Food to go chain Pret a Manger has been accused of missing out on an opportunity by not working with the convenience channel as it announces site closures.

The business revealed it is to close 30 of its outlets as well as a loss of more than 1,000 jobs across the entire 410 shop estate due to the impact of coronavirus. It said that it needed to carry out this restructure to “reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures”.

However Spar retailer Susan Connolly believes the business is leaving money on the table by not working with retailers to sell their products.

“It wouldn’t save all of the jobs but a bit of rejigging in the Pret business and they could be a supplier to the sector. Some retailers haven’t got the facility to make food to go products so that would give them a great opportunity.

She explains how the branded sandwich lines are a great footfall driver and that Pret would be no different. Susan introduced branded food to go products to her Wiltshire stores to positive reactions. “Brands like Pret drive consumers to stores. We added the Costa range to our stores and our lunchtime footfall tripled. People haven’t fallen out of love with the brand, it’s just a case that routines are now different.

“With a bit of collaboration and cross-merchandising they could explore a new channel. They’ve completely missed a trick and could end up with no stores. They’ve got to relook at their business the same way everyone else has had to.”

“Convenience stores have a Subway franchise, why not Pret a Manger? Their business model isn’t working. Well they should change it. The product wouldn’t change, it’s just a different model of delivering them.”