​Opinion - Why Pret's Coffee Subscription Lost Its Brew

​Opinion - Why Pret's Coffee Subscription Lost Its Brew

Posted by Stelios on 29th Apr 2024

Pret's coffee subscription, once a pandemic-era essential, experienced a significant shift in popularity. Launched in September 2020 at £20 per month, with an enticing free offer for the first month, it was met with widespread acclaim. Offering five drinks daily and a seamless sign-up process via email-generated QR codes, it quickly became synonymous with city living and the revival of office culture post-pandemic, a time many of us remember fondly.

Dubbed the "Pret Index," tracking footfall in its outlets showcased a return to normalcy in suburban London, airports, and Yorkshire post-pandemic. This subscription was pivotal in Pret's resurgence, contributing to its first profitable year since 2018, with a 20.2% sales increase in the first half of 2023, totalling 1.25 million weekly subscriptions.

Despite its initial success, the subscription faced two price hikes, ultimately reaching £30 per month, which significantly dampened consumer enthusiasm. Rumours of discontinuing popular items like smoothies and iced drinks materialised, further exacerbating dissatisfaction. Operational issues, including ingredient shortages and excluded stores, added to the subscribers' woes, making their experience less than ideal.

Efforts to boost profitability, such as introducing the "Pret Perks" loyalty scheme and crackdown on account sharing, further alienated customers. The transition to an app-based subscription aggravated matters, excluding non-smartphone users and sparking refund-related complications.

As Pret grapples with these challenges, it's evident that the golden era of its coffee subscription has waned. Encouragingly, customer feedback remains crucial for shaping future initiatives.