Britain's Pret enters self-service coffee machine market

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Take-away coffee cups stand on a table inside a Pret A Manger store in Liverpool, Britain, September 22, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) – British coffee and sandwich chain Pret A  Manger has teamed up with JDE Peet’s to trial self-service coffee machines, further evolving its business model after sales were hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pret has suffered as many of its just under 400 UK stores are located on high streets, at transport hubs and close to offices that have seen reduced occupancy during the crisis.

Pret, owned by investment group JAB and founder Sinclair Beecham, said on Friday its “Pret Express” machines will be introduced into convenience shops, petrol station forecourts, universities, healthcare facilities and workplaces.

The machines offer the same coffees and teas available in Pret shops.

JDE Peet’s, one of the world’s largest consumer coffee companies, will be providing the self-service technology.

“This is new territory for Pret, which will allow more people across the country to enjoy Pret’s organic coffee and tea on the go, in places where there isn’t the right space to set up a new Pret shop,” said Guy Meakin, Pret’s UK trading director.

Last month Pret said it planned to double in size over the next five years, despite reporting a 256.5 million pound ($354.2 million) loss for 2020.

Other changes to its operating model include the launch of a subscription service for drinks.

Pret is also selling coffee lines through Amazon (NASDAQ:), Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco (LON:) and Ocado (LON:), has delivery partnerships with Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber (NYSE:) Eats and is trialing shops within Tesco stores.

($1 = 0.7242 pounds)

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