I love a Pret. Missed it during the lockdown.
I especially love a Pret breakfast which I occasionally treat myself to on a Friday. It’s a little treat after the footy of the night before and I want every part of it to be uplifting, after all, it is a Friday.
Now, all the strategizing and locational sophistication that Pret brings to play when they are deciding where to put their stores would suggest that I will simply go to the nearest one. All the cafes and coffee shop brands do the same thing, they know exactly where to put a store for maximum impact without cannibalising their other stores so they know exactly where I am going for my latte and porridge.
Or do they?
There are two Pret’s near the office which I think in the next few months may have strangely changing catchment areas that defy the predictive models. Hurrah! People will slowly drift away from one to the other or, in a worst-case scenario for Pret, to another brand.
Unusually for Pret, the manager at one store is a surly fella, a bit mean spirited, with no smiles and seems to think he is running an army regiment rather than a welcoming café for the stressed and comfort-seeking.
He is not terrible, just not up to what I expect so have decided to go to the other Pret, even when it would be easier to go his. I even walked halfway to bad Miserable Pret the other day before I remembered my last encounter and swiftly turned on my heels and headed to the other, which doubled my walking time but made me a whole lot happier. I am a simple soul.
All this goes to show that managers in retail or any type of experience are key and their behaviour and attitude can play havoc with predictive algorithms and statistics. The Miserable Pret hasn’t done anything specifically wrong, they haven’t messed up an order or poisoned me, it just doesn’t feel good as the manager’s persona has permeated everything from his colleagues to his skinny lattes and, as we all know, you never forget how someone makes you feel, and I don’t want that, especially on a Friday.