Pret a Manger is planning to expand beyond city centres as branches in regional towns are “busier than they have ever been”.
The coffee shop chain could boost its presence in towns and travel hubs as the company grapples with the impact of the Covid pandemic.
Pret has been hit hard by lockdowns and the move to homeworking, with fewer tourists, shoppers and commuters heading into city centres where many of its outlets are based.
The company is now looking at opening around 100 franchised shops across the country and expanding its presence across the UK.
According to The Sunday Times, the chain is looking at setting up more shops outside London, including drive-thru stores and on high streets.
It has split the UK into regions, each with a dedicated franchise partner.
Pret is also looking at opening around 100 of its own shops over the next few years.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen there’s a real demand from customers in different parts of the country for our freshly prepared food and organic coffee,” a spokesperson for Pret said.
“In some areas, such as regional towns and parts of northern England, our shops are busier than they have ever been.”
They added: “We’re looking to establish new partnerships with franchise partners to bring Pret to more people in towns and travel hubs across the UK, and we’re also looking at where we can open more shops which we run directly.”
Pret shut 74 locations in the UK last year and issued temporary pay cuts in the pandemic.
Last week, the chain decided to reinstate a type of staff bonus that had been removed amid backlash, but has so far refused to reverse the decision to stop paying workers during breaks.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies