Pret A Manger has opened the doors to its third vegetarian-only shop this morning (pictured); its first to be built exclusively as a Veggie Pret, and not as a conversion from an existing Pret shop.
The new shop, located at 21 Exmouth Market, welcomed a queue of 500 customers yesterday for a special preview and tasting of the new menu, including its Vegan Ragu & Red Pepper Hot Wrap, and a Sweet Potato, Coconut & Cashew Flatbread.
Alongside the new food menu, all three Veggie Pret shops (Soho, Shoreditch and Exmouth Market) will encourage customers to hydrate for free from their filtered water stations.
From today, the shops will sell two sizes of reusable glass bottles for £3.99 (250ml) and £4.99 (500ml), displayed next to the bottled water, giving customers the choice to refill a bottle rather than buying a new plastic one each time.
The filtered water stations and reusable bottles will also be available in Pret’s Manchester shops from 31 October as part of a trial to see if they help to encourage customers to switch from single-use plastic water bottles.
Pret’s CEO, Clive Schlee, has blogged this morning about the issue of single-use packaging, and has asked customers for their views on reusable bottles. He wrote, “Pret has always tried to lead on food waste [and] we are making inroads on the problem of packaging waste by reducing where we can and making more of it recyclable.
“Plastic bottles present a real challenge and there are two schools of thought within Pret. The passionate environmentalists say stop selling them altogether, while the pragmatists say make it as easy as you can for customers to use fewer plastic bottles. We are looking carefully at both options.”
In addition to the reusable water bottles, Pret’s national 25p discount will be offered on any barista-prepared hot drink when a customer brings in their own reusable cup for it to be served in.
The new Exmouth Market shop also features Pret’s first ever hydroponic system, allowing its chefs to grow and pick their own fresh herbs as they need. The team will begin by growing the basil they use in recipes including the Halloumi, Red Pepper & Basil Toastie and Avo, Olive & Toms Baguette.
Pret’s Brand Director, Caroline Cromar, explained, “It may look a bit ‘out there’, but we’re hoping the hydroponic system in our new Veggie Pret shop will give our kitchen team instant access to fresh and flavoursome herbs.
“The herbs grow in a perfectly controlled environment, free from pesticides, and use less water than conventional growing techniques. We’re keen to test this approach to in-shop growing to see if it could be beneficial to more of our shops in the future.”