The opening of the chain's Dawson Street location is imminent, and the addition to the Irish hospitality scene has been met with mixed response.
Some of us may have visited one of the countless Prets on nearly every street corner in London and briefly remarked - "Oh cool. Love their sandwiches", and not given it a second thought. Others have expressed their distaste when the opening, along with the news that the chain is set to open 20 Irish stores over the next decade, is happening in tandem with a string of closures of independent Irish cafes and restaurants.
The difficulties facing the Irish hospitality industry are a regular topic of discussion at the moment. Chefs and restaurant owners have been open about the challenges post-pandemic - rising rent, inflation affecting the cost of everything from food to fairy lights, and staff shortages no doubt partly due to the fact that many hospitality workers simply can't afford to live in Dublin and other Irish cities anymore are just some of the issues businesses are up against. Enter a huge chain like Pret, and smaller cafes and restaurants will naturally struggle to compete.
This is the new Pret a Manger, about to open on Dawson St. The gov celebrates companies like this setting up in Ireland. But we should be resisting the homogenisation of our cities. These chains squeeze indies out. London has been destroyed by this crowd on every street corner. pic.twitter.com/1qgkmPyLc3
— Simon Tierney (@tierneysimon) July 19, 2022
In a recent tweet discussing the opening of Pret in Dublin, broadcaster Simon Tierney said we should be "resisting the homogenisation of our cities", adding that London has been "destroyed by this crowd on every street corner".
While some agree with the sentiment, responding with promises to still give their business to local cafes, others have pointed out that chains tend to struggle in Dublin (the Pret is replacing a Starbucks, and UK food chain LEON have recently withdrawn from the Irish market too). Some have admitted that they'd willingly visit a chain rather than an "overpriced" indie establishment.
If you've grown accustomed to speciality coffee and the unique feel of a local business as so many of us have over the past couple of years, you might have no intention of visiting Pret. Maybe you're not fussy and just want somewhere quick and handy to pick up your morning brew. In any case, the addition definitely has people talking.
Header image via Instagram/pret