How To Get Free Coffee At Pret A Manger, According to Company CEO Clive Schlee

You can get free stuff and great deals at Starbucks with My Starbucks Rewards… Dunkin Donuts offers similar bonuses through their DD Perks program… but how do you get free coffee at Pret A Manger? Easy: Just walk in and the opportunity might present itself.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard this week, Pret A Manger CEO Clive Schlee revealed — well, not exactly the secret to getting free coffee at Pret A Manger, as it's not really a secret or a trick you can try… but we did learn that Pret purposefully gives out free stuff at random. That means that if you're really lucky, one day, it might happen to you. Said Schlee, “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 percent of people have had something free. It's a nice, different way of doing it.”

Not only that, but we now have an answer to why Pret doesn't have a rewards program — or even a punch card system. “We looked at loyalty cards,” said Schlee, “but we didn't want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis.” Fair enough.

Although some media outlets are reporting this whole schtick as, “To get free coffee at Pret, flirt” or “To get free coffee at Pret, look attractive,” I'll be honest: I think that's the wrong way to approach it. Why? Because that's not actually what the policy sounds like it is. Maybe flirting or looking hot might help catch a Pret employee's attention; however, “I fancy that girl or boy” is just one example Schlee gave as to what might prompt a barista to give out a free coffee. Basically, the criteria just seems to be, “Here is your quota of free coffees to give out this week — now use your powers for the forces of good and go make someone's day.” Anything and everything might prompt a free coffee or food item, from rocking a snazzy accessory to looking like you could simply use a bit of a cheer-up. And that? Is actually kind of great.

Obviously the whole point of giving out free coffee is to attract customers; as Schlee noted:

“We'd like to become a successful British global company — one that is really successful in different continents and that would be a very worthy goal. There's only been five or six companies over the years that have managed that and most of them have been U.S. companies. British ones have never really made it. We're going to do it bit by bit and quite cautiously. McDonald's has been around for 60 years, so you can't do this in one generation.”

But I like the fact that the perks aren't necessarily connected to a rewards program; it's all just a way to build good will. And let's face it: Even though a coffee may only cost a few bucks, getting on free when you're not expecting it goes a long way towards brightening up your day.

And if you've been frequenting Pret A Manger for a while and never gotten anything free? Don't fret about it. Life's too short to waste your time being bitter about a $3 beverage.

Images: Pret A Manger/Facebook; Giphy