The pandemic has hit coffee shops hard. No more crowds shopping in town. No more coffee on the way to work. With city centres deserted and office workers staying at home, big chains face a simple dilemma: adapt or die.
After closing thirty outlets and laying off a third of their staff, Pret launched a new coffee subscription service to reclaim their old business.
How does the Pret Coffee subscription work?
Well, the new digital strategy was christened YourPret Barista. For a fixed monthly fee, the subscriber can select any ‘barista prepared’ drink – from a crème-laden espresso to a refreshing frappe – using their phone. Oh, and you’ll be able to order up to five drinks a day, seven days a week. After a bit of ‘back of the coffee cup’ maths, that’s thirty-five drinks every single week. Now that’s a lot of coffee.
Pretty incredible. I bet you can’t wait to get your work’s next coffee order.
Except, sharing is not caring. You’re only able to collect a drink every 30 minutes, stopping you from getting friends and colleagues in on your deal.
The price? Just £20 a month.
That might seem a little expensive at first. But when you consider that, you can drink about 150 cups a month; it works out at a little over 13p per cup. Wow!
We’ve dived into the Ts and Cs to find out the specifics of the service.
If you want to pause your Pret coffee subscription, you’ll be able to do so, becoming effective at the end of the subscription month. Pauses last 31 days, and you can only pause once.
When collecting your coffee, you’ll need to show a QR code on your Pret ap. The app is available for both Apple and Google compatible phones and can integrate with Apple Wallet or Google Pay.
A few products aren’t included, mainly smoothies: Cocoa, Almond Butter & Banana; Raspberry, Mango & Ginger; and Avocado, Mango & Ginger smoothies are all off the list.
And all the coffee is 100 per cent organic and arabica!
Draw in more customers
Pret is likely betting that most people won’t drink the maximum number of cups. Meaning the less you drink, the higher the price per cup. If you’re only sipping one or two coffees per month, it’s unlikely to be worth the price tag.
However, if you’re a Pret regular and plan to head in daily or a few times a week, you’re likely to get your money’s worth. As many have noted, this is Pret’s version of a loyalty scheme a la the Netflix model.
It also gets you in the store. Once inside, Pret hopes you’ll buy a sandwich or a slice of cake, helping their profits. For a struggling chain, it’s a pretty smart move. Nor is it the last revolutionary change. Evening meal deals and deliveries have been floated as potential future innovations.
However, for the moment, while lockdowns persist, many customers are holding off on purchasing a Pret coffee subscription. There was also a little drama when it first launched.
The coffee cancellation disaster
Back in September 2020, when the YourPret Barista subscription service first launched, there was an introductory first-month free offer. The British public, never one to refuse a free bargain, piled in to enjoy the newly-launched service.
Then, when their month began to come to a close, they cancelled their Pret coffee subscription. However, even after receiving an email confirming they’d successfully cancelled, many customers claimed to have been charged the £20 subscription fee the following month. Out-rage followed. Albeit only on Twitter.
Pret admitted to a “small proportion” of customers having a problem with cancellation. Although, some may have had a problem with the lengthy cancellation procedures. It requires you to click cancel several times and enter a passcode emailed to yourself. I guess they don’t want to see you go.
Will Pret’s coffee subscription service work?
With 2,800 jobs cut and thirty stores closed, the future doesn’t look bright for Pret. Nor are city centres about to fill up. At least, not any time soon.
Worldwide, industry experts and government insiders are predicting a future of remote work. In a Birmingham University study, most respondents said they’d prefer to work flexibly in the future. They cited a better work-life balance and increased productivity.
Even if people venture back, it’ll likely only be for a day or two per week. For coffee shops like Pret – once the lifeblood of the high-street – it spells dire consequences.
Heading out for a coffee is likely to become an occasion to see friends, not a daily habit. It remains to be seen if that can save the ailing chain.
What’s the alternative?
But, if you’re working from home or doing a Flexi half-and-half, you still want to enjoy barista-quality coffee. Who wants to resort to the big glass jars of acrid instant coffee?
Look no further than the Presto coffee subscription.
With 10 per cent off our fabulous array of products, you’ll never run out of coffee again. Unlike the Pret service, you don’t have to go anywhere. We bring the coffee to you!
Nor do we force you into subscribing to a particular blend or a random selection like other services. Instead, you can subscribe to whatever bean or ground coffee you like from our diverse and globe-spanning selection. Fancy an Italian Espresso Blend on Monday or Café Crema to pep up your Friday? The choice is yours. We even offer our innovative coffee bags.
And if you want to pause the service, just ask. We don’t make things difficult. There are no hoops to jump through. All we want is to deliver you the best coffee around, roasted by us with care.
So, you never run out of coffee again!
It’s not just a coffee subscription service; it’s the future.