The Pret A Manger coffee offering “needs a bit of thinking” according to its former managing director.

Speaking at the lunch! show 2013 in Islington, London, Andrew Walker said Pret needs to reconsider how consumers are served coffee in its outlets if it is to compete against brands like Starbucks and Costa.

Speaking on the “Pret coffee scrum”, which refers to the large numbers of customers the chain serves, Walker remarked that coffee at Pret, which he suggested accounts for around 20% of sales, “needs a bit of thinking”.

The former managing director also spoke on the importance of a shop’s layout and how it displays its items in relation to its tills. He said that Pret could consider developing a coffee “fast lane”, or a separate area for consumers to wait for their order.

Walker’s comments come after a survey, published by Which? in July, revealed that Pret’s Americano coffee was described by a Which? coffee expert as “plain, thin with too much water” and “smelt of burnt charcoal”, scoring three out of 10. They also felt that Pret’s cappuccino was “served with too much milk, which had been over-heated by the steamer, giving a caramelised taste”.

The full results can be found here.

A spokesperson for Pret politely declined to comment.

On 30 September, the brand opened a new outlet in Crawley, West Sussex, creating 20 new jobs.

Commenting on the opening, Davide Fabriani, general manager of Pret Crawley, said: “We’re proud to be opening a Pret shop in Crawley and look forward becoming part of the thriving community.”