How can Pret encourage more customers to bring a reusable cup? How can Pret encourage more customers to bring a reusable cup?

Blog by Clive Schlee
6th December 2017

Last week I tweeted that Pret was considering increasing its discount from 25p to 50p for any customer bringing a reusable cup. We are thinking of doing this to help change habits. It’s well known that “reduce” is better than “recycle”.

Pret Barista steaming milk

I was inundated with suggestions, ideas and feedback. All of them were constructive and the vast majority were supportive. Here are five highlights:

1. 96% of the 5,000 respondents on an Instagram Stories poll voted “yes” to the 50p idea.

Instagram story response. YES. I love Pret coffee... the only place I am certain to get coconut milk from too. I would go out and buy a reusable cup right now. Coconut Mocha £2.20 Yes pleaseee!! you'll have to employ more staff the shops will actually be rammed.

2. A great many customers recommended that we sell a branded reusable cup as well as launching the new discount. Many shared views on what makes a good reusable cup - light, leak proof and elegant are key attributes.

3. Lots of you suggested we turn the discount on its head and charge for cups instead. The economic theory of loss aversion was mentioned – this says that people respond to loss or fear of a penalty much more than they do to a reward or discount. The success of the government's 5p bag charge was cited as evidence of how effective this can be.

4.  A handful of people pointed out that china cups ought to be available in more of our shops.

5. It was suggested that we set up a loyalty scheme tied to reusable cups. Some wanted us to implant chips into the cups themselves that could measure usage and automatically apply a discount.

And one tweeter wanted to see a little less consultation and a bit more action…!

On the basis of this valuable feedback, Pret is going to do three things:

1. Launch the 50p discount in the first week of 2018.

2. Source a well-designed and sustainably made reusable cup, ready to launch later in 2018.

3. Explore adding china cups to more of our shops with seats.

We debated whether charging people for using paper cups felt right. We decided that it goes against our instincts as we would prefer to be generous to our customers than to tax them. Let’s see what impact the new discount has…

Thank you for helping us move forwards!

Tweet me your feedback @CliveSchlee



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 Tweet Clive Schlee

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

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