Interview Synopsis

Pret A Manger – strategic business review & the UK food-to-go industry outlook

  • Multi Asset
  • Consumer
  • Europe

COVID-19, Brexit and stiffer industry competition are creating strong headwinds for Pret a Manger, a former director at the group told Third Bridge Forum in an Interview on the UK food-to-go market.

COVID-19 overtakes Brexit as UK food-to-go market’s top concern

The size of the market and growth dynamics pre-pandemic were first on the agenda. The continued rise of food delivery services, dwindling high street footfall and increased remote working have weighed heavily on the sector. However, food-to-go now represents over a fifth (23.5%) of the broader eating out market, having gained ground over the past decade. The specialist discussed how different business models impact like-for-like growth versus new shop openings.  

The Interview then considered Pret’s profits across food and beverage. Coffee sales have remained robust in recent years, helped by its focus on breakfast as lunch sales waned across the industry. The group is renowned for using high-quality and fresh ingredients every day, but negative press over the tragic incident in which a customer suffered a fatal allergic reaction has had a lasting impact. 

The expert then evaluated Pret’s responses to COVID-19, including partnering with Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, selling products via Amazon and rolling out a coffee subscription. Meanwhile, many players in the restaurant and food-to-go industry have applied for a Company Voluntary Arrangement in light of the continued uncertainty. Although Pret hasn’t yet revealed any plans to do so, the specialist believes it is one of two options for the group. London will be the company’s biggest challenge in the months ahead, according to the Interview. 

How the competitive landscape might change once disruption begins to settle was also discussed, with a focus on Greggs and Leon. “Greggs has become one of their biggest competitors, and they are expanding in London and have improved their food offer.”

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Pret A Manger – strategic business review & the UK food-to-go industry outlook Interview, click here to access the full transcript. 

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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