Last year, UK-based Pret A Manger revealed it had come to an agreement to partner with A&W to launch a trial in Canada.
The very first Pret A Manger location just opened in Vancouver last week at 468 SW Marine Drive, the first of several BC locations to come.
Dished paid a visit to the new pop-up concept, located inside an A&W at the bustling transit hub at Cambie and Southwest Marine Drive.
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This location, Dished is told by A&W representatives, was chosen as the first because it’s a “dynamic transit and mixed-use hub, allowing us to bring Pret to a wide audience. There is a great cross-section of commuters, entertainment, shopping and residential, which makes Marine Gateway the ideal first location.”
Step inside the first Pret and you’ll find an integrated space where the UK brand and the Canadian fast-food chain fit together as a go-to spot for grab-and-go eats.
This location features a cold display case packed with several varieties of baguette sandwiches – including Pret’s Famous Ham and Cheese Baguette, a really solid lunch option – as well as prepared salad bowls, wraps, and fresh juices.
There’s also a hot display case with warm breakfast sandwiches and frittatas – significantly upping the quality of breakfast food items for the daily commuter.
Pret has also installed a fresh pastry display case in the front of the store, packed with two different kinds of croissants, cookies, and muffins.
This particular location is able to offer Pret’s signature espresso drinks, including lattes, Americanos, and cappuccinos – also with the option of being made with oat beverage – as there is a full-service espresso machine on-site. This won’t be the case with every Canadian Pret, Dished is told, and will depend on the location.
You can get in on some Pret swag here too, as the location has a retail section selling branded cups, bottles, and bags of coffee beans.
Everything here is made fresh locally the day of and sold that same day, which maintains Pret’s standards for high-quality pre-made food.
The new pop-up is a bit disorienting for some unsuspecting A&W customers though, which makes some sense – Pret-branded umbrellas and signage are intermixed with the existing A&W infrastructure here, so those not in the know will likely be unsure of what to expect.
Is it worth all the hype? That depends on what you’re going for – the sandwiches actually are really good, and are definitely a good option for a quick lunch when you’re on the move.
The offerings here are limited though, so don’t go expecting the same range of products you might find in London or New York. A&W representatives share that the pop-up concepts will be sharing “Pret’s most popular items that existing fans know and love.”
The excitement surrounding Pret’s launch in Canada has much to do with its reputation as an international chain, so its start in Vancouver makes sense. We’re told that Vancouver’s status as an international city, along with the fact that “consumers in Vancouver are also known to care about the quality of their food and where it comes from,” makes this the ideal first stop for the trial run.
The Pret influence is nothing to sneeze at: this location has seen three times the amount of its usual traffic, we’re told, which “just shows that Canadians are ready to embrace Pret A Manger into their lives.”
Stay tuned for more details on upcoming Pret A Manger locations in both Vancouver and Toronto this fall.
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Pret A Manger — Vancouver
Address: 468 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver