Pret A Manger has begun the roll-out of dedicated vegetarian fridges across its 400 UK stores as part of a trial taking place over the next four weeks.
If customers respond positively to the green-coloured fridges, which will contain an expanded veggie and vegan offering, the chain has pledged to keep them in place for the summer.
Pret confirmed to FEJ that the exercise won’t involve installing new fridges, but will instead see it dress its current range of display equipment with a new campaign creative.
The process of cladding the fridges in stores began on Monday night and will continue over the coming weeks.
Two years ago, Pret CEO Clive Schlee polled customers on whether Pret should open a vegetarian-only Pret, put a veggie fridge into every shop, or leave things unchanged.
Fridges narrowly won the vote but Pret went onto launch two permanent Veggie Pret shops in London and widen its menu.
“Our chefs have expanded Pret’s veggie and vegan offering to such an extent that we can now honour the outcome of the original vote: we will be installing veggie-only fridges in shops up and down the country for one month,” Schlee said this week.
The bold green fridges will be accompanied by monthly veggie and vegan Chef’s Specials and a new campaign which aims to encourage more meat eaters to try its veggie options.
“This approach does carry some risk and we are treading carefully,” acknowledged Schlee. “I’m curious if our veggie menu will appeal more or less to customers when highlighted in a single fridge. Will it attract or deter our regular meat-eaters?”
He said the chain would be monitoring feedback and sales closely before deciding on its next move after the summer.