No Fast Food Supersized Meals Here
On a recent visit to the Pret A Manger on Braodway in Manhattan, I noticed that the sandwiches are smaller than the "supersized" fast food sandwiches at other restaurants. There is a great balance of protein, bread and flavors… they are "right sized". I immediately thought that would be a consideration for product positioning given the alarming rate of obesity as well as the consumer desire for better for you foods… it is not easy selling healthy.
Pret's viewpoint is that the other fast food / fast casual brands consider value as delivering meals that are "more than you can eat". Pret customers seem to agree that Pret's portion sizes are correct and they say their customer is not chasing calorie's per buck. "Correct Sizing means Pret makes the decision for the customer vs. the high degree of flexibility in menu selection at other chains" according to Sebastian. This does not work in most fast food and fast casual concepts however. Pret's customers have a high degree of trust in the selection the brand is making for them every day.
Pret A Manger Focuses on Local Menu Development
They have local food teams developing food in both the US and the UK since the two markets are quite different and for Pret A Manger it goes beyond the size of the portions. Some popular tastes in their home base of the UK just don't translate. Sebastian told me that "Our American customers for example are more wary of mayonnaise than are their British counterparts. We offer quality ingredients over the quantities offered at some other large restaurant chains. "
Affordability, Better for You AND Personalization (customization) are significant food & beverage trends and Pret is listening to their customers very carefully on this with their Slim Range line of sandwiches.
Slim Range products are half sandwiches that allow a customer to mix and match… maybe another ½ sandwich flavor or a salad or even dessert. While sitting over a Pret meal we noticed one customer with a ½ sandwich, salad and a dessert as well as other slim range examples. So even though they have their sandwich in a box selections pre-determined for you, the customer still has the ability to "customize" their meal, affordably AND it is the right size portion.
Will Pret continue to be urban focused… where there customers are…or will you see a Pret at your nearest suburban shopping center?