back to article Pret customers get free Wi-Fi

Sandwich maker Pret A Manger has begun offering free wireless internet access to its customers. The sarnie seller said it has already activated the service in 60 of its Blighty stores and plans to roll out free Wi-Fi access to another 70 outlets over the coming week. UK wireless web service provider The Cloud struck a five- …


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  1. Andrew Cockbill

    Or if you prefer a pint...

    Not that I've got round to trying it yet, but apparently the Wetherspoons pub chain also does free wifi these days..

  2. Timo
    Thumb Up

    Can always find free somewhere

    Here in the US the Starbucks usually install themselves into some strip-mall next to other generic restaurants that give away WiFi, so I guess if you had to you could leech off of them. The one close to my house has a Panera Bread (sandwich shop) 20 yards away that offers free WiFi. If that doesn't work you can probably pick up an unsecured one, "linksys" seems to be a very popular service provider around here ha ha.

    On a recent road trip we stopped at a couple of McDonalds and noticed that they are giving out an hour of free hotspot use with your purchase. Only way I knew about it was that the cash register receipt had a WiFi passphrase posted on it. I don't think that it is available in all locations.

  3. Jason Chapman

    And it works!

    McUpChuck has earned at least 3 meals worth from me in the last 12 months. Its free wifi has meant I have gone in sat down, eaten, picked up my e-mail. Actually their coffee is alright, but what do they add to the food to make you more hungry after you have eaten than before?

    Wifi service is good. Just waiting for Virgin West Coast trains to catch on - as per your "stories" 2007 and before. Current rumour is Spring 2009.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. R

    In the US

    Starbucks offer 2 hours free wifi per day as long as you use a starbucks card to buy something once per month.

    So pretty much every regular customer, and those that carry a card in case they need emergency wifi, can get free wifi from Starbucks in the US.

    Maybe time to ask why they don't offer UK customers the same deal?

  6. Bill Hulley

    Not McPret any more...

    Here's a hint, though, Burger flipper McDonalds, sold their 33 per cent stake in Pret at the end of Feb this year to Bridgepoint Capital and Goldman Sachs.

    Please keep up at the back!

  7. Steve

    East Coast Mainline

    There's free wi-fi on the trains, but it's only in the first class waiting room at the station.

    That's why I'm sat on the other side of the wall at the moment using it from the cafe. Which part of the whole 'wireless' concept did they not understand?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mc D

    And in the Uk, the McDonalds wifi is free,

  9. Ross Fleming
    Thumb Down

    @Andrew Cockbill

    I'd rather cough up for a 3G card and go to a PUB rather than drink a pint of phlegm-in-a-glass that Wetherspoons cough up

  10. Martin Fowler

    @ Andrew Cockbill

    The wetherspoons service is very handy, as yet its relatively slow but still handy for a bit of mobile surfing when trying to solve the good old fashioned pub argument

  11. David Austin
    Thumb Up


    Great sandwiches, and free WiFi - I fail to see any drawbacks with this plan....

  12. Chris Partridge

    Caffe Nero

    BT Openzone subscribers including Broadband Anywhere customers get free WiFi in Caffe Nero, so the more they charge the better the deal I get....

  13. Andrew Cockbill

    @Ross Fleming

    Fair enough, your call. If you like a lager, frankly it makes no odds where you get it from, its all the same really, buy it cold, drink it cold, taste as little as possible. As for real ale, spoons actually does a far better range than most to whether they know how to keep it, that's a whole other question, and one I ain't going to get into :)

  14. Pyros

    T-Mobile needs better price plans.

    I mean, I can get T-Zone on my cell, so why the heck do I need to buy extra just to surf on a laptop?

    Yeesh--at least I can still get my Komodo with room.

  15. O
    Thumb Down

    Not McPret anymore.

    As another poster hinted at, a management buyout was effected in February. Neither the original founders nor McDonalds are involved any longer. The buyout is backed by GS and Bridgepoint.

    Also, may I add that anyone who provides Starbucks with custom is an absolute c*#@.

  16. Neil Greatorex

    @And in the Uk, the McDonalds wifi is free

    But the food is rank.

    Question: Would you eat McDonalds food just to get free WiFi.?


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wifi on Trains


    "Wifi service is good. Just waiting for Virgin West Coast trains to catch on - as per your "stories" 2007 and before. Current rumour is Spring 2009."

    I tried using Wifi on my way back from York to Kings Cross using GNER once, absolute joke.

    It was rip-off expensive - as you might expect for a train company - and performance was diabolical. I resigned myself to being satisified with "I just wanted to try it on the train, see how well it worked", didn't achieve anything useful with it, peformance was too bad.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Actually Goldman aren't involved at all. They were consulted on the sale but have no money in there. Bridgepoint are the ones. Thankfully starting to wield the axe at the bloated HQ structure (sack Y please).

    Fortunately McDonalds aren't involved anymore although Julian is still around as a "creative consultant" although not seen as often as he used to be.

    The wi-fi works quite well, although it's very un Pret like - you're "supposed" to gve a name, email and DoB to Cloud before it'll let you on although it works if you put in any old rubbish.

    Typically half arsed. If you read this Jess: sort it out ;-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I've found myself in McDonalds on a regular basis when out and about due to their free Wi-Fi, the Didcot branch just off the A34 proving very handy. It's a great way to get people in and the connection is always fast.

    So big thumbs up to Maccy D's. The coffee is cheaper than Starbucks as well.

  20. Ross Fleming

    @Andrew Cockbill

    "As for real ale, spoons actually does a far better range than most to whether they know how to keep it, that's a whole other question, and one I ain't going to get into :)"

    My point exactly :)

  21. Robert E A Harvey


    I've used Starbux in Newport,RI; Galveston; Norwich, VA;Statten Island, Manhattan & Seattle this year, and in every case wifi cost me around 5 bucks an hour. I've never seen free wifi in Starbucks.

  22. Robert E A Harvey

    Little chef

    Lots of little chef feature The Cloud, at quite a high price.

    Amusingly my corporate VPN connects anyway, without paying...

  23. Nick
    Thumb Up


    A local Starbux has free wifi, courtesy of the hotel in which its situated, just off Junction 10, M6 ;) Great way to refresh yourself AND your e-mail after a couple of hours in the Gym.

  24. Ron Eve
    Paris Hilton

    Hah! You nasty English bed-wetting types!

    I'm currently working regularly in Peterborough which means travelling by National Express with their 'free' wifi. It's slower than dial up, almost useless. Like someone else here I tried it 'on the train' but i haven't bothered for months.

    And staying at the Holiday Inn Express (near the showground) where they charge (business rate, not walk up which is £90) £75 per night, they want £15 extra a day for wifi... or you could get the £11 per day version which 'allows simple web surfing'.

    So I found a nice little b&b nearby - free wifi, freeview tv and Sky, beers for a pound and the owner picks me up when it's too wet to walk.Oh err.. £45 per night. If only the rest of the world worked that way, what do you reckon?

    I wonder how much Paris would charge per night?

  25. Matt

    @ Jason Chapman

    No, you have it wrong.

    After 'eating' mcdonalds, the immediate effect is nausea. This normally lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes, after which the hunger becomes apparent.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Starbucks stinks

    The Frog & Parrot is advertising free Wi-Fi and regulars at the Bath Hotel can use Wi fi for nowt.

    Caffe Nero? That place where they never clean the tables?

  27. Mark Aggleton
    Thumb Down

    Pret who???

    According to their website my nearest on is 60.4km away in Bristol - though I bet that's as the crow flies as most of those calculators think you can drive from Somerset to South Wales across the Bristol Channel. Don't think it's worth the petrol/train fare for free wi-fi.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Virtually every cafe, restaurant, etc. here in Romania has free wifi - if I'm not mistaken, the only places I've seen which charge are internet cafes (bizarrely) and some very very stupid hotels.

    What's it like living in a technologically-backward country, UK folks? ;-)

  29. Ross Fleming

    @Ron Eve

    A last minute room at the Paris Hilton tonight is around £200. I assume if you book in advance it's cheaper. Hope that helps:

  30. max allan

    Who says you have to eat the McCrap?

    i didn't know McD's did free wifi for customers because I never even go through the door.

    But now I might. I can imagine paying a couple of quid for a "Mcburger" (or whatever their cheapest item is, I really have no idea, "royale with cheese" maybe) and then binning it and using the wifi. It's still probably cheaper than the other wifi options available (5 pounds for an half hour, 7 for an hour or 8 for a day type pricing plans).

    Or even approach other customers (many of whom would be confused by the idea of the internet "whit d joo meen ah cin git pikshoors n moosic offov a wyur when there innt no wyur?) and ask for their receipt with the password printed on, then sit just outside or even scavenge receipts off the discarded trays (if you don't mind looking like a real freak for free wifi).

    "Everybody be cool, this is a wifi robbery. Any of you punks go online and I'll execute every mother%£%@ing last one of you"

  31. Scott Mckenzie

    Mmm, iPhone

    Costs nothing to use in any of the above thanks to free deals negotiated by O2.... free in Starbucks, free on The Cloud, free on BT Openzone....

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @max allan

    You're thinking of MSG...

  33. Alan Edwards
    Thumb Up


    Their bacon sandwiches and coffee are nice, I have ended up binning the hash brown that comes with them a few times though. The nuggets used to be good, I've not had them for a while. All the burgers just up drop a sauce/mayo/lettuce combo down your front, so I avoid them.

    To the person scavenging receipts for the password, if that's in the UK you don't need to. On the Cloud portal page that comes up, click the McDs logo and you get a page asking for your name and address. Enter any old rubbish in there, and you're away. The user name and password are for Cloud subscribers.


  34. steven
    IT Angle

    train their staff up a bit

    the bloke serving us in a certain boozer in kirkintilloch didnt even know that they provided wifi in the first place. probably still doesnt. it was that pay as you go cloud crap anyway. luckily there are a few, as someone posted, "linksys" networks around said area which was quite unbelievable as one of 'em was a computer "repair" business / shop. which he can find out about for himself :D

    quite amusing...

  35. William Towle
    Thumb Up

    Re: Or if you prefer a pint...

    <quote>Not that I've got round to trying it yet, but apparently the Wetherspoons pub chain also does free wifi these days..</quote>

    [checks blog] 'Spoons moved their free wireless internet out of trial phase last Christmas (article at

    At the time, the stickers in the window suggested you could just switch on and surf and the staff (in my "local" at least, which hadn't been furnished with leaflets) tended to posit the same view; fortunately I'd been able to get a leaflet from another branch. Presumably the situation is better now.

    It was nice to check my email over a great-value beer, in the name of passing the time.

  36. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    My local Costa...

    ...does free wifi - you just ask them for the key and away you go.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    N95 8GB + Unlimited Data Plan = Spot on (When you have coverage)

    I just connect my N95 8GB to my laptop if I need internet on the move (Not that often tbh). It runs just as fast as when you buy the mobile broadband deals with USB modem except I always have my phone on me and it connects to my laptop wirelessly using either bluetooth or the built in Wi-Fi.

    Can use bluetooth if you have Nokia PC Suite installed, or if you want avoid using that software Jokiu do a Symbian-OS App that lets the phone act as a WiFi access point and share it's connection.

    I usually just use the Nokia PC Suite method when i'm using Windows.

  38. Dave Webb

    Dave's free wi-fi

    You can all come to my house and use my wi-fi for free if you're willing to pay silly money for a cup of hot water and tiny piece of cake :)

    Screw the American chains and their rip-off culture of Central Perk style of coffee shops! Free wifi doesn't justify the open-wallet surgery every time I get dragged in for a coffee.

  39. Daniel B.

    @Robert E A Harvey, Free Starbucks WiFi

    Hm... every single Starbucks I know here (Mexico City) has free WiFi. Some other restaurants have "not so free" WiFi, the catch being that you need to be using an ISP at home that has the WiFi service... which isn't a problem with me, anyway; I use one of those ISPs.

    So basically, I've got free WiFi nationwide, either Starbucks-free (no passwords!) or ISP-served (thanks, Telmex/Prodigy!) I didn't even know some patrons rip off WiFi users.

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