Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has commenced a trial into evening trading in the wake of similar moves from competitors. 

Its Strand site now offers a Good Evenings concept, featuring a new menu and shop design, in a bid to tempt custom away from traditional late-night operators.

From 6pm each day, the shop will transform into a casual dining experience, including greetings at the door, after which staff will show customers to a table with an evening menu.

The new menu includes small plates, salads, toasties, soups, hot dishes and desserts, as well as alcohol – for the first time – with French red and white wines, prosecco and British craft beers available.

New dishes include sweet potato wedges and a salt beef toastie on artisan rye and sourdough bread. Desserts include a brownie served with ice cream and a fruit coulis.

The ordering process won’t change, with customers still required to place orders and pay at the till, but meals will be served to their table on newly designed crockery. The menu is also available for takeaways.

Consumer demand

Nick Sandler, creative chef at Pret, said: “Customers have been asking us for some time about creating an early evening menu, so we’re giving it a go.

“We have the seating space, the kitchen, the fantastic ingredients and a talented team already in the shop, so it seemed like a logical next step to give the Good Evenings concept a try.

“Fast, fresh and delicious evening dining is particularly important to customers in this area of the city, who are looking for somewhere convenient and affordable to eat before heading to the theatre.”

The new menu is available from 6pm to 10.45pm Monday to Saturday and 4pm to 8pm on Sundays at the Strand site. There are currently no plans to roll it out.

Rival coffee operator Starbucks launched a trial evening offer at its Stansted airport site in February, following a successful trial in 30 sites in the US. It also offers wines and beers, along with shareable savoury items and desserts.