What Does Pret A Manger Mean? Is It Upmarket?

Discussion in 'Offtopic Chat' started by dan5, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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    So, Pret maybe coming to Ipswich and might be at the Grimwades building on the corner of the Cornhill.

    Excuse the romanised version using only the Latin alphabet characters.

    What does Pret a Manger mean?

    Pret a Manger is french for "ready to eat". The story goes it was inspired by a clothing brand called Pret a Porter ("ready to wear").

    Pret is also Romanian for "price". If we can trust Google Translate... "hosts" in Albanian, "fun" in Afrikaans and Dutch, "rod" in Polish and "turd" in Turkish.

    It doesn't mean punch a manager or "away in a manger".

    Is it upmarket?

    No, it is just a mass-market competitor to Greggs.
     

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  3. OP
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    dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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    Apart from Ipswich Maritime Festival related queries which are the highest amount of traffic we get from Google, Pret articles are next, with this being the most popular Pret a Manger article found. Took 5 minute to type out, well worth the extra traffic - and for those who didn't know, hope the information was useful for you.
     
  4. martinc

    martincFounder Member

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    953
    yeah, i don't get how they are anything other than just another sandwich and coffee shop. As you say, they are everywhere in London, I'm sure I've used them there, but the "up market" experience must have passed me by as don't recall any difference to anywhere else. If you want a very nice sandwich and drink on the Cornhill then pop into the cafe in the town hall, under used, poorly advertised, but food always freshly prepared for you, decent value, tasty, and in a great setting.... Last time we went in on a day when everywhere else in the town was rammed at lunch time with people there was us and perhaps two other couples at most... very nice, I like to keep it secret...
     
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      The most upmarket place in Ipswich... isn't Salthouse Harbour Hotel cafe/restaurant or whatever, it is probably Patisserie Valerie (and no I am not saying that is remotely upmarket either... shortly followed by Arlingtons who have a major brand image issue but a nice location/building) On balance, I have had a "flavoured" coffee from Pret before and for chain coffee it was actually quite good. Chelmsford I think. (On balance, I don't usually take sugar in my coffee... always better with sugar in it but if it doesn't taste too good without sugar it isn't worth the price! :D )

      So many Prets in London (the name is so bad people abbreviate it including myself - having a brand around a solid translation is good when it works... I believe even the company abbreviates itself to get in with the younger audience. "ready to eat" underlines the brand concept but doesn't work. No wonder they use pret.com so I assume everything is branded "Ready")... I have unfortunately had to go there a couple of times over the years. It is junk food basically like Greggs. You buy the rubbish because you are hungry and they have a decent location (i.e. convenience) There is no positive experience to be gained.
      pret.jpg
      Yes, Pret... and upmarket featuring a star!?... reminds me too much of low-class american diners..."yay! Let's award ourselves a star..." Lazy branding. They of course aren't aiming so mass market as Greggs... but some people are sold on french and italian translations of words, many people going to Pret probably have no idea and just go because they know friends who do, and that is "cool". Talking about Greggs and their 4 squares... I went to Middlesbrough earlier in the year and they have a competitor brand (not sure if it is a small upcoming chain or an indie) with four circles in a similar style.

      Town Hall? Controversial mentioning that. For a previous business, I went through an difficult tender process to get an opportunity to setup a cafe at that location. Pure genius ( or I thought it was at least ) but they had already decided to give it to Realise Futures due to their other interests in the town and I also think as they were a non-profit (as were getting rid of the pop-up coffee shop)... they really used Snobs Coffee to prove the concept. Was really bad how they were treated.

      They started the recreate digital programme in the town, so the concept was a coffee shop/tearoom people could relax but the raised gallery portion behind the wall (on the left as you go in from the Cornhill) would have had a row of 4-5 computers (that can be moved out for the times they need it back as a gallery) acting like an internet cafe... main competitor was the library who offer free usage but back then the computers were very old, slow and the internet wasn't much quicker. These would have been more aimed at freelance workers in the creative industry with brand new machines...

      Part of my demands at the time was permission for a coffee kiosk on the Cornhill... a great location to sell coffee (i.e. including when the market wasn't on as a meeting place) some tables and chairs to go with it. There was also the problem with Town Hall closed on Mondays and the kitchen area nowhere near (slight exaggeration) the room... you had to sell food and my team of 3 people researched Suffolk foods to include.

      So in a nutshell... a mix between an upmarket bistro-like establishment (guess you could say Arlingtons ) and locally sourced produce of high quality (erm... Suffolk Food Hall) with a small internet cafe for the growing digital tech economy... and a generic outdoor coffee kiosk selling coffee. No money to be made indoors (it is strange how quiet it is when the town is busy just 50 metres away) hence the need for the outdoor part. Quite a shame, we went to town on the plans... coffee cups were to be sourced from aliexpress custom printed, supplier for barista training of latte art and we even were planning "design our cups" competitions once a year. The council turned it down, very critical... completely hated it. They just wanted an income (Realise Futures a safe pair of hands and a SCC spin off) and not wanted anyone to visit the town hall (was never going to be high volume, after a year or so Realise Futures stopped operating there)...

      All this time unhappy about the Cornhill Redevelopment... I forgot about the idea of selling coffee outside there (which realistically was never going to be allowed by the council even if paid a market stall rent). Come to think of it, at the time they were anticipating changes to the Cornhill which was their excuse. I might reveal the documents once I know it is impossible for anyone to steal them as no space to sell coffee. :D The person I had a meeting with went on leaving the council and runs about 10 of the "alcoholic festivals" in the town.
       
    • martinc

      martincFounder Member

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      it was a decent place when "realise futures" ran it as well, I was so surprised when they appeared to be booted out. I have no idea how the current people, (who ever they are) make any money from it. With the town hall doors closed as they were last time we went, and very poor signage outside no one is going to go in... But still preferable over anything you will get in Pret, Greggs, Nero, Costa, etc etc etc...
       
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      dan5

      dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

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      Well, Realise Futures has a big turnover, effectively making money out of disabled people. It is a newish organisation that is pretty bloated. A lot of money falling into a few peoples hands.

      Were they booted out? I was surprised how they were replaced without warning (to the public). I think a sole trader took over (as opposed to an organisation)... I wasn't looking at the time the change happened. Not sure if they tendered it out. That time they got rid of Snobs Coffee which was appalling, there was no press I remember of when Realise Futures left.

      It made no sense whatsoever for RF to take it. They already have a seemingly successful cafe in the town (St Lawrence Centre). I suppose they were competing with themselves. I will see if I can dig out the details but I can tell you anyone would struggle to stay afloat with the town hall cafe/tearoom/coffee shop. Break even is a worry if you are working by yourself or got volunteers... if you were to employ someone... impossible.

      A great setting indeed. The borough (you can expect it to a certain degree although their attitude to Waitrose as part of the Corn Exchange is completely different) likes to be in control beyond any reasonable commercial lease terms. You weren't able to freely set your prices as one example. It has to be agreed with the council... what anywhere else would do is have a 3/6 month break clause in the lease and the landlord would use it if they felt such pricing policy would stick their property's reputation into disrepute (i.e. potentially make it difficult in the future to lease out or sell). At railway stations it is different, you pay a rent plus a percentage of turnover. The council could have operated this model.

      I assume realising it has no commercial viability... what the council did was find a caterer to take care of it and in effect the council pays him a salary from the income to run it but call the shots... which they probably should have done to begin with.

      Funny enough talking in depth in the past about "A-board spam"... the council was strongly against an A-board to signpost people to my proposed town hall cafe... I have seen some silly tables and chairs out the front and even an A-board (chalk if that makes a difference) before. I don't know what the council is playing at... Waitrose has a very strong branding around the corner. Arguably a different building but still significant building. They were also against replacing the white stencil vinyl on the windows (not an original feature) with colour vinyl for half height... such as relevant photos plus one non-branded for the cafe.

      Despite the great setting, if they cannot properly utilise it they should use the space for something else. I am annoyed they want another cafe in the old post office building... (which will also be a great setting but other uses should be found.)
       

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