The High Street Coffee Chain Breakfast Breakdown

Guide 11th November 2019

They’re far from the refined, table-serviced restaurants us Breakfast Londoners like to frequent, but their place in our weekday morning schedules can’t be questioned. With one standing proudly on almost every street corner, these spots serve as safe-houses from our 8am rush hour madness. When we’re at our weakest (sleepy and caffeine-reliant – self-control dwindling), they know exactly how to tempt us towards their pastry-laden counters. SO, when it comes to their food offering, which coffee-house chain takes the crown? Read on for a deep-dive into our high street cafe breakfasts.

Pret a Manger 

Length of 8am weekday queue: Under 1 min

Despite its French title (Pret a Manger translates to ‘ready to eat’), Pret is just as much of a Londoner as we are – the first branch opened in Hampstead, London in 1984. Their breakfast menu tells another story though – lots of croissants and brioche, not a single British baked bean. Alongside numerous buttery baked goods were a variety of ‘bowls’. These are effectively just teeny tiny yoghurt pots with a light sprinkling of toppings… aka only ‘ready to eat’ when added to a more sufficient stack of pancakes and/or generous bowl of granola if you ask us.


Length of 8am weekday queue: 3-4 mins

As a fairly health-conscious 20-something year old, (excluding holidays, hangovers and Sunday nights at the cinema), I’m often on the hunt for good quality low cal meals, and Starbucks served up just that. On the hot menu was a good looking scrambled egg dish, a couple of oatmeal options, plus a tofu, spinach and mushroom breakfast burrito – a welcome change from the array of sugary goods I’d been presented with until now.

Costa Coffee

Length of 8am weekday queue: Under 1 min

Remember the days of convincing your mates to buy a Starbucks Frappucino over Costa’s far inferior Frascato?! It seems this chain’s drinks war with Starbucks lives on within the refines of their glassed food counter. Their breakfast offering is very similar to their high street rival, but not quite so thought through – e.g. the inclusion of a ‘cheese twist’ as a common breakfast option… debatable.

Cafe Nero 

Length of 8am weekday queue: No queue

Again, Nero’s menu was exceedingly heavy on the ‘breakfast pots’ and they too classify a ‘cheese twist’ as a morning snack (although at least theirs were dressed up with 2 types of cheese and dijon mustard). Apparently at Nero they twist desserts too – the ‘Chocolate twist’ was effectively a pain au chocolate that had been strangled and mercilessly left out to take its last breath in front of a long line of hungry commuters – RIP.

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