The company holding master franchise rights to the Pret A Manger brand in Dubai and Singapore says there is a possibility the sandwich shop could end up in New Zealand.
Emirates Group subsidiary Emirates Leisure Retail which develops and operates hospitality venues around the world runs the UK-headquartered sandwich chain in airports in Dubai and Singapore, is expanding its brands' presence in the New Zealand market.
Justin Scotti, managing director of Emirates Leisure Retail, said there were no plans to bring Pret A Manger to New Zealand at present but the brand would be considered for expansion into the market.
"We'll look at expanding our offer over time which Pret would be in the [running]," Scotti told the Herald.
"There's no concrete plans in place right now.
"We will consider it in the future depending on success in other markets."
Pret A Manger, often referred to as Pret, was founded in 1983 and serves sandwiches, wraps, salads, smoothies and coffee. It has a network of 450 stores in nine countries.
A recent poll conducted among Herald readers found Pret A Manger to be among the top picks for international food chains to launch here.
"We've got a good relationship with Pret and if we felt there was an opportunity to bring it to an airport location then we would need to work with airport partners to make that happen."
Emirates Leisure Retail does not own Pret A Manger or the rights for New Zealand. It currently holds a master franchise agreement with the sandwich chain's parent company Pam Acquisitionco, to be able to open and operate Pret stores in Singapore and Dubai. Pret A Manger has no links with Emirates Group or the airline.
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While there are no concrete plans for Pret A Manger to launch in New Zealand currently, Scotti said Australian coffee brand Hudsons Coffee would launch in Aotearoa this year.
Emirates Leisure Retail earlier in the year signed the master franchise agreement for Hudsons Coffee for the New Zealand market and is now actively looking for sites to open branded stores.
Hudsons Coffee will open its first New Zealand store this month in Auckland Airport, airside in the domestic airport this month.
Emirates Leisure Retail's master franchisor is "close to signing" its first site for Wellington, Scotti said.
"We expect to open our first Hudsons Coffee in New Zealand non-airside before the end of the year," he said.
"We're looking to expand the brand in all across New Zealand, not surprisingly Wellington and Auckland are where most of the initial sites that we're keen to open are in, but we've got an open mind about where we open - it's just a matter of where we find the right sites."
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Scotti said he expected the brand to open its first handful of sites, outside of the airport, in Wellington, a logical move given the capital's coffee culture and population sizes.
"We want to grow the brand at a sensible pace. We don't have a certain number on how many we're planning on putting on the ground at this stage."
Hudsons Coffee has a network of 95 stores throughout Australia. Though, Scotti said Emirates Leisure Retail did not expect to grow the footprint here to that level.
"We don't have a firm number ... I couldn't envisage it being 50 in the next five years."
Scotti said the coffee culture in New Zealand made the market an attractive option for the brand's expansion.
"We think we've got a really strong coffee offer that the New Zealand customers will respond positively to. We will be roasting our coffee in New Zealand and we've effectively got local partners operating the business; we sort of see it as our expertise in coffee adding value to the market by customising our brand to the local needs.
"We look forward to competing in the local market."
Emirates Leisure Retail operates traditional cafe locations and hole-in-the-wall store formats. Scotti said the brand would operate both in New Zealand, depending on the location.
The company is looking for franchisees to grow the brand in the market in the next 12 months.
Emirates Leisure Retail primarily runs and develops hospitality venues in airports, however, in recent years it has been expanding its presence outside airports.
The company first launched in New Zealand with a pop-up joint in Auckland Airport in 2017, and at the end of last year opened Aroha Cafe, its first permanent location.
In April it brought popular UK family restaurant Wondertree to the airport's refurbished departures terminal, and in August it will open its two-level sports bar The Vantage, which will be its third site in the international terminal.