As I found myself grabbing dinner at Pret a Manger again today, I thought I'd review it. To be fair, Pret a Manger mostly offers breakfast and lunch, so let's say I had a late lunch.
Now, one thing I do have is a good appetite. My "go to" meal at Pret is Teryiaki salmon salad, but as luck had it, there was none. And this is where my beef with Pret stands. It's quite inconsistent with the food availability. If you're lucky and it's not towards the end of the day, you'll get what you want. If you've missed the lunch rush, you're stuck with what other didn't want, really. There are probably bigger Pret restaurants that stock more. I happen to eat in smaller ones, so I get what I get and try not to get upset.
So, today, I grabbed a few things. Please don't judge. Since they had no soup either, and only a couple of hot sandwiches that didn't tickle my fancy, I grabbed an avocado and chipotle chicken flatbread. I was underwhelmed, if I'm honest. The chicken didn't have any heat in it, though the description mentions spicy. Add the avocado and pepper to it, and it had this bland taste that took you nowhere. It definitely needed more spice to take it from bland and forgettable to best lunch food ever. I didn't finish it. To sum it up, at over 550 calories per portion, it didn't feel that healthy or satisfying.
My next choice was chicken Caesar and bacon or artisan bread. Must say, the filling was nice enough. Had it not been for the intense workout my jaw got, I could have perhaps enjoyed it more. I dread to think how much more effort I would have had to put it had it been a full sandwich. At least having half of it meant I could start with the part that had the moist chicken peeking out and ditch the rock hard end. This one would set you back 600 calories, though I think that's for a whole baguette. So, even though I thought this would be my naughty treat after the good avocado and chicken wrap, this caeser sandwich turned out to taste better and be better for me. Of course by now I had way too much food, so nothing was better really.
I decided to be even healthier and threw in a little pot of quinoa, edamame, crayfish and half a boiled egg. Please don't burst my bubble. Eating something healthy after you've inhaled 1000 calories worth of food does make you lose weight. And it's Pret, so all of it is healthy anyway.
Finished it all with a nice hazelnut latte - and have to admit it, they make a very good latte. And the staff is kind and polite and efficient. And the place is always clean. And they never make you feel bad for grabbing enough food for 3 and eating it alone.
I have only just discovered this place after snubbing it for years, thinking it was akin to Starbucks or Costa Coffee where I was used to overpriced and uninspired food choices. In fact Pret-A-Manger trumps these places as a coffee shop and food-to-go or outlet. As a sit in café it's not quite as ambient or as relaxing as similar big chain outlets, however.
I live near Newcastle and I've visited three Prets in this area (Northumberland Street, Grainger Street and Fenwicks indoors). All of them have quite small indoor seating areas with not many tables available but in a couple of these outlets outdoor seats are available too. Where there is space inside the seats are reasonably comfy and the tables quite roomy. They also have tall stool type seats, often by the windows where it can be easier for one person parties to sit.
I was incredibly surprised the first time I visited Pret as the food selection was so much better than I thought it would be. Firstly, there is a huge range of sandwiches. The varieties are interesting and healthy with an emphasis on ethics and with admirable environmental policies. A soup range is also available. They also have a great fresh or pre-wrapped cake range. I absolutely adore their banana cake with cream cheese topping! They also have snacks of nuts, dried fruits and crisps in addition to things like healthy chocolate bars, rice cakes, fruit and nut granola bars and yoghurts. They now offer dairy free items too.
They even have their own cold drink range which is delicious and as natural as they can make it. Flavours like Hibiscus are really unusual and tasty. The staff at Pret always make me feel welcome and they make a mean cup of coffee. I also am partial to the Pret Hot Chocolate which has a smooth foamy cream top. Delicious!
The reason I keep returning to Pret rather than to other outlets is that I find the food range far superior here than anywhere else that offers similar café meals. I find the prices to be on the expensive side although I'm happy to pay a little extra for better quality food. There is also an eat in or eat out pricing policy which you should notice marked on the price tags in store. I will definitely be returning as I enjoy the type of food available here. I would recommend Pret to people who want a healthier, more interesting option at lunch time.
I am a big fan of Pret.
There food looks delicious
It looks healthy
But most of all because they do not sell those 'factory sandwiches'
I am not sure when I first visited Pret. However, I do know that this summer it was all about Pret.
Pret a Manger meaning - 'Ready to eat' is not a franchise chain. They are located across the UK but first opened in London by two college friends in the 1980's. Considering that London was just beginning to be in undated with fast foods at this time they did well. I can recall being in London at this time so perhaps that is where I first know Pret from.
I believe they are keen to bring new natural foods to the public and are avoiding the more 'commercial' branded items that you can find at the local shop (nothing more irritating than those places that up the price on regular food products).
You can access free Wi Fi in their restaurants/cafes
There website states that if you are a friend make home made natural food goodies that could be of interest to Pret, then contact them (details are on the website).
I visited Pret in London a few times this year and again in Oxford. I would say the restaurant/take away is nicely set out. All the items are priced and you can tell they are freshly made. The service has always been adequate. I took my friend in who loves to eat (is always hungry too) and she was impressed. So we managed to get in at least four visits to different ones over the summer with a view to keep going.
When I am looking for food... Ready to Eat - I find it hard to sit and eat in restaurants I rarely feel that I am happy with the food. So far Pret a Manger has a big thumbs up because I am picky about food yet they can always tempt me.
I did not begrudge the price of the items, I actually felt they were competitively priced. I can't recall exactly but I would remember if they were expensive!! I was in London and we bought a hot chocolate, cold drink and cookie from one place. A breakfast toastie to go from somewhere else and had coffee, cookies and a baguette at a another one. As stated I am extremely fussy about food so this was a good eating venture for me personally!
What they Serve
baguettes and wraps
Breakfast - egg bacon rolls
Hang on this sounds like every cafe/sandwich shop on the High Street?
Yes, but you need to see their food.. It looks real!
The combinations and menu items vary from the expected to the unexpected for example:
Free-Range Egg Mayo sandwich
Chicken, Mango & Watercress Bloomer
Italian Mozzarella & Pesto Toastie
As a high street restaurant/cafe/sandwich shop I think that they are doing a great job. They have a very comprehensive website where I learnt that they deliver (good for office parties and other occasions). You can get a break down of the contents of their food online, so if you are have allergies or are counting the calories etc you can check it out here. I am not a big 'foodie' so others may disagree. However I do like to feel that my food is healthy, so this works for me.
*** If you go into a Pret and the service is excellent and you want to do a kind deed then get the persons name - and email to Pret from their website and get the person acknowledged for their service.
I am definitely hoping to eat here again and would do so over the Big Red M place and the Colonel place any day - but that is just my preference;)
Giving Pret four stars as I need to explore their menu more to really rate their food products.
I have been to a few branches of Pret a Manger around London recently, including the one in St. Pancras station, in Richmond and near my law school in Waterloo.
=== Atmosphere and service===
The atmosphere of Pret a Manger is quite nice, usually with ample seating area. I was impressed by how many tables the St. Pancras store had as usually at a station I would expect to have to take my coffee away. The shops play music in the background at a decent level, which is relaxing but not intrusive and too in your face.
The staff are generally very friendly and I have never had any problems with them at all. You don't have to stand around waiting a long time for your drink, as you sometimes do in Starbucks. In Pret they make the coffees and hot drinks SO quickly, so they usually put them on your tray by the time I have paid by card and put my staff back into my handbag.
=== Drinks ===
I usually get a cappucino or latte when I go to Pret a Manger. They only have two sizes available and they don't serve the HUGE cups like Costa and Starbucks. This is fine by me and I am usually happy with their small one, which is a reasonable price (£1.99 for a small cappucino). Their coffee is not particularly outstanding or extraordinary but it is perfectly fine. It is basically just a decent coffee, as you would get at any of the chain cafes.
=== Food ===
The best thing about Pret a Manger in my opinion is definitely the food range and this is what makes Pret stand out ahead of its competitors in my opinion.
They have a very wide selection of lunch time foods including loads of sandwiches (in the normal triangular packet format) as well as wraps and baguettes. The fillings are varied, including vegetarian and meat options, and they have combinations which are healthy yet appealing such as the avocado salad wrap, humous and chunky salad, smoked salmon... They also have salads, a good selection of pastries including standard croissants, fancier sweet pastries and some savoury ones such as tomato and mozarella. In addition to the cold selections they have soups and for breakfast time they have hot porridge in generous sized pots with a choice of either honey or berry compote to go on the top. I tried their porridge pot for the first time yesterday and really enjoyed it. They market it as "proper" porridge and I agree that is what it is! Really handy if you want a good filling, healthy and enjoyable breakfast to set you up for the day and you are too short on time to make porridge yourself at home. The pot is easy to take away and eat on the train or even as you walk to work or uni.
The eat in prices are quite a bit higher than the take away prices, so that does put me off sitting in the cafe to eat, but they are not really more expensive than other similar cafes such as EAT, Costa, Starbucks and I think Pret's food range is definitely worth a look.
I try to take my own lunches and coffee in a flask when I go out for the day or to work, however there have been two occasions recently where I have been caught short by my rumbling belly!
I visited the Covent Garden branch of Pret the other day, and was quite surprised by it. The seating area was large and we sat down straight away and not even having to send one of our group over to save a seat which you must do in Starbucks or Costa.
The food on offer was a range of sandwiches, wraps and other food including sushi (looked amazing but too expensive) and large salads. I chose the cheapest sandwich which was egg and salad £1.99. I think thats quite a good price considering it was very tasty and the bread was healthy and filling. I also had a mocha which is my favourite coffee drink which cost £2.20 and was quite nice. It could have been a bit hotter though as I was able to drink it pretty much straight away.
The atmosphere was very loud and buzzing with a lot of tourists, we didnt queue for long and our coffees were made straight away which sometimes in other coffee shops you have to wait a bit longer. They had so many staff working that there was no real wait.
In Pret they claim to make all their food fresh everyday so they dont need a sell buy date. I hope they take some of the food home or give it to a charity as it is a real waste to throw it all away!
For 2 sandwiches and 2 coffees I paid just over £8 which is ok. I would much rather have made my own. However in Brighton a few days later I did venture into the Pret there and there was a different atmosphere with an outside seating section. Again I didnt have to wait long for my coffee here and the food was again very tasty.
If you are in town then this is another coffee chain that does nice food, however I would always try to support local coffee shops if they are good or just bring your own as its a lot cheaper!
I am a regular customer to Pret Nottingham and each time i go look forward to it as a treat on my lunch break. Pret always has a huge range of sandwiches, wraps(hot and cold),baguettes and salads on offer as well as warming soups, yummy croisants and other pastries. There is always a selection of fruit, breakfast bowls, cheesecakes, and cookies to name a few as well as crisps, nuts and even popcorn(a personal favourite!). The drink selection is great too. Not only do they serve delicious freshly ground coffee but also delicious smoothies (especially vitamin volcano) and other cold drinks.
The staff in pret are all hard working, friendly and super efficient. You can always guarrantee you will be served within a few minutes even if the shop is busy, which it usually is so dont be put off by the queues! The shop is always very clean and tidy and staff are always happy to help.
I would definitely advise any visitors to nottingham to eat here as you are guaranteed fresh good quality food (always prepared on the day!) and drinks at a good price in a cheerful vibrant environment!
Turn away now if you are expecting a proverbial sandwich list conveying 'odd' sounding concoctions for fillings. For example: 'Diced ham 1.5mm thin, slice Moroccan peach, and shavings of local blue cheese 8 months old.' Followed by a banal log stating whether the till staff were friendly enough, and gave you a sunny smile while purchasing, or were they just plain ordinary, heaven forbid. I'm refraining from stating whether the blasé outdoor seating arrangement adjacent to all "Pret" establishments, enable people to seat for several hours without discomfort, come snow, rain or shine. The temptation on whether "Pret" did or didn't have my favourite sandwich munch on a particular Wednesday lunch-time, won't be present here either. So what is left? Oh yes, my opinion, that's right, I nearly forgot to engage one.
Can I start with the word "Pret?" "Pret," and I will call it that word, because regular customers use it in normal language, as a form of 'restricted code' for the "prêt" habitants, in the 'know.' For the rest of us, it refers to the sandwich outlet. You may have noticed their coffee shop designed stage on the pavement, where 'people who do lunch,' who sit in spitting sleet, absorbed in their Blackberry, eating damp, 'sleeted on' sandwiches. Yes, the "Pret" does have an overhead cover but like all shop retail designers, forget that when rain descends, wind also accompanies raindrops; hence, making the flimsy, overhead cover as useless as holding up the 'Financial Times,' above the head, in a monsoon. These types love 'Pret a manger.'
'Pret a manger,' is for sandwich chains, as is 'Take That' is to boy bands.
Apart from sounding incredibly French, 'Pret' is in fact British, well its birth was in 1986 and in London; which doesn't make it that 'British.' Considering the cosmopolitan cultures that reside in the capital, London, is on paper the most obvious choice where a name like 'Pret a manger,' would exist. In the early days it was vital during Thatcherism's 'arm trading and being in the 'Yuppy' age, confidence was abundant amongst the disciples in the big smoke. 'Pret a manger,' is for sandwich chains, as is 'Take That' is to boy bands. Pioneering ships in a landscape of fickleness, mesmerised by the lifestyle it brings. That means small meals, at extortionate prices, which is great for your waste line; you can't afford an evening meal, simple. No science bit required. You will have to pinch yourself to believe the simplicity of the concept, nope, if you are having difficulty in finding an area to pinch, you maybe a long suffering 'Pret,' habitant; or just about to find you're calling.
The side effects of making a visit to 'Pret,' you inevitably leave just as hungry as you arrived. I knew I eat my sandwiches (2) because there were two residues left by the moist bread on the plate beside me. I flirted with the idea of extracting more coinage out of my deep backside pocket, for another offering, perhaps something more filling, a BLT, egg and bacon sandwich with garlic mayo, maybe. But the coinage left by a brown note was laughable. You even feel slightly embarrassed when sifting through disintegrated tissues looking for a derriere temperature two pound coin, it is so much better to waft a purple note in 'Pret.' Staff may even give you a smile, by waving a purple bit of paper for a good twenty seconds before they total up the bill. Watching the queue, most of the customers did only carry notes or credit cards; it could be a London code that didn't filter through my letter box. 'Payment via crisp note, or very lucrative credit card only, this must be part of the 'pret' culture. I'm not surprised due to who actually created this pioneering, clinical wine bar of sandwich chain.
Its fine I'm not going to divulge the life stories of these 'non French' UK nationals, nor even identify them by giving them a name. Though what is relevant to 'Pret,' is their love of New York and Paris décor and it emulates a patter that would make 'Advertising Agencies in London' weak at the knees to be part of. In one sweeping notion 'Pret,' is a combination of, Bauhaus, art deco, clean edge kitsch, which encases an 'Andy Warhol's New York apartment style.' The business embodies a busy, shuffling, social stage for professionals. Interiors are zinc stripped, expertly lined, and reminds me of a 'French' hypermarket conveyer-belt, all is missing is a sporadic selection of onions hanging off a cardboard 'Frenchman.'
Coinage burrowed deep into my pockets afraid of detection - in comparison, the notes danced into the tills.
After deciding not to opt for another round of sandwiches, having found a pathetic three pounds that could scrape a small coffee without any extra shots making the whole experience insipid. I just sat (inside) just, and chomped on bits clinging onto my mouth palate for dear life; like a Calais stowaway underneath a truck, destined to Dover. London's 'Pret' is a hive of activity; mainly ethnic minorities seem to work here with an intermediate level of English, on the same par as a standard maintenance worker. It will be a different story when 'Pret' has to pay a higher NI for these ethnic minorities, eventually - they may consider the good old fashion British folk after that introduction. Then again, 'Pret' is notably cosmopolitan, even though they're not overseas much and the owners are ex-property buffoons, no doubt lounging about 'Tiffanys' in New York, sampling menus, kidding themselves its market research.
Gazing at the etiolated lettering 'Pret a Manger,' font names 'Parisian,' 'old Orleans,' are my calculated guesses I can't decipher which, is which though. The stars in the logo are an Americanism, almost a liberating symbol of acceptance of every nation, apart from British it seems. Maybe I'm out of turn, but 'Pret' is not recognisably British. The only thing British is the 'egg and bacon sandwich wraps.' The Japanese have their sushi and salad. American cuisine is sampled with a numerous selection of 'Brownies' and 'Muffins,' - European fruits imported from hotter climates sit slightly dry looking at rather over inflated prices. The Wifi coverage is classed as excellent, regardless what my mobile phone receptors state. 'Pret' has it covered.
Living on a 'Pret.'
'Pret' is for people who live out of their laptop and wireless devices, its evident they've no office, or choose to not have a head quarters. Morning starts off with a 'latte' in Starbucks, and then for a change of scenery, or office chair, nip across the street for another extortionate beverage and light snack, plus complementary fruit dish, which has seen better days. Here, there is a clique in the air, people actually know each other. This is their life, before ambling off to their plush Docklands retro cabin, greeted by anxious cat wondering if 'Pret' sushi was on the menu. 'Pret' proudly state like 'Zizzis' they prepare food in-house, and only use top quality ingredients. I can vouch it was a treat, though one I will probably do on my birthday, or if England win the World Cup.
I suppose like everything in business there is always a grotesque partner that compliments the chic finesse of 'Pret,' and they've got one with McDonalds. Yes, the 'Big Mac' has a 33% stake in 'Pret.' Surprisingly, the unlikely deal took place during a time of prosperity after fifteen years of trading - since the cash injection a new lease of life allowed for more employee autonomy and flexibility, allowing more executive decisions being made from the ground level, a very refreshing concept, in a world of massive egos and board-room fiascos. About time, 'Pret' flew up North and dished up some sushi there, now that'll be a bigger test. Modernity has just about reached up to Sheffield, but hold back on the 'zinc panels' and 'art deco.' They'll think Peter Stringfellow is in town.
Thank you for reading
Pret A Manger is a chain of coffee shops in the UK. Most big towns and cities have at least one of these outlets, if not more than one. The shops offer a variety of hot and cold drinks, salads, sandwiches, hot wraps, sweet and savoury pastries and soups, as well as a small selection of puddings, crisps and fruit.
Some Pret shops have an inside seating area, whilst some, I believe are take-away only. In good weather, some of the shops also offer an outside seating area.
What I like most about Pret is that, in comparison with other similar shops, such as Starbucks or Cafe Nero, Pret seems to offer a much greater range of savoury food choices. A couple of times when I've been out shopping with friends and stopped for a quick lunch in Starbucks, I've been disappointed to find that they have only had a few different sandwiches to choose from. However, with Pret I've never been disappointed as their range is so wide I've always been able to find something to suit my fancy. Pret claim that they create "handmade natural food avoiding the obscure chemical, additives and preservatives common to so much of the 'prepared' and 'fast' food on the market today." I like the idea of this, and whilst I certainly haven't tried all of the foods products they offer, those that I have tried have been well made and tasted really fresh.
I've also always found Pret shops to be very clean, and the waiting time for hot drinks has always been short, even when the shop's been very busy.
The only reason I haven't given this shop 5 stars, is that it can be a little expensive. For example, a 250ml bottle of apple juice costs £1.50. Although, I suppose you're paying a premium for the fact that the food is freshly prepared daily with good quality ingredients. There are probably cheaper places where you could get a quick bite to eat, but I've never been disappointed by a visit to Pret, and so for me, as an occasional treat, I don't mind paying a little bit extra.
My only other minor gripe with Pret is that they don't sell any iced coffees, which I was disappointed about today, as I could have really fancied one, but they do have plenty of other drinks to choose from, so it's not a big problem.
~*~* Pret a Manger - an introduction *~*~
Pret a Manger (literally 'ready to eat') was founded in the UK in 1986. There are now around 200 shops in the UK (with most based in London), but the chain has expanded to New York, Washington DC and Hong Kong.
If you live or work in London, it sometimes feels like you can't get away from Pret - they are often based quite close to each other and seem to have a 'high concentration' tactic of operation (much like Starbucks).
All Pret stores have a distinctive style - with red stars and simple font and shiny silver interiors and warmly lit stores. The shops also vary in size - with smaller, City stores that hold a couple of chiller cabinets and just enough room to grab a sandwich, pay and squeeze back out, to larger stores with dedicated comfortable seating areas for dining in.
~*~* Pret's 'Passion for Food' *~*~
Pret proclaims in all of its marketing posters and publications that it has a 'passion for food'. It claims that all products are made from natural ingredients with as little use of preservatives and additives as possible to allow consumers to enjoy food in its most natural state.
One thing in favour of Pret is that it does offer a significant amount of nutritional information on its food products on its website (http://www.pret.com/) which details which products are gluten-free, suitable for vegetarians etc and calorie/nutritional information.
Another thing that Pret have become famous for is that all its sandwiches are made freshly either at that store's premises (or another store and driven/wheeled over on a mini delivery trolley) and sold on that day. Any unsold items are distributed to local charities that provide food to the homeless, which is a pretty positive action for a chain.
All Pret food is has minimal packaging, with sandwiches and salads packed in card or paperboard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging.
~*~* Soups *~*~
Pret offer, every day, a choice of at least two different soups (one being a vegetarian option) as well as miso soup which is an every day staple, taken from a menu of eleven seasonal soups. Many of the larger stores will also offer an additional 'soup of the week', available every day for seven days.
The soups are my favourite reason for visiting Pret - I love their chicken and mushroom, spinach and nutmeg and miso soups which are absolutely scrummy. They are also reasonably priced (for takeaway, ready made soup) at £2.99 per portion and are made with no colourings, stabilisers or additives. As with the hot drinks, Pret only serve a 'one size' portion of soup.
~*~* Sandwiches, wraps*~*~
There is a huge variety of sandwiches on offer at Pret - with fish, vegetarian and meat options available. Sandwiches can be bought in sliced bread, baguette, half-baguette and wraps also. Catering for smaller appetites (or those watching their weight, as the sandwiches can be quite calorie-laden!), Pret also produce some of their most popular sandwiches (such as the BLT) in a 'single' sandwich pack (holding the equivalent of one slice of bread with filling).
The sandwich fillings are great - from 'all day breakfast', BLT, chicken and (my favourite) prosciutto, cheese and basil - but can often be a little soggy due to the huge amount of filling in each. In addition, due to sitting in chiller cabinets once made, they can be a little on the cold side when you munch into them.
~*~* Salads and sushi *~*~
Other than the soups, my other favourite offerings from Pret are their salads and sushi. Salads include fully vegetarian, fish (such as tuna nicoise or salmon) and meat options (such as Italian chicken). The salads are sold in a rectangular cardboard box, priced at around £4.99 each, and are generously filled with salad leaves and other fillings and a separate dressing pot (useful if you're on a diet!).
The sushi is also of good quality - with smaller portions (containing around 4 pieces) of salmon or vegetarian sushi or a larger, 'deluxe' portion with prawn and sushi pieces, each accompanied by a soy sauce container, thinly sliced ginger and murky green wasabi. The sushi costs around £2.99 - £4.99 and is really well constructed and tasty.
~*~* Other nibbles *~*~
As well as savoury items, Pret also offers a variety of pastries, muffins and have branched into breakfast items (such as porridge and breakfast sandwiches). In addition, they also make a variety of desserts, fruit salad cups and cake portions. Near the counter of every shop, they stock a range of crisps (which of excellent quality - really crunchy and thick!), brownies and chocolates for impulse purchases).
One gripe I have with Pret is that their fresh fruit pieces (such as a banana or apple) are often incredibly unripe and relatively expensive (at around 70p per item). I wouldn't recommend buying fresh fruit from here if you can help it.
~*~* Drinks - hot and cold *~*~
Pret sells a variety of drinks - from cold water, juices, Pret smoothies and branded Coca Cola - to hot drinks including teas and coffees. All hot drinks, if chosen, are made with organic milk. I particularly like Pret coffee (which is gorgeously smooth, strong but with no bitterness) and hot chocolate - sweet, creamy and really delicious! Pret only serves one size of hot drink (so you cannot choose a large, medium or small) but the standard cup - which is equivalent to a good mug-full - is just the right size for me.
Pret's cold drinks can be very expensive (a can of coke being more in the region of £1 than the usual 60p or so from the supermarket) but hot drinks are comparative to Cafe Nero or Costa prices for a regular size.
~*~* Eating in at Pret *~*~
All Pret stores allow you to take away your purchases, providing you with a small paper bag or plastic bag for your food with free disposable plastic cutlery and napkins available. Some larger stores have seating areas, comprised of small tables with a couple of chairs or sofas, allowing you to eat your food in. If eating in, rather than carrying your food in a paper bag, staff will provide you with a small silver tray on which to place your food and drink to carry to a table.
~*~* Staff and service *~*~
I have always found the staff at Pret to be very friendly, professional and provide 'service with a smile'. I have never had an order messed up and they deal with orders promptly. The pace of service at Pret is pretty fast and furious - there are often a minimum of three cashiers serving customers and more staff behind making up hot drinks and soups, as the queues in Pret can be huge sometimes, so speed of service of is the essence. However, regardless of how busy the stores are, I have never had to wait more than a minute to be served.
Pret stores also accept cards and 'touch' Barclaycard payment options, so you needn't worry about only having cash on you (as with some smaller, boutique delis and cafes).
~*~* The verdict *~*~
I do like Pret - every store offers variety in its sandwiches, salads and soups for whatever mood you're in. Although the food can be a little on the expensive side (not a surprise given its central locations, often near offices and work areas for speedy lunches and its 'ready to eat' concept), it is of high quality and offers a satisfying selection of savoury and sweet items.
It would be good if the hot drinks were offered in a variety of sizes (although the standard is usually perfect for me, sometimes I fancy a huge coffee before work!) and I think some items are just too expensive, such as the fresh fruit or fruit salad pots. Other than being on the slightly expensive side, Pret is a really convenient option for lunch or anytime.
Pret A Manger
What is it?
A coffee shop bar.
Offers premium quality hot drinks and food, specialises in high quality coffees, they claim to have 'just roasted' coffee beans delivered to them everyday and throws them out after a couple of weeks. They also make their own sandwiches and wraps, so there is never a 'sell-by' or 'use-by' date on them as the food is all made on the day and thrown out by tomorrow.
What do I think?
I have always felt that there are too many of these premium standard coffee shops and they all seem the same now, as to Costa, Café Nero and Starbucks etc. and to be honest before going into Pret A manger, I already presumed it would be the same thing - over priced tasteless food with all the luxurious packaging to fool you until you've bought it and then open it with disappointment in the office...well, I often get that anyway...
However, I am quite surprised to say that perhaps Pret A Manger is a little bit different.
I walked in one day as it was the only and nearest place around. I managaed to grab a hot wrap and a coffee. It all came to just over a £5. Ok, it's reasonable at 'this sort' of place... Opening the wrap in my office, it was still piping hot, and the wrap tasted very fresh, as if it had just been made 5 minutes ago. The wrap was also quite big and had I bought anything else I would have been able to eat it as it enough just to have the wrap on its own, and I'm actually a person that usually eats large portions. This was £3.89, so I was impressed. With the coffee, I loved the coffee, it was just an ordinary espresso but if I had had more time I would have liked to drink it slowly, just to savour it a bit more. I think I know why they make the effort to get the 'just roasted' beans in now. It really does make a difference.
No wonder the place was packed when I went in. Will definitely be in there more often from now on. :)
Thanks for reading.
This place really is great and the selection is huge. You will spend longer selecting than you will queuing as there are always tons of staff which is another big plus.
Pret offers hot and cold drinks, sandwiches (all freshly made), baguettes, wraps, hot and cold pastries, cakes, biscuits, crisps, fruit, yoghurts, cereals, and cereal bars-these are just things I have noticed so I'm sure I've missed out loads.
The coffee isn't the greatest but it's not bad and prices start from about £1.50 but the cold drinks are quite expensive (a can of coke for instance is 90p) so I usually only go here for lunch.
You can get a sandwich from the vast options available starting from around the £2.00 mark to about £3.99 and they are really nice, lots of filling and best of all fresh.
If you fancy something quick for brekkie, I'd suggest giving the Cherry cereal pot a try. It's fresh yougurt with a thick juicy morello cherry base and it's topped with nut and oat clusters and honey. The pot is quite big and filling and costs £1.80. It's also nice as a dessert or snack so doesn't have to be breakfast! It's also available in Berry flavour.
My local Pret in Victoria is always ridiculously busy at lunch times but I have never had to wait longer than 5 minutes to get served. Some branches (like the one at Victoria) have an express queue for people not wanting hot drinks which make the queue even shorter but even branches without this service seem to handle queues very quickly so never be put off by crowds!
Pret A Manger is one of the most popular food and drink cafes/restaurants in central London and so many people use it every day before and during work.
Pret sell food items for breakfast and lunch as well as both hot and cold drinks. In the morning for breakfast you can buy food such as croissants, toast, muffins and bagels with spreads. I think this is the time that most people go to Pret, on their way to work or just before getting in to work for the breakfast that they didn't have time to make at home or just for that much needed caffeine shot every morning. For lunch they sell food including sandwiches, salads, pastas and wraps which all make a perfect light lunch during the day. They also sell snack items such as cakes, chocolate, biscuits, fruit, crisps, etc., so there will always be something to tempt you either in the morning or at lunch time.
They sell all the usual types of drinks from hot drinks - coffee, tea, hot chocolate - to cold drinks - water, flavoured water, fruit juices, smoothies and soft drinks. Their hot drinks are probably what they're best at as this is what most people go in here for every morning before work.
I sometimes fancy a hot drink before work or sometimes when I'm just walking by a store and on the odd occasion I've also got breakfast from here when I've got up late and haven't had time at home. I always get a warm croissant from here as they're really delicious. Just the plain butter ones are lovely - even though they're plain they're actually full of a sweet buttery flavour and the pasty is really soft inside and crumbly on the outside.
Pret make a great hot chocolate, which is my preferred hot drink, and they're much nicer tasting than other similar food places such as Starbucks, where I don't like the hot chocolate at all. They also have a huge range of different types of coffee including latte, mocha and cappuccino.
Their food and drink is all made from natural ingredients but just the smell of the place when you walk past is enough to tempt you in regardless.
The stores are always really busy every day in central London but the staff know that customers are in a hurry and so the service is always really speedy and excellent too.
If I ever fancy a hot drink or need some breakfast in the morning, Pret A Manger is the first place that I would go to as they sell some delicious food and do an amazing hot chocolate.
This sandwich shop and cafe chain are growing in popularity by the minute and it seems that no city left without at least one of these cafes in it. It is lucky for us therefore, that this brand is in my opinion one of the best around. In terms of coffee, I am particularly impressed as it nmot only has a great, balanced taste and scent, but you can aslo buy a filter coffee to have inside the cafe or take away for just 99p. Anyone who regularly buys coffee on the go will know that this is great value. The food here is also of excellent quality due to the companies firm stance on using fresh ingredients and preparing the food on site. However, one small issue is that their food (such as sandwiches) tend to be high in fat and although they are working on a range of healthier foods, I would advise you to see their food as more of a occasional treat that an everyday option.
Although I tend to prepare my own sandwich in the morning, some time I feel particularly hungry during the day when I work in the office. I also fancy from time to time a good croissant. These are all situations when I may pop down to my nearest "Pret".
Pret a manger is a French expression which translates into "ready to eat". It is also the name of a chain of shops (more than 160 at the last count) mainly in UK, which stem from the original and first shop opened not too far ago in 1986.
At least the ones near the place where I work, in the City of London, are opened Monday to Friday. They open between 6 and 6.30 and tend to be very busy in the morning, in the afternoon, once lunch time is passed, they do not get too much trade. Although they also do hot drinks, I think they suffer from direct competitors like Starbucks for example.
As I said earlier, I may pop in at Pret for a croissant (currently at 1.25) or sandwiches. Sandwiches are freshly made on the same day they are sold and anyleft are given to staff and to charities.
A baguette may cost you in the region of 3.50 Pounds. There is a wide choice of selections on offer. I like those with fresh salmon, for example.
Service is extremely fast and efficient. There is always a kind of vibe and buzz, with staff shouting orders to the guy preparing the hot drinks.Added to the fact that pretty much all the staff is from Europe and has got an accent, it makes ordering at Pret a Manger quite a funky moment!
Overall a good company and a reliable one too
Pret A Manger, commonly referred to as just Pret, is a highstreet café serving food & drinks, and is known to be a more upmarket, better quality place to enjoy some refreshment. I've been a few times to Pret, though I would go more if there was one in the cities I tend to go.
'Pret A Manger' actually means 'ready to eat' and it was first founded in 1986 in London by two friends. They've created a chain of over 160 stores in the UK, including stores in America & Hong Kong. The aim was to introduce a more ethical and healthier place to grab a bite to eat or something to drink. It has therefore managed to create a niche for itself and is easily recognisable, so you also know what to expect.
Pret prides itself on fresh food and ethics. For example, sandwiches are freshly made each morning and those left unsold at the end of the day are given to charities for the homeless. In addition, they tend to favour cardboard over plastics, so they're doing their bit to be green too. This can only be a good thing in my opinion.
The use of natural foods means they avoid 'obscure chemical, additives and preservatives common to so much of the 'prepared' and 'fast food' on the market today'. Again, this another positive point in favour of prêt. There's so much talk lately about what goes into our food and that we're unaware of the 'hidden dangers', so fresh food without the junk is good to hear.
As per the website, you'll notice a lack of 'factory' stuff on the menu, because most is prepared from scratch in the mornings. The menu is still quite varied, so it should cater to most people & tastes. The options include a range of 'just made products':
For example, 'just made' sandwiches, baguettes, soups, hot wraps & salads with a range of fillings
Treats, such as cakes, croissants, cakes, cheesecake, fruit pots
Drinks like coffee, tea and hot chocolate. I can vouch for the yumminess of their hot chocolate - delicious!
You will find more details of their ethics & views on nutrition, including the menu, nutritional information and recipes on their website. You can also search for your nearest Pret on there, which is useful because it seems most Prets are in London. That said, there are some peppered around bigger cities, like London and Cardiff. Whilst they may not be as popular or as easy to come by as larger 'fast food' or café chains, they do seem to be expanding.
The prices in prêt are probably average for this type of outlet. Whilst you wont be particularly shocked at the cheapness of the food/drinks, they don't appear to be extortionate either. If I were to compare it to other similar outlets, I'd rather spend the same price in Pret for food that's good quality, healthier and fresher. That said, I wouldn't go here frequently to pay that much for basic food/drink, and being a fairly fussy eater, I would prefer a slightly larger range of food to choose from.
You do have the option of getting a Pret card, which works in a similar way to the starbucks card, though this unfortunately means they don't offer a loyalty card (such as buy 10 get the next free). Or at least they don't to my knowledge.
The outlets in general seem to be clean and tidy, and a good place to enjoy a cuppa or a snack. That said, I've also noticed most I've been to have been relatively small, so don't expect a great deal of space or quietness, or a toilet for that matter.
The service is quick & efficient, and I always feel like I've been treated well by the staff. The only downsides of the outlets in general would probably be the lack of stores in my area and their size. As for whether I would recommend going to Pret, I would definitely say to try it if you haven't already, but it's not somewhere I would go too frequently because of the price mainly.
A good place for fresher, healthier & more ethical food/drinks :o)
(Also written by me, gothic_moon, on Ciao)