We asked staff at Pret how to get a free coffee

‘We have to give away around £35 worth of coffee and food each week’

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Earlier this year, Pret A Manger CEO Clive Schlee revealed that staff  had been given the power to give away certain number of hot drinks and food each week to customers.

But according to the Pret boss, it’s completely up to the staff to choose who they give it to.

We spoke to some people who actually work at Pret to find out what customers can do to help their chances.


“We decide ‘I like the person on the bicycle’ or ‘I like the guy in that tie’ or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy’” one of the baristas told me.

Is this simply a nice gesture, or a subtle form of discrimination? Who cares, the real question is, what should you be doing to get your hands on that free latte?


“We have a budget, so we have to give a way a certain amount of coffee and food each week, usually it works out to about £5 a day” said another smiley barista.

“The choice over who to give it is entirely up to us, I usually give it customers who look happy or respectful”.

Being (or at least faking) happy and friendly is something anyone can do, although admittedly its harder when you’ve just been almost crushed to death on the tube during your morning commute.


I asked if there’s anything else you could do in your bid for free-of-charge coffee. Is there a magic formula? And does it consist of being charming, flirtatious, or just having natural charisma?

“Not particularly. If anything I’m more likely to give it to somebody who looks sad or stressed. For example, if someone tells me they’ve had a really bad day, I’ll give them a free hot drink, cos it really brightens their day”.

Looking sad, stressed, despondent, disheartened, hopeless? Now that’s something all Britons can excel at.

Unfortunately though, it doesn’t seem like there’s any sure-fire strategy for success when it comes to getting the Pret gods to look favourably upon you.

If all fails, you can try pretending you’re writing an article about how to get free coffee in Pret. It worked for me.