When a latte costs the same as three pairs of flip flops, Primark café prices just don’t add up

Primark is popular for many reasons, but the main one is its low prices. From dirt cheap kids’ clothes to bargain bras, shoppers can save a fortune compared with other high street retailers.

So you’d think that a trip to the store’s cafe would be a low cost affair too wouldn’t you, a bit like Ikea. You don’t want to be going there for budget furniture only to blow it on some expensive grub to fuel your shopping trip, hence the popularity of its low-cost hot dogs and meatballs.

Yet in Primark, the prices are a bit more puzzling. When you can pick up three pairs of flip flops for almost the same price as a latte, something doesn’t quite add up. Admittedly, the footwear is cheap and cheerful, but they’ll see you through the summer and for 90p a pair you can’t expect more than that.

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It was during our weekend visit to The Trafford Centre’s Primark, that we decided to try out the cafe, which is located upstairs close to the children’s section.

Having only opened with the lifting of pandemic restrictions, in what is a relatively new store, there’s a fresh feel about the place.

The cafe at The Trafford Centre’s Primark store

It’s light and airy and there were plenty of empty seats as we took a pew while deciding on what to eat.

There wasn’t much to help us choose, mind – a sign at the entrance informed us that they’re waiting on a ‘new and improved menu’.

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The food wasn't limited to what's in the fridge, but you'd never know
The food wasn’t limited to what’s in the fridge, but you’d never know

There was a list of drinks next to the till, some food and drinks inside the fridge cabinet and after that it was anyone’s guess.

Even the kid’s meal deal poster on the wall was causing confusion as it stated sandwich, crisps, fruit bag and drink for £3.95 when crisps aren’t even part of the deal.

After opting for a tuna panini and two sausage bars, it was only by overhearing other customers ordering teacakes and sausage rolls that we discovered the menu was actually wider than it seemed.

I like to think they were just regular customers or asked more questions than us, rather than members of some secret Primark sausage roll club.

Tuna panini and two sausage bars, £3.95 each
Tuna panini and two sausage bars, £3.95 each

The food got a mixed response – I was happy with my tuna melt, but my two teenage companions weren’t as enamored with their sausage bars, baps, rolls, whatever you want to call them. Made with stone baked bread, you’d expect them to be tough, but these were rock hard once heated. After paying £3.95 a pop, they were encouraged to chew harder.

The cakes softened the blow mind and the desserts really are the beauty of this place.

Our cashier was right when he described the salted caramel brownie as ‘bad in a good way’ and I’d never even heard of a cronut let alone sample one, but I’m glad I did.

Two salted caramel brownies and one cronut, £2.75 each
Two salted caramel brownies and one cronut, £2.75 each

It resembles a donut but is made from croissant-like dough and is filled with flavored cream.

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They were tasty, but again at £2.75 each, they’re not exactly giving Greggs a run for their money.

Onto the drinks and I was told the milkshakes, at £2.75 each, looked nicer than they tasted. They finished them off but there was a powdery aftertaste from what was left unblended at the bottom of the glass. I think we’re talking flavored milk rather than ice cream here.

As for my latte, it was a decent quality brew and in any other cafe I probably wouldn’t question the £2.65 price tag.

But when three pairs of flip flops are costing just 5p more, I can’t be the only one thinking something is out of step.

In total the bill came to £28.25. That’s enough for a bagful of Primarni goodies!

The milkshakes looked nicer than they tasted
The milkshakes looked nicer than they tasted

A Primark spokeswoman said: “While our cafes are operated by independent businesses, we work with them to ensure all our customers have a great in-store experience and are always looking to continually improve their service in keeping with our own high standards and in response.” to customer feedback.

“New and improved signage is planned across all our cafes in the coming weeks including our Trafford store, with full menu and pricing options, all priced in line with competitors. We’ve always keen to hear from all our customers and pass on all feedback received to our cafe operators as well as our own teams.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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