For £20 a month you can get five drinks a day.
With people still working from home and offices closed or half full, places like Pret a Manger has been struggling to get customers through the doors. Jobs have been cut and stores closed.
So the marketing people there have come up with something pretty innovative – a subscription service called YourPret Barista. For a monthly fee of £20 you can (pretty much) get all the coffees or hot drinks you’ll need.
I’m not a coffee drinker but if you are this could be great value for money – if you drink enough. And if people do this I can see this season ticket model being used elsewhere. You’ll save cash and the business has some guaranteed money coming in.
Here’s what you need to know, plus the amount you’ll need to drink each month before you start saving money.
How the YourPret subscription works
Once you’ve signed up via the Pret website – and entered your payment details – you’ll be emailed a voucher for the month. This voucher will have a QR code which will be scanned at the till so you don’t have to hand over any cash.
The scheme isn’t unlimited, but it may as well be as you’ll be able to order up to five hot drinks each day of the month. That should hopefully be more than enough for most people!
The other key restriction to be aware of is you can only order a new drink every 30 minutes – stopping you using one subscription to get drinks for you and a friend at the same time.
The only Pret you can’t use it is the South Mimms service station.
What you can order
First of all, it’s just for drinks, so you can’t get any food as part of the subscription.
As long as it’s a drink prepared by a barista you will be able to order it, with just a handful of exceptions.
So you can get coffee, tea, hot chocolate, iced coffees, frappes and smoothies. Non-dairy milks and syrups are included too.
You can’t get a handful of smoothies (Cocoa, Almond Butter & Banana Smoothie, Raspberry, Mango & Ginger Smoothie, and Avocado, Mango and Ginger Smoothie) or any drinks from the fridge such as water or coke.
Cost and cancellation
It’s £20 a month, with the first month free. A month is set by the date, so if you sign up on the 10th September, your next month begins on the 10th October and so on.
You’ll be charged for the next month on the last day of the current month, so in the example above 9th October.
But there’s no minimum subscription term, so you can cancel at any time. You’ll get the full month regardless when you cancel so it makes sense to not leave it late – just in case you forget.
Is YourPret value for money?
Prices at different cafes vary, so for these calculations I’ve had a look at the prices for drinks via Deliveroo in Central London.
Most coffees cost £2.50, teas £1.85, iced drinks £2.85 and smoothies £3.35.
Let’s assume you only drink coffee. To cover that £20 a month cost you’ll need to order eight coffees a month, so roughly two a week. Any more than this and you’ll be saving money.
If you’re a tea drinker then you’ll need to order 11 teas a month to start saving money. But you’ll only need six smoothies to break even.
if you are back in the office and can order a single £2.50 coffee every weekday, you’ll have roughly 22 coffees a month, meaning you’ll essentially get 14 free coffees and save £35.
Over a year, taking into account annual leave, sick leave and bank holidays (so roughly 220 days), you’d potentially save £330 in the first year (11 months paid, one month free).
Should you sign up?
If you are someone who drinks at least those minimums mentioned above, and someone who can or will at do that at a Pret, then it seems like a really good deal.
And of course the more you normally drink, the more you’ll save. But, it does come with some downsides.
Like with cinema memberships, to get this value you’d have to stick to just one chain, at least to the point where you’d breakeven. This won’t always be possible or convenient. And doing this could be at the expense of your local independent cafe. You’ll have to make the call
You might also be tempted to buy pastries or sarnies at Pret that you wouldn’t normally get, so bear that in mind.
Plus, as tasty as a hot brew might be and as much as the drinks are “free” past those breakeven numbers, it doesn’t mean you should go overboard. Too much caffine and sugar isn’t good for you.
Still, with the first month free you may as well give it a go and see whether it works for you.