Supermarket Sweep


Arguably the "go-to" for a quick lunch taken either to dine in or to eat at a desk, the "Pret lunch" has been joined by home cooked meals, meal kits, takeaway and ready meals as people work from home.

Pret a Manger's partnership with Tesco aims to combat this by setting up concessions in Tesco to target a wider customer base; one doing their daily or weekly shop. This, it is hoped, will increase Pret's reach and retain its status as a coffee shop giant.

They are not the only one. Sainsbury’s recently announced their partnership with restaurant chain Carluccio’s (now owned by Boparan Group) to test out three new in-store concepts which, if successful, could lead to further rollouts.

These partnerships are a sign of how consumer patterns have changed over the last year. Prime city centre locations were hardest hit as workers stopped commuting. Being one of the only shops able to stay open over the last year, supermarkets have seen revenues rise and Pret's and Carluccio's collaboration with them is indicative of a trend each expects will continue. 

Supermarkets too have felt the pressure of online shopping, with many satisfying orders through their online platforms (who can forget the panic of trying to find a delivery slot last spring?!). They have under-used floor space in multiple locations around the UK, and brands eager to use it.

It's not the first time F&B operators have partnered with supermarkets. in 2018 Boparan and Casual Dining Group previously partnered with Tesco to launch an in-store range of food items from some of their restaurants. The opening of concession stores/coffee shops is the next stage in this evolution. 

We are likely to see more and more of this kind of partnership as operators try and keep up with where people are now living and working. The question now is: who's next?

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The sandwich chain has struggled in the pandemic as many of its branches are in city centres and rely on office trade. With the remote working trend set to continue post-pandemic, it is exploring new ways to operate. "We're transforming our business model to adjust to a new way of living and working," said Pret.
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