Here’s how to get a free coffee at Pret A Manger

The handouts are actually official company policy

Updated on • Written By Caroline Hendry

Here’s how to get a free coffee at Pret A Manger

Pret A Manger is loved by Londoners for its delicious lunchtime treats, pastries and hot drinks as well as its friendly staff who just so happen to hand out freebies.

The chain of coffee shops/cafés is best known however for its unique policy that allows staff to give away free treats to customers on an ad-hoc basis. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a free hot drink or snack from Pret, then you’ll known that it makes you feel rather special, and it’s a tactic that has helped to secure repeat business for the ever-expanding group of coffee shops. So, just how do you go about nabbing a Pret A Manger freebie?

How to get free coffee at Pret

Look out for seasonal giveaways and deals, but Pret team members also give away coffee on an ad-hoc basis.

While you may have thought that charming Pret worker gave you a free coffee purely out of kindness, the freebies are actually part of official company policy. This was first revealed back in 2015 by Pret A Manger’s CEO Clive Schlee. Speaking to the Evening Standard at the time, Schlee said: “The staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week.”

So how do you make sure that you’re one of the lucky ones who get a free coffee or sandwich? The truth is there’s not much you can do to sway the odds, other than being nice and looking presentable.

Talking about the logic behind picking who receives freebies, Schlee said: “[Staff] will decide ‘I like the person on the bicycle’ or ‘I like the guy in that tie’ or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy’.”

Why do Pret give free coffee to customers?

Pret A Manger has never officially revealed the reasoning behind its free coffee policy, but it’s easy to see why it’s a worthwhile investment for the company. Various news articles claim that the budget allocated to Pret staff for handing out freebies is roughly around £5 per day, which is a relatively small cost to the business.

The payoff though is that you get a clutch of happy customers, ensuring repeat business, as well as guaranteeing that customers will spread the word that Pret’s staff are friendly and generous. Some customers might be put off by the fact that the free coffees are part of company rules, as it somewhat ruins the authenticity of the act, but let’s be honest – who could be mad at receiving a free coffee?

If you love a bargain, our guide to cheap eats in London is essential reading.