Why is the Pret subscription going up? The price hike has customers fuming

Pret a Manger, the coffee chain is to close 30 stores across the UK as a result of declining sales, putting around 1,000 jobs at risk and reduced headcount across many of its remaining 380 shops. Many UK businesses are announcing job losses due to the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Lockdown.
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The price of the Pret subscription for unlimited coffees and hot drinks is set to be increased by 25% as the cost of production and employee salaries rise, with the news sparking anger among customers. 

The popular Pret subscription service is set to be upped from £20 to £25 each month.

People couldn't believe they'd be able to have up to five barista-made coffees and hot drinks each day for just £20 per month when the company first announced the programme in September 2020, giving caffeine fiends the chance to take reaping the health benefits of coffee and tea to the max.

But Pret has upped the subscription by an additional £5 per month, in line with the government's recent VAT increase, with the price hike coming into play in March.

The increase comes less than two months after the Advertising Standards Authority advised Pret, which has approximately 400 shops in the UK, to reconsider how it advertised its subscription service.

Why is the Pret coffee subscription going up?

Pret blamed the price increase on its coffee subscription service on inflation and the government's plan to raise VAT from 12.5% to 20% on April 1st. VAT would add £2 to the cost of the subscription, £1.50 to increased employee pay, and another £1.50 to cover inflation.

A Pret spokesperson explained, "Since we launched the Pret coffee subscription in 2020, prices for ingredients such as coffee beans and milk have gone up, VAT is increasing to 20%, and we’ve invested in additional pay for Pret Team members.

"We believe the coffee subscription continues to offer great value."

Coffee is an everyday necessity but prices have risen during the pandemic since one of the largest producers, Brazil, has been hit by droughts and the worst frost in almost two decades, while shipping costs have risen significantly.

Coffee shops have also had to contend with an increase in the cost of importing equipment such as coffee machines from Europe as a result of Brexit, according to Jeffrey Young, CEO of the World Coffee Portal, and even paper cups have become more expensive.

It's also worth noting that, despite the price hike, new subscribers will still get the first month free.

Credits: Getty Images

The big change to the Pret subscription sparked anger among customers when it was announced, with many taking to the internet to vent their frustration.

One coffee lover penned,"@Pret have hiked up their subscription by 25%. Sorry, cancelling it now. Going to use local coffee shops."

The move may have caused some coffee lovers to reconsider their subscription, as a third noted, "I’m just sat here in @Pret and was considering signing up for the subscription but see online they’ve upped the price to £25 a month. Nope. Thank you, next."

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"Pret increasing their coffee subscription price is honestly the last straw," a fourth chipped in, while another agreed, "Pret subscription now £25 a month, dark times ahead."

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It's not all doom and gloom for Pret lovers as some fans noted it's still a good deal, given that membership members can still claim up to 150 coffees every month.

Taking to Twitter one user added, "Absolutely fine with this @Pret It’s still SUCH a good deal. I’d be amazed if it is profitable for you. The justification is clear & well intentioned, but even if you just said in its current state it isn’t viable I’d have thought - fair enough  Thanks for all you do."

 Another insisted that they'd even be happy to pay more for the Pret subscription, tweeting, "Will happily give them £40 for the subscription if they want to be honest. It’s superb and a genius business model."

Kudzai Chibaduki
Features Writer

Kudzai Chibaduki joined Future as a trainee news writer for Good To, writing about fashion, entertainment, and beauty. She's now a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist and helps direct magazine photoshoots.