts of the global pandemic and is among the top few chains to be severely impacted. The pingdemic also resulted in the closure of 17 other stores just last week.

While some of us enjoy working from home — not having to face the morning rush and spend time commuting — not everyone is benefiting from this arrangement. For example, because fewer people are commuting to work, coffee chains like Pret A Manger are losing customers who would typically quickly pop by for a cup before heading into the office. 

As an answer to these COVID-related issues and to diversify their offerings, the Pret Express vending machines will potentially be able to kill two birds with one stone. Jeffrey Young, Allegra World Coffee Portal’s Chief Executive, stated: 

You now have a situation where in a train station, for example, it might not be economical to have a fully-fledged barista café, while the opportunity to put coffee into a train station that can operate 24 hours is becoming more compelling.

As many of us know, one of the most common issues with vending machine coffee in the past was the difference in quality and flavour, something which the team at Pret is aware of. Mr Young commented on how the new and improved coffee vending machines are now much closer to the “real barista experience” than before. Although, I guess that’ll ultimately be up to their loyal customers to judge. 

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