Pop-up Pret here to stay
Thursday 1st December 2016
Experimental Veggie Pret to remain open in London
Natural food-to-go chain Pret has announced that thanks to overwhelming popular response to Veggie Pret, its pop-up vegetarian shop in Soho, London, the brand will be keeping the shop open on a permanent basis. Originally planned as a month-long pop-up, the exclusively veggie and vegan shop proved so popular with customers the company decided to keep it open for the summer, and is now already considering locations for a second Veggie Pret in London, with plans to open more in other cities in the future.
Announcing the news on his blog, Pret CEO Clive Schlee admits they had expected sales in the shop to decline as a result of the conversion to Veggie Pret and were surprised by its success: 'After the massive hype of the first few weeks, sales at Veggie Pret are still well up on where they were before the conversion. It started out as an experiment in response to customer feedback and our customers have spoken loud and clear, so Veggie Pret is here to stay.'
Over the last year or so, as sales of vegetarian products within the chain have grown, Pret has started engaging with its veggie and vegan customers more seriously, and last year a request for ideas on how the brand could create more delicious vegetarian food attracted almost 10,000 votes from customers – 44 per cent of those wanted the company to open a Veggie Pret, while 52 per cent voted for a dedicated veggie fridge in every shop.
'Clearly, the move towards a plant-based diet is gathering momentum, especially among millennials,' says Clive on his blog. 'Vegetarians and vegans are an articulate and social media-savvy group. Many of you have been advocating eating less meat for years and have been thrilled to see a major UK business take up the cause. We had over 20,000 customer comments in the first 12 weeks and many of you have offered heartfelt thanks to Pret for making a bold move. Even Sir Paul McCartney emailed.'
Earlier in the year, Pret had launched a range of new vegetarian menu items and specials, followed by a collection of vegan, veggie, raw and gluten-free snacks, which are available from Pret shops across the country. It's all part of a growing trend to ensure veggies and vegans are not just given 'token' options anymore, but dishes that are equally exciting and flavoursome as the meat counterparts on the menu – and even the carnivores are enjoying the veggie options.
'Pret's goal is to encourage meat-eaters to try more veggie food by making sure it looks and tastes better,' says Clive. 'Our chefs seem to be getting it right because anecdotally over 50 per cent of customers at Veggie Pret say they are regular meat-eaters. Our early insights remain true – vegan dishes and sweet treats are the biggest sellers!'
Find out more at www.pret.co.uk.