Pret A Manger: How Windows Virtual Desktop is supporting global growth

Posted by piksel

Global growth is every retailer’s dream goal. But, when expanding your retail business on an international scale, there’s only so much help an inflexible desktop infrastructure can offer.

In order to achieve the security, flexibility and freedom necessary to make your retail business boom, you need to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) approach.

This was certainly the case for Pret A Manger. With their continued international growth, they required a modern VDI solution to accommodate their goals.

Who are Pret A Manger?

Behind their sandwich fridges and coffee machines, Pret A Manger is one of the UK’s biggest food and drink shop success stories.

From their first, humble London-based venture in 1986, they now run shops in over 500 locations globally and continuously strive to reach new consumer needs.

But in order to achieve continued growth and implement a cloud-first strategy, Pret needed to expand on their on-premise VDI solution.

Identifying the problem

As Pret branched out their business, they quickly realised their on-premise infrastructure needed improvement. In order to branch out, they needed a solution that would support the roll-out of virtual desktops across their global stores.

Their on-premise capacity constraints, as well as their desire to start segregating certain services within their business, meant that Pret needed to respond to these challenges quickly.

Empowering the European stores with a modern VDI approach

Pret A Manger had ambitions to expand their business, invest in security and provide their European stores with the best, streamlined desktop experience.

Piksel Retail matched these ambitions by harnessing one of Microsoft’s newest technologies: Window’s Virtual Desktop.

Microsoft’s WVD, cloud-based solution provides Pret end-users with a connectable endpoint. The solution gives them the ability to migrate existing desktop resources from their on-premise environment into the cloud. This means each store can provision their own session hosts and scale their environment as required. What’s more, Pret is also able to define standardised ‘images’ for hosts and deploy them repeatedly within minutes.

Pret have adopted this solution across 22 pilot stores, but are looking to roll out the service to all of their global franchises.

Pret’s flexible scalability and future ambitions

The Windows Virtual Desktop solution benefits Pret A Manger by allowing them to:

  • Provision new shops quickly and easily – it’s as simple as assigning permissions to a user and allowing them to log into the environment
  • Run multiple sessions of a single session host, which provides licensing benefit
  • Benefit from Azure’s PaaS lower management overhead
  • Leverage existing security measures, such as multi-factor authentication
  • Replicate existing desktop ‘images’

In the future, alongside Piksel Retail’s technical support and consultancy, Pret A Manger are exploring additional opportunities with public cloud services.

Whether it’s being able to stream cloud applications onto each desktop environment, or select their region to reduce latency, Pret A Manger are geared to further increase their flexibility and productivity.


We’re pleased to be partnering with WVD – the roll out of this particular project was very smooth and delivered on time. We found the Piksel Retail team very responsive and quick to assist with our questions. We look forward to working together in the future.


Saville Midgley

Global Head of Infrastructure

Pret A Manger

Topics: vdi, pret a manger, windows virtual desktop