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the threat of pret


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I saw the BBC posted a story this morning that, Pret A Manger is going to offer a coffee subscription with unlimited barista made drinks including any coffee for £20 a month, this seems a crazy low ball offer to me that must surely hurt a lot of independent coffee shops.

Pre covid my daily commute took my past a Pret everyday and a lot of the time i might drop in there for something to eat, but despite the best efforts of the staff to up-sell me a coffee and even many offers of free coffee, I walked out and a couple of doors down to buy coffee elsewhere, but for most people that drink a coffee everyday, it's probably going to be too tempting. 

I really hope this doesn't become a race to the bottom, a few years ago coffee in London was really going from strength to strength. 
 

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That's going to do nobody any good. Disaster. I've only been to 'Prat' once, in desperation for a sandwich and that put me off forever, but like MuckDonalds, they seem to be able to sell their wares to millions of people who are less concerned with quality. I hope it doesn't kill good coffee shops.

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Pret are in trouble like so many high street businesses. Their coffee subscription sounds a bit like an act of desperation. Not sure it will impact on third wave coffee shops as their clientele are, how can I put it, more discerning about the coffee they want to drink. 

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from the front door of my workplace, I can walk right about 6 doors down into a pret, I can walk left 1 door and over a small street and be in a crosstown donuts that sell a decent coffee made with caravan beans, 2 doors down on the other side of 'agent provocateur' there is another pret... the crosstown dougnuts is the closest coffee shop, so it is the go to place, but people still go to pret on their way in as its the first place they walk past... 
What i mean to say is that a lot of good coffee shops rely on people that might not care so much dropping in as its convenient. I don't think a business can survive only on coffee geeks, but if you have a subscription people will walk a bit further to go where something is free (or at least prepaid) i bet.

 

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4 hours ago, The Systemic Kid said:

Pret are in trouble like so many high street businesses. Their coffee subscription sounds a bit like an act of desperation. Not sure it will impact on third wave coffee shops as their clientele are, how can I put it, more discerning about the coffee they want to drink. 

Agree with this. I think there's a bit of overlap in customer bases, but not as much as people think.

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2 minutes ago, catpuccino said:

Well they do say their concern is for 'coffee in London'...

No, you inferred that. Point taken, though.

How many people are going to pass up quality coffee for Pret coffee, though?

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5 hours ago, The Systemic Kid said:

Pret are in trouble like so many high street businesses. Their coffee subscription sounds a bit like an act of desperation. Not sure it will impact on third wave coffee shops as their clientele are, how can I put it, more discerning about the coffee they want to drink. 

As lockdown was lifting, I commented to the owner of an independent specialty coffee shop that the Starbucks re-opening two doors down must be disheartening. They replied they barely notice them there, they don't overlap and they felt more likely to benefit from the increased footfall and poach Starbucks than anything suffer any decrease. 

That's not going to be the case for every example, but I do think it's a more complex picture. 

I've always appreciated Pret while travelling and commuting, I'm quite intrigued to see how this £20 thing shakes out. 

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1 minute ago, -Mac said:

No, you inferred that. Point taken, though.

 

6 hours ago, espressoSquirrel said:

I really hope this doesn't become a race to the bottom, a few years ago coffee in London was really going from strength to strength. 

 

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7 minutes ago, espressoSquirrel said:

There are more Prets on Borough High Street than there are in Wales.... is what i read the other day, but they spread quickly, you only need one in Gloucestershire then a few weeks later there is two and then they breed like rabbits

They protested the first Costa in the town of Sandwich for months. Then once built the same people used it regularly. That's not an edgy comment, it's a small town, you can witness the same people whose names are on the petitions as the same sitting in the windows with their XXL cappuccino. 

Nothing to conclude from that, just always found it funny. 

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They wouldn't do it if they didn't think it would be profitable. They are basically counting on people not drinking £20 worth of coffee a month despite paying for it, which in London could be a reality if people don't go back to the office or go back only to end up being told to work from home again. I don't think it will hurt speciality coffee shops but it might hurt other smaller businesses like patisseries and delis that attract people through their doors for a cheap coffee. 

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I guess maybe coffee shops will have to step up and offer something better/different? 

I'll be honest, I have never ever been to a coffee shop in Leeds who gave me as good a coffee as I get at home. 
Most use North Star roast's blend, which is ok but certainly nothing special. I never get offered a choice of milks (I prefer Jersey milk) and at times of increased demand I often get poorly made coffee with burnt milk.
Then pay £2-3 for it.

I think we live in a bubble on here, in that we invest in high quality beans and take the time to make great coffee. I bet pretty much all of us could make a better coffee than most cafes.
So if even we don't see the value who else will? 

I go to a coffee shop for the experience of sitting down, chatting with a friend and smelling/hearing coffee being made. 
I can get that pretty much anywhere! 
Can't understand takeaway coffee and refuse to drink from a paper cup. 

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40 minutes ago, espressoSquirrel said:

Coffee I expect is a loss leader, they want you to spend £6 on a soggy baguette, this just gets people through the door though.

Yeah I'm not sure that'll work. They're snagging customers from Starbucks, Costa, Nero who would maybe buy some kind of cake with their coffee rather than a full lunch. People who want a baguette or sandwich are probably going to pret anyway.

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