The Financial Times reports the brand has trademarked the name Pret Express under the class of 'vending machines' and 'coffee vending and dispensing machines', as well as Pret Perks, suggesting plans to create a loyalty or incentive scheme following the success of its £20-a-month coffee subscription.
It follows news from Costa Coffee, which announced earlier this week that it would be trialling 'the world’s first integrated self-serve coffee machine' that can serve both hot and cold drinks.
Costa said the machines would offer more than 500 different drinks from hot flat whites and cappuccinos to vanilla lattes and 'iced fruit cordials'. The Coca-Cola-owned chain already operates more than 10,000 coffee vending machines in the UK, the majority of which are in petrol stations.
Last month Carluccio’s, the Boparan-owned restaurant group, said it was trialling self-service coffee machines with the supermarket chain Budgens.
The JAB Holdings-backed brand said: “We don’t comment on speculation and we obviously take out trademarks all the time.”
This latest development for Pret comes amid the group's drive to expand its reach beyond the high street.
Pret has become somewhat symbolic of the financial pain suffered by high-street operators as a result of the Coronavirus crises.
Last summer the chain said the impact of the pandemic had set sales back 10 years, with trade across its 367 high street sites down 60% year on year.
The group has so far been forced to close 36 of its sites, with more than 3,000 employees made redundant