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Pret A Manger: What makes this UK-based chain so special?


This week, Canadian fast-food chain A&W announced that it would bring British counter-service chain Pret A Manger to Canada.

The two-year deal will serve as a trial run for potential future expansion of Pret A Manger across the country. For now, Pret’s food and coffee will be available at select A&W restaurants, starting with one in Vancouver.

The news is exciting for many people already familiar with the Pret brand, which operates in the US, UK, Hong Kong, France, Dubai, Swiss, Brussels, Singapore, and Germany.

So why are people excited that Pret A Manger is finally coming to Canada?

The brand opened as a cafe in London in 1986 with a mission to “serve freshly prepared food and great organic coffee, while trying to do the right thing”, according to its website.

Any unsold food left behind at the end of the day is donated to local food “relief partners,” which is a big step forward in both minimizing food waste while helping to serve the communities in which it operates.

Pret A Manger serves up quick-to-go cafe food like sandwiches, wraps, breakfast pastries, salads, cereal bowls, and other baked treats and snacks. It also serves organic coffee and espresso drinks for a quick caffeine fix.

What’s great about Pret A Manger isn’t necessarily the food itself – most of the food is relatively standard cafe food – but rather the fact that it’s both quick and convenient while offering a range of options.

Other comparable mega-chains, such as Starbucks, offer similar offerings but with much less variety.

Some of Pret’s classics include a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette, a balsamic chicken and avocado sandwich, and an egg and bacon bun. The cafe also offers vegan options, like the bowl of curried cauliflower and chickpea beans and a salad bowl of Mediterranean mezze.

The menu also includes warmer meals, such as a variety of soups and mac and cheese, for cold winter days when the last thing you want for lunch is a salad.

You can also grab croissants, cookies, brownies, muffins or other sweet treats for that afternoon sugar rush or to satisfy a nagging craving.

In addition to downtown areas and busy city streets, Pret A Manger locations are often found in transit hubs, making them a favorite for busy travelers and commuters.

Rather than its amazing food – for the most part the food is just ok and certainly nothing to write home about – it’s the level of convenience and wide range of offerings that makes Pret A Manger such a popular place for so many. .

The novelty of an overseas channel coming to Canada is always bound to generate some excitement, too.

A&W has yet to announce which Vancouver site will pilot the Pret trial, but said it will begin this summer.