It can only get Pretter? Café offers free lunch to unhappy Pret subscribers

And we’ll never be loyals: Kaleido is trying to disrupt London lunch times  (Kaleido)
And we’ll never be loyals: Kaleido is trying to disrupt London lunch times (Kaleido)

A Vietnamese-inspired café has taken aim at Pret with a bold new “disloyalty” programme designed to steal customers from the London stalwart.

Kaleido Rolls, which opened a new flagship site in Soho in the summer, wants to encourage commuters to “try something new” this month by offering free food to anyone with a Pret Club subscription.

Customers are invited to present their membership cards in exchange for a free summer roll, a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of pork, prawns, raw vegetables and herbs wrapped in rice paper and to be dipped in various sauces.

At Kaleido, the preparation has been given a Western makeover, with combinations such as feta and pesto, chicken Caesar, and salmon and cream cheese. All cost around £5.

Co-founder Laura Mimoun said: “It’s time to cheat on Pret. Our disloyalty program is a fun way to encourage customers to give Kaleido Rolls a go and explore the unexplored. Who knows – they might even discover their new favourite lunch spot.”

Pret executives are unlikely to be fazed by the stunt, which runs until the end of September. The baguette-wielding behemoth launched its subscription service in 2020 and it is now used more than 1m times a week across the chain’s plus-400 stores in Britain. It declined to comment when approached by the Standard.

But there have been candid murmurings of discontent around Pret in recent years. Arguably, it is not the force it once was, with notable price rises — its monthly coffee subscription now costs £30 — and a roster of sandwiches that doesn’t change as much as it could.

Kaleido, meanwhile, is a relatively new business, having launched a small concession stand on Carnaby Street in 2017. It now has five London outposts (including one in Harrods) and a further site in Amsterdam.

The brand’s press fluff didn’t hold back, talking about plans “to break the lunch-hour pattern of stepping into a multi-billion pound chain who are luring customers in with discounts and bundles...”

If the stunt is successful, a host of new Kaleido branches may open, with the brand having plans to double in size by 2025. Maybe then the business will launch a loyalty scheme of its own.

Kaleido, 10 Kingly Street, W1B 5PJ,