How do you ensure the general public treat your staff with the utmost courtesy? Tell them they stand a good chance of getting free stuff if they behave themselves.
That's the ploy that Pret A Manger's chief executive Clive Schlee has adopted, revealing that new policies at the coffee chain should see 28 percent of customers walking away with a free drink or snack - if the Pret staff deem them worthy.
Pret has been known to give out free drinks for some time (we just did a quick headcount of the office - if you're attractive and female, or bumbling and British like our dep editor, it apparently happens quite regularly). Staff are limited on the number of beverages and food they're able to hand out each week, in a scheme which Schlee adopted in preference over loyalty card systems.
"We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis, Schlee told The Evening Standard.
"Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week. They 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'. It means 28 per cent of people have had something free. It's a nice, different way of doing it."
The airing of its give-away tactics comes after Pret revealed that it shifted some one million cups of coffee a week during the 52 weeks to 1 January, 2015. A year of record profits has seen Schlee develop global ambitions, alongside a trial of serving evening meals at one of its London branches.
Here are our five ideas on how to improve your chances of getting free Pret stuff
In addition to reducing your own levels of stress, smiling is a contagious physical response. Darwin wrote at length on the subject, suggesting that some of our facial movements are hardwired in our brains, expressing our state of mind with physical patterns. So if you're smiling, the Pret staff are smiling, causing them to feel less stress and happier and OH LOOK IS THAT A FREE COFFEE?
Now we're not suggesting you lean over and caress the nearest barista's hand, but the usual tricks of sustained eye contact (again, no sleazy half-lid stares), compliments and laughter will help improve the mood of those you're aiming your charms at - potentially increasing the likelihood of free stuff. Well, it's better than frown and sarcastic word of thanks.
3. Order a Flat White
Reducing the hassle of your order can only help matters. Even the most attractive, happy souls are going to frustrate a barista if they order an orange spiced latte with extra foam, skinny milk and an extra shot of espresso. In a large takeaway cup. To have in.
4. Wear red (if you're a woman)
If you want to stand a better chance of turning a male barista's head, wear red. While it might sound ridiculous, a study by psychologist Andrew J. Elliot found that to men, women dressed in the color red were significantly more likely to attract romantic attention. Unfortunately, for women, the color of one's shirt made no difference. You could always ask a female friend in red to pick up your coffee order for you?
5. Look like this
[Via: Evening Standard]