Posts Tagged ‘Pret a Manger’

Coffee chains ripoff their customers

September 16, 2018

Last week, The Mail on Sunday had an article Barista bandits on how the coffee chains are ripping off their customers.

Caffe Nero and Starbucks dodge tax, Costa owned by Coca-Cola, Pret a manger by Vulture Capitalists, all serve disgusting cheap undrinkable coffee, but as the MoS points out, we are paying a high price for this undrinkable coffee, at least those with no taste for coffee are, those of us who appreciate coffee, seek out the nearest local speciality coffee shop. To this list of reasons to avoid the chains could also add poor working conditions, soul destroying low paid McShit jobs, drain money out of the local economy.

MoS describe how the wholesale price of coffee has fallen, in the meantime the price charged by the chains has risen. By wholesale price, it is assumed they are referring to the coffee exchange price for commodity coffee in London and New York.

According to MoS, price of beans on the international markets has dropped 67% since 2011, from £2.23 per pound to a low of 74p last month. In the same period, a ‘tall’ cappuccino in Starbucks that cost £2.15 in 2011 now costs £2.60 in most outlets – a 20% increase.

It is not only Starbucks ripping off their customers, other chains are also ripping off their customers too:

  • tax dodging Caffe Nero – regular cappuccino has risen 40p from £2.30 in 2011
  • Pret a Manger – from £2.19 to £2.45
  • Costa – the £2.15 ‘primo’ now costs £2.35

The usual excuses, we have heard them all before with ratchet pricing from energy companies, cost of Brent Crude goes up, electricity prices rise, cost of oil drops, electricity price stays the same.

  • Starbucks: ‘Many factors contribute to pricing decisions, including rents, labour, competition, distribution, commodities – and coffee.’
  • Costa: ‘The price of a cup of coffee does not simply reflect the cost of the beans.’
  • Pret a Manger: ‘Our coffee prices take into account the cost of our ingredients, as well as operational costs such as wages.’
  • Cafe Nero: declined to comment.

That low price on the international commodity exchange translates as bigger margins for the chains, poverty for the growers, the difference between sending the kids to school or not, a nutritinal meal every day.

The world of the speciality coffee shop is different, they engage in Direct Trade. Yes you are paying a higher price for your cappuccino, usually somewhere between £2-50 and £3-00, though often less than will pay in a chain.

There are though very good reasons for this price, and unlike the chains, it can be more than justified.

Investment by the coffee shop, decor, ambience, employment of skilled baristas, quality espresso machine and grinder, a choice of brew methods, V60 or Chemex pour over filter coffee, cold brew coffee. They are buying quality speciality coffee, not cheap commodity coffee, a far higher price is paid to the growers.

We have a choice, no one is forced to drink coffee from a corporate chain, to pay through the nose for undrinkable cheap coffee. There are speciality coffee shops, where the baristas and owner will be passionate about coffee, where can relax with a quality coffee served in glass or ceramic, where can drink with a clear conscience knowing a higher price is being paid to the coffee grower.

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Pret a Manger gives away free coffee

March 20, 2018

Pret a Manger to give away 300,000 free coffees this week.

It sounds generous but is it?

Many people have coffee loyalty cards. How many coffees to buy to get a free coffee?

How many coffees do Pret a Manger sell in a week?

I do not know, but I would hazard a guess the free coffees is a tiny percentage of what Pret actually sell.

And that puts into context the ‘free coffee offer’ if we compare with a coffee loyalty card.

In other words everyone is giving away free coffee.

As with the coffee at 49p, Pret a Manger has once again pulled a very clever PR stunt, and once again the media has fallen for it.

Pret a Manger launch organic takeaway filter coffee at 49p a cup

January 2, 2018

I’m delighted you can now get 50p off a hot drink when you bring your reusable cup to Pret. I hope this will make a difference. — Pret a Manger chief executive Clive Schlee

As of today,  organic takeaway filter coffee from Pret a Manger at 49p a cup.

And the catch? Have to bring own cup for a refill.

Strictly speaking not a catch, it is to encourage use of reusable cups and discourage waste, reduce the number of plastic-lined throwaway cups that go to landfill or incineration.

Or is it?

In the absence of in-store information, no reusable cups on sale in store, store lacking the facility to relax with a coffee out of a ceramic cup, it will make little difference in the use of throwaway cups and will be seen as a PR stunt nothing more.

Note: Mainstream media carry the same story more or less word for word. That is what counts as journalism these days, cut and paste from a press release.

How long will this scheme last once the PR advantage has been milked? In 2016 tax-dodging Starbucks scrapped its own 50p discount for customers who bring their own cup just three months after it was introduced. It does of course raises the obvious question why would anyone who appreciates coffee wish to drink what is called coffee in Starbucks?

We need transparency, we need to see what the figures were before and after this scheme introduced.

Pret a Manger are not pioneers in this. Many indie coffee shops have been offering a discount if bring back a cup to be filled, the main difference, they have on sale resusable cups.

UK ships 500,000 tonnes of plastic to China every year. This is not recycling, this is dumping. China has said it will no longer take plastic waste from the UK.

The UK throws away 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups every year. The planet is being destroyed by plastic.

One of the first steps we can take is to eliminate the use of throwaway  plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups.

And that is the problem, the cups are lined with plastic, cannot be recycled, go to landfill or incineration or are thrown in the street.

Compostable paper cups are available. Fine, if on way home, drop off on the compost heap, but what if not, what then to do with the paper cup? It will end up in the waste stream.

Reusable cups, eg KeepCup, have  a role for office workers popping out for a coffee and taking back to the office. Beyond that limited use as bulky, expensive, and a pain to carry around.

This is to address the symptoms. What we have to do is discourage the grab it and go culture, which Pret a Manger encourages, and encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with a  cup of speciality coffee served in a ceramic cup.