Over the past year, we’ve seen Pret A Manger making big moves to their business model in attempts to overcome the many struggles the pandemic has thrown at high street coffee chains. With the recent announcement that Pret is to expand their services by introducing vending and dispensing machines as well as increase their ‘Pret Perks’, Pret is once again making headlines.

Plans to innovate and diversify amongst coffee chain giants to set themselves apart from their competition are by no means new. We’ve all seen the thousands of Costa self-serving coffee machines dotted across the UK in service stations. Not long ago, we heard of Carluccio’s plans to launch their self-serving coffee machines in Budgens stores. However, have we seen vending machines like this before?

Pandemic Pret

With Covid setting Pret’s sales ten years back and various forced closures, the coffee chain has been widely recognized as a token of the financial struggle encountered by high-street businesses due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, Pret is a prime example of a business reacting to the heavy impact of Covid while simultaneously recognizing the need to diversify more than ever in this new hospitality market. 

In September 2020, Pret established a subscription scheme in response to a fall in customers visiting their shops during lockdown. Free for the first month and twenty pounds thereafter, the subscription covered a range of beverages from coffees to smoothies. Although other coffee chains like Costa and Starbucks operate point schemes, Pret’s subscription scheme was a first of its kind, enhancing the chain’s USP. 

Following the success of Pret’s loyalty scheme, May saw Pret and Tesco strike a deal. The move to offer Pret products in selected Tesco stores was “to adjust to a new way of living and working”. 


All aboard the Pret Express

Pret’s push to trademark ‘Pret Express’ and grow their ‘Pret Perks’ is just another instance of the coffee chain responding uniquely to the changing hospitality landscape. Despite the UK opening up since the 19th of July, many Pret stores have permanently shut while a scarcity of office workers in the city remains as many continue to work from home. 300 of Pret’s 400 stores are based in the country’s capital and heavily rely on office workers and commuters. 

The idea behind bringing out vending and dispensing machines is a solution to a shortage of trained baristas and a decrease in Pret’s footfall as a result of Covid. 

However, it is also a notable marketing and PR strategy demonstrating Pret as a leading multi-channel and technology-led business. 

Pret Exterior

Pret Express as a marketing and PR tool

It is no doubt that Pret’s newest development will bring extensive marketing and PR benefits. With already lots of coverage on ‘Pret Express’ by multiple publications and social media channels, the coffee chain can expect a boom in its SEO strategies. 

Along with choosing the correct keywords to ensure a brand appears at the top of a search, PR is an alternative way of aiding a brand’s SEO by generating links from external sites, which directs traffic towards the brand’s website. Therefore, features about Pret’s latest move in press releases and news articles will enable google to interpret these as endorsements for Pret, increasing Pret’s ranking in web searches. 

Want to know how successful PR can improve your brand’s authority and hence SEO? Get in touch with us today.