Pret a Manger expects to see a permanent boost in delivery volumes, with the lockdown accelerating its technology development by three or four years, CEO Pano Christou has told MCA’s The Conversation.

Christou said delivery had peaked around four weeks ago at 40% versus 60% takeaway.

He said he expected this percentage to continue to fall as Pret gets to 300 sites open, but said volumes would be “much higher” than before the virus.

Christou described this as significant given Pret was a predominantly breakfast and lunchtime business, and delivery has usually been most popular at dinnertime.

On delivery, he said: “I think it will be a high percentage of or business when we come though this, much higher than before.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be bigger as we come out of this.

“How big delivery is over lunch we are yet to say. We’re working on making sure we’re on option for people to shop from on delivery, and also we mitigate the costs we incur through third party delivery players.”

He said third party delivery players had been “very supportive” to operators on commission fees during the crisis.

Meanwhile he said coronavirus had “accelerated everything”, particularly the consumer take-up of technologies such as click and collect and e-commerce.

He added: “In the US, technology is more advanced from hospitality perspective then Europe. I knew it was coming, but my sense was it was coming three to four years later then we thought.

“We’ve done a lot of work on click and collect, online delivery, e-commerce. These were already in our roadmap, but we’re now doubling down on those.”