Pret's next experiment: Veggie fridges

Blog by Clive Schlee

Blog update 12th September 2017: Veggie fridge conclusions

The veggie fridge trial was met with a very encouraging initial response, so we kept them for the summer. While the fridges have certainly helped to raise awareness of our meat-free menu, we noticed that more customers actually choose veggie options when they are clearly labelled and integrated with meaty items, rather than segregated in a separate fridge.

The experiment begins to wrap up from today, and the fridges will make way for a new Autumn menu. In other veggie news, our third Veggie Pret shop is also in the making and due to open in October.

13th June 2017

Two years ago I invited you to vote on how Pret should respond to the growing interest in meat-free food. Should we open a vegetarian-only Pret, put a veggie fridge into every shop, or do nothing at all? Fridges narrowly won the vote but we couldn’t resist the bigger challenge for our chefs, so we opened a Veggie Pret pop up instead.

Open a Veggie Pret: 44%, A veggie fridge in every shop: 52%, Pret is fine as it is: 4%

The results of 10,000 votes in our customer poll from July 2015

Since then we’ve opened two permanent Veggie Pret shops in London and taken our ‘Not Just For Veggies’ menu and campaign to Pret shops across the UK, US, Hong Kong and France. We’ve learned that vegetarian food has to be delicious to win over meat-eaters. Our chefs have focused on creating new recipes that are full of flavour, colour and texture. It seems to be working – quite surprisingly, over half of the customers in our Veggie Pret shops are meat-eaters; and new ranges such as our Veggie Boxes, packed with ingredients like turmeric cauliflower and sweet potato falafels, are out-selling meaty options.

Inside Veggie Pret

Queues at the opening of our second Veggie Pret in Shoreditch

Our chefs have expanded Pret’s veggie and vegan offering to such an extent that we can now honour the outcome of the original vote: we will be installing veggie-only fridges in shops up and down the country for one month. If you like them, we’ll keep them in place for the summer.

Veggie Fridges

The bold green fridges will be accompanied by monthly veggie and vegan Chef’s Specials and a new campaign which aims to encourage more meat eaters to try our veggie options. This approach does carry some risk and we are treading carefully. I’m curious if our veggie menu will appeal more or less to customers when highlighted in a single fridge. Will it attract or deter our regular meat-eaters? We’ll be monitoring your feedback and the sales very closely. Who knows… Perhaps it will help us find the best location for our next Veggie Pret?

We could hold all the focus groups we like but there’s really only one way to find out… let the next veggie trial begin!

Tweet me your feedback @Cliveschlee


Twitter logo

Clive Schlee, Pret CEO

Clive joined Pret as CEO in 2003.

He has over 25 years’ experience in the retail food business with Pret, Itsu and Jardine Matheson, the Hong Kong-based multi-national.

Say hello to @Cliveschlee

Twitter logo
Follow Clive for Pret company news (and views on the importance of good grammar).


28th March 2017

We opened our Veggie Pret pop up as an experiment last year. We ended up making it permanent and our second Veggie Pret is on its way.

Read more >

Veggie Pret Is Here To Stay

6th September 2016

I can now tell you that we've taken the decision to keep Veggie Pret open for ever(!)

Read more >

Veggie Pret: What Should We Do Next?

27th June 2016

By popular demand, we’re keeping Veggie Pret open for the summer. Thank you for all your feedback so far - please keep it coming!

Read more >

Not Just For Veggies

19th April 2016

Last year I wrote a blog post asking customers how Pret could create more delicious vegetarian food. I was surprised by the response – almost 10,000 of you voted on the subject and Pret learned a lot from your views.

Read more >