Gina Vaynshteyn
April 21, 2015 6:16 pm

Forget rewards programs and two-for-one deals — Pret A Manger just revealed its key marketing strategy, and we’ve never heard anything like it before. The sandwich chain that plans on going against fast food brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks, is attracting customers by offering free drinks and snacks based on who the staff likes best. That’s right — their game plan is totally arbitrary.

Or at least, that’s the idea. The Chief Executive of Pret A Manger, Clive Schlee, told The London Evening Standard,  “We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis. Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week. They will decide ‘I like the person on the bicycle’ or ‘I like the guy in that tie’ or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy.’ It means 28 per cent of people have had something free. It’s a nice, different way of doing it.”

While this is a rad way to call attention to a company who’s competing with big names like Subway and Coffee Bean, we’re a little concerned  that leaving this much freedom to Pret staff could cause discrimination issues. Or just leave customers wondering why they didn’t get a free cup of coffee.

Pret A Manger, however, seems to be using this campaign strategy positively, and with good intentions. Schlee really wants his company to be a prosperous, growing one, and that means establishing a likable, personal brand. “There’s only been five or six companies over the years that have managed that and most of them have been US companies. British ones have never really made it. We’re going to do it bit by bit and quite cautiously. McDonald’s has been around for 60 years, so you can’t do this in one generation,” Schlee told the Standard.

So far, Pret’s friendly hand-outs have been working. According to The Inquisitr, Pret already has 38 stores in New York, 7 in Washington, D.C., 4 in Boston, and 9 in Chicago. Additionally, The Mirror reports the company has “increased 16 percent in 2014 to just below $1 billion.” That kind of growth is B-A-N-A-N-A-S (or, rather, sandwiches and coffee —and lots of ’em).

Along with introducing fresh juices, Pret is also thinking about doing late-night dinners. This is one sandwich shop that is on a ROLL (pun totally, totally intended).

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