A half-baked idea or a recipe for success?
Pret A Manger, the seemingly-omnipresent international coffee chain is set to befuddle London's West End customers this week with the launch of an evening dinning concept, "Good Evenings".
From 6pm, the Strand branch of Pret will dust off the crumb-covered tables, dim the lights and switch its plastic cutlery for crockery, wine lists and light jazz music, serving patrons a new menu of quick evening meals.
Rather than elbowing their way to the desk to ask for a splash of warm caffeine, customers will be met by the door and seated by staff. Orders are taken and paid for at the tills, but customers will be served at their tables rather than awkwardly lurking by the sugar and spoon counter.
The menu includes a selection of small plates (spicy meatballs, £3.45; baked herbal falafel, £3.45), salads (chicken and bacon cobb, £6.95), hot pots, soups and toasties, along with a wine list of three reds, three whites, prosecco and two craft beers.
Pret's CEO stopped by to sample Strand's new offering, posting a surprisingly palatable set of images on Twitter (there were candles and everything).
The chain’s creative chef Nick Sandler told the Evenings Standard that it might take a while for the idea to catch on.
"If they come in and say ‘we’re in a real hurry we’ve only got 20 minutes’ because they are going to the theatre we tell them they’ve got plenty of time to order, sit down and have their meal," said Sandler. "But equally if someone’s got a bit longer to have a glass of wine and spend an hour with us that’s fine as well, we’re pretty relaxed about it."
There are currently no plans to roll the Good Evenings concept out to any of Pret's 300 other UK outlets, but things could change if the scheme proves a success.
Up next, who fancies sampling the four course taster selection at KFC?
[Via: Evening Standard]