On-the-go lunch seller Pret A Manger has made no secret of the difficult time it’s had as a result of the coronavirus crisis. After lockdown, and as Britons continued to work from home and avoid city centres, it announced store closures and job losses after sales tumbled 74% year-on-year.
In order for the business to survive the new normal the chain has now launched ‘YourPret Barista’, a coffee subscription service costing £20 a month. The chain’s chief executive said the company needed to adapt itself to changing consumer patterns and that there was no doubt that workers will be coming into the office less often than before COVID.
Coffee sales have risen faster than food since reopening in May and the recovery in sales has also been quicker outside central London.
New YouGov BrandIndex data shows that since the scheme was announced last week, Pret A Manger’s Word of Mouth Exposures scores (whether someone has talked about the brand with friends and family in the last two weeks) rose 11.4 points at its peak while Consideration scores (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future) rose 4.0 at its peak among those who are current or former customers. Similarly Customer Satisfaction scores have increased 10 points (from 35.1 to 45.1) as of Tuesday.
More than a third of Pret customers say that they like to indulge in fancy coffee drinks, 11-percentage-points more than the national average (37% versus 26%). They’re also more likely to spend more with (55% versus 36%) and be loyal to brands (60% versus 40%) when they’re a member of their loyalty scheme.
A snap poll carried out on Tuesday showed that while the majority said that they wouldn’t consider buying a coffee subscription, 9% of Britons would, with 3% strongly considering purchasing one. The proportion of those who would consider purchasing a subscription is highest in London (13%) followed by the rest of the South (9%) and the North (9%). Almost a fifth of those aged between 18 and 24 would consider subscribing to this sort of service (19%).
While the numbers are marginally positive for this new Pret initiative, it remains to be seen whether this will be a clear winner.