I‘ll admit it: I’ve become a Pretestrian.
A few months ago, work sent me to London for a week. It was a quintessential bleisure trip with plenty of work and a few extra hours here and there to check out the sights — the perfect blend to explore a new-to-me city.
By the second morning, I figured out that the hotel coffee wasn’t going to caffeine me up enough so I went searching for a coffee shop that’d give me a slightly higher octane punch.
It didn’t take long for me to find “Pret,” the U.K.-based Pret A Manger chain, which offers up coffee and quick meals in more than 500 stores worldwide. It’s not hard — there seems to be a Pret on every corner or at least at every Tube station. I probably should have expanded my horizons a bit but I couldn’t help finding myself giving them my money at least once and sometimes twice a day.
Pret’s not the most unique place to grab a coffee or a bite in London and some will claim it isn’t even close to the best, so I’m probably losing some of my world traveler cred for professing my affection for a chain…
But, really, what’s not to love?
I’m a girl who likes consistency in the mornings. (Especially before the requisite dose of caffeine.) There’s something to be said about knowing what you’re going to get. Even if that means I have to remember to order a “filter coffee” and not a “drip” or “brewed.” Plus, the service speed can’t be beat. Who has time for a pour over when meetings call?
Easy Menu Options.
For a not-by-choice gluten-free gal, London can be a hard city to find something quick, tasty and healthy for lunch. Fish’n’chips, anyone? Pret saved me from the hangries at least a couple of times with decent salads and good soups. I have it on good authority that the sandwiches aren’t half bad either.
It’s no secret that London is ungodly expensive. And even traveling on the company dime, I tend to lean towards the frugal side for lunch so I can splurge on dinner and still stay under per diem. I’m even more cost-conscious when I’m paying my own way through a city. Pret gets the job done without breaking the bank.
I can’t say altruism is what brings me through the door, but it’s nice to know that the chain emphasizes giving back. From donating leftovers to supporting a slew of charities to their Rising Stars Programme (which helps those who find it hard to work due to homelessness or a criminal record), they put their money where the mouths are. It takes away a bit of the guilt I feel for not supporting a small business.
Another trip back to London a few weeks ago confirmed that Pret’s officially my London Starbucks replacement. And maybe it’s a bit expected, but at least it’s a well-caffeinated expected.
What’s your coffee go-to?
(Photo credit: Pret a Manger)