Pret a Manger, Euston
020 7932 5432
by Haulin' Oats
What is it about the service in Pret a Manger? From where comes the unforced, invigorating, positive energy? The busier it gets, the happier they seem to get. There’s a spirited ‘all hands on deck’ atmosphere. I swear I can hear the white sails ripple and snap as this honest crew, this band of merry brothers and sisters navigate, undaunted and thrillingly alive, the storms of hungry office workers.
All of which is ironic because the guy who serves me is a real c**t.
No eye contact, not a flicker of evidence that he's interacting with a fellow human being. This is rude, it’s belligerent, it’s bad service – but it doesn't earn him the c-word moniker. It’s this that promotes him; the girl behind me is tall, blonde and pretty. He’s smiling at her, animated, he’s all small talk and charm. He shoves a coffee loosely in my direction without a glance. What a c**t.
He's a Pret exception. They exist. Of course they do.
As I sit down at my table that thing happens which we will never know or understand. I throw my coffee all over the floor.
One of the crew is there quickly. She’s trying to make me feel as if the spill is absolutely nothing to do with me. ‘It happens ten times a day, or more! I blame the cups. There’s something wrong with the cups...’
A former or off duty brother/shipmate walks in (you can tell by the warm camaraderie of their greeting). They talk about her being pregnant. Then she's down on the floor, pregnant and vital clearing up my coffee. She brings me a replacement, offers to fetch sugar. The spirit of Pret Service fills the sails once more.
And now a sentence that would utterly horrify my teenage-self: what I wouldn't give to get the inside track on Pret’s hiring processes.
The little granola in a pot is pretty good. The granola has crunch and cluster (though there’s too little of it in proportion to the rest). The yoghurt is tangy and crisp. The compote has a good fruity zing. Overall the portion is small for breakfast, but then you’re paying a little less than a full blown regular cafe granola.
The indie idiot in me, the part that can't help but slightly go off a band if they get hugely successful, feels a little concerned about this gush of positivity for such a large chain. But you know what? Pret revolutionised grabbing a quick lunch for urban dwellers, and their service is a modern wonder, so well done them.