Pret to launch in-house coffee subscription service as part of major strategic shift: Pret A Manger plans to revamp its business model beginning with a drinks subscription service that allows customers to enjoy up to five beverages per day at a cost of £20 per month. Pret, the JAB Holdings-backed company, states this is the first major step in delivering against its new digitally led, multichannel strategy. The new digital infrastructure adopted by Pret will allow it to launch insight-led customer propositions more quickly and at scale. It has accelerated strategic investments to drive long-term growth, which will ensure customers can access food and drinks across more channels than previously available. This “digital ecosystem” will enable Pret to develop insight and data-led products and services – many of which are already being trialled across the capital. The YourPret Barista subscription service will launch on Tuesday (8 September). The offer allows customers to enjoy all coffees plus organic teas, hot chocolates, smoothies and frappes – and the first month is free. The service can be accessed directly via a subscriber’s email, phone or digital wallet for one transaction, up to five times a day – but there must be a 30-minute interval between purchases. The news comes on the back of statistics that show Pret has averaged circa 7% sales growth each week since July. Pret chief executive Pano Christou said: “As people across the UK begin to get back to the things they’ve missed, our new subscription service is perfect for customers who have been craving one of our barista-prepared drinks. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or tea devotee, we hope this new service helps you start your day strong. This is just the first step in our plan to bring Pret to more people. We now have the building blocks to establish Pret as a multichannel, digitally led business, and YourPret Barista is the first big launch we’re able to deliver through our new technology platform. Since reopening back in May, our coffee sales have been rising faster than food – evidence that coffee has become an integral part of both our customers’ everyday routines and the Pret experience.” Pret has also launched other products, specifically designed for customers to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Examples include Pret’s ‘Heat Me at Home’ options, which is a range of ground coffee and espresso beans, available through Amazon; and a new dinner menu available through its delivery partners or seasonal specials such its picnic platters.
TV celebrities launch delivery-only poké concept Poké the Bear: TV celebrity Calum Best has teamed up with chef-model Georgia Salamat to open delivery-only concept Poké the Bear on Friday (4 September). Fraser Carruthers – one of the team behind private members’ club Albert’s – is also on board for the opening of the Hawaiian poké bowls venture in Chelsea. Salamat, who reached the final of BBC’s Best Home Cook, has designed the menu and there are plans to expand the delivery-only sites to cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Best said: “We’ve all seen a huge rise in food being delivered directly to people’s houses. I’ve teamed up with Fraser and Georgia because I know they can bring a wealth of experience to create a successful brand.” Salamat added: “My ethos is: the world is my kitchen, and I wanted to show this off with the menu. Health and nutrition play a large role in all our lives, so incorporating this was always part of the vision.” Carruthers said: “The restaurant and dining-out space has dramatically evolved due to covid-19 with more people deciding to eat at home. I’ve been working in hospitality for most of my life and the past few months have meant we’ve had to change the way we work drastically.” Signature dishes on the diced raw fish, rice and vegetables and grains menu include Ahi Tuna (£10.95): tuna, wakame salad, pickled sesame cucumber, fresh mango with sesame seeds, topped with crispy shallots; The Keto Bowl (£10.95): salmon, shredded sesame spring greens, sliced avocado, edamame, fresh chilli and black sesame; and The Vegan Bowl (£10.95): satay-style jackfruit, edamame, pickled sesame cucumber, avocado, pickled ginger and spring onions.