Ten Pret sites are to reopen for takeaways and delivery and will also be selling a range of grocery items.

Like many major café and bakery chains, Pret closed the 400 sites in its estate following instructions from the Prime Minister for pubs, restaurants and cafés to shut to help delay the spread of Covid-19.

However, some businesses have started reopening sites after taking steps to protect staff and customers. Under government guidelines, cafés can operate takeaway and delivery services, and food retailers may remain open.

From tomorrow (16 April), 10 Pret sites in London will open daily from 8am to 2pm, offering a limited menu of some of the brand’s most popular sandwiches, salads and baguettes, as well as hot and cold drinks, baked goods, fruit and snacks.

The shops will also be selling a selection of grocery items, such as milk, butter, and tea.

Pret said the reopenings were in response to requests from local NHS workers and hospitals, and the business would offer a 50% discount for NHS workers until the end of this month.

The shops are being staffed by Pret workers who have volunteered, with 160 staff working across the 10 shops. Pret said the volunteers had undergone a thorough interview to ensure that they were fit to return to work, and that those living with anyone vulnerable would not be permitted to return.

All UK Pret employees are getting 100% of their pay until the end of April, regardless of whether they have volunteered to work in the reopened shops.

The business has introduced a range of social distancing and safety measures in the reopened sites including:

  • Designated pick-up points for delivery drivers, and separate doors for deliveries and customers wherever possible
  • One person in the kitchen will be nominated as a ‘kitchen runner’ who will get the products needed for each team member doing food preparation to minimise the amount of movement in the kitchen.
  • Only one person will be allowed in certain areas of the kitchen at any one time – for example, fridges or staff rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning processes, including 30-minute sanitising of all hand-contact surfaces.
  • Protective Perspex screens fitted to the till counter.
  • Staff and baristas will be distanced behind the till counter.
  • Only card payments will be allowed, no cash will be accepted.
  • Customer flow into the shop will be restricted, with no more than six customers at any one time.
  • Customers will queue outside the shop two metres apart from each other, with clear markings for queuing.

“We are incredibly grateful that 160 team members have volunteered to help reopen 10 shops in London, located close to hospitals. In doing so, this will help give frontline healthcare workers better access to freshly prepared food while also getting our supply chain up and running again to deliver food to the homeless,” said Pret CEO Pano Christou.

“My priority is always to protect our teams and customers as best we can, which means we have put in place a number of new social distancing measures to align with the government’s guidance.”