British sandwich chain Pret A Manger has opened its first Irish store on Dawson Street. The company, which has so far relied on demand from office workers, is tearing up the playbook to attract new customers.
We used to follow the skyscrapers and the pandemic made us realize very quickly how challenging that was going to be,” Guy Meakin, interim managing director for the UK and Ireland, told the Irish Independent.
During the times of lockdown, Pret developed a new strategy to move beyond his typical office worker target market, which disappeared overnight – and hasn’t fully returned yet.
According to Bloomberg’s Pret Index, a weekly analysis of sales, sales in the City of London were at 83 per cent of pre-Covid levels in mid-July. West End sales totaled 88 units.
“For the past few years, we’ve been looking at how we can really transform Pret,” says Meakin.
The “fastest and easiest way” was to join delivery platforms to bring Pret to the home office. Pret has also partnered with retailers like Tesco to sell coffee in-store.
Diversification into new locations is also part of this strategy. “Ireland has been a desirable market for many years, many customers have asked for it,” he said.
The Dawson Street store, which opens on Friday, is near high-traffic areas like Grafton Street and Trinity College – but with a few clerks nearby. “In that sense, you have the best of both worlds,” he insists.
The Dawson Street store is part of an arrangement with Nenagh-born Gerard Loughran, owner of the Carebrook Partnership franchise.
Loughran runs Pret franchises in North London including Camden, Belsize Park and Finchley with Ray McNamara, a minority co-owner who has over 25 years experience in the sector in Ireland.
Pret now plans to open a total of 20 stores across Ireland over the next decade and create around 500 jobs. The Dawson Street Cafe has created 25 new roles.
While locations for other Irish outlets are yet to be finalised, Meakin explains that the new strategy will see more stores located in suburban centres.
The chain uses data shared by customers, such as B. those in their subscription system to identify where they are based to bring coffee to their neighborhood. Demand for Pret exists closer to home – the index suggests sales in the London suburbs are now 118 per cent of pre-Covid levels
The subscription, which offers up to five drinks a day for £25 (€29.60) a month, will not be available in the Irish market but is available in France and the US.
“We can glean a lot of knowledge to say a lot of Pret customers have been there,” but they use us on a two- or three-day basis in Canary Wharf or the City, but there’s no store for them,” he says.
Transport hubs are also gaining in importance, with sales at London airports at 140 per cent of pre-Covid levels.
Shops in all locations are now opening more frequently on weekends to accommodate this newfound interest, Meakin says. UK sales returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in May.
According to Meakin, the mission is now clear.
“How can you be Pret for every day, not just the workday?”
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/pret-a-manger-looks-beyond-office-workers-as-coffee-chain-arrives-to-dublin-41934833.html Pret A Manger looks beyond office workers as a coffee chain arrives in Dublin