Converting Eat stores
The current proposal is that Pret A Manger will be converting as many of the Eat stores as possible to Veggie Pret brand eateries, which cater solely to vegetarian and vegan diets. This is as a result of rising demand in the market, which has seen growing numbers of people resorting to cutting out meat several times a week or adopting a meat-free diet on a permanent basis.
The first Veggie Pret was opened in September 2016, but it has proven so popular that the four locations across London and Manchester are set to be joined by new branches nationwide.
The sandwich and salad chain will remain open for business as usual until the renovation work gets underway, which means it may take some time for all of the stores to be converted. There are around 90 Eat stores in total, all of which were included in the acquisition deal.
Pret A Manger feels that there will be growth opportunities for both their existing suppliers and new food businesses as a result of the merger, which will see them needing a much larger volume for their product range.
“The purpose of this deal is to serve a growing demand of vegetarian and vegan customers who want delicious, high-quality food and drink options,” said Clive Schlee, the current CEO of Pret A Manger. “The acquisition of the Eat estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo-charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”
Change is clearly ahead for Eat employees, but according to the current management, they have nothing to worry about.
The CEO of Eat, Andrew Walker, said: “It has been a privilege to lead Eat for the past three years and I believe this acquisition creates new opportunities for employees and customers alike.”
There will certainly be more opportunities within food suppliers, like the jobs on offer here. It is not yet clear the scale on which more deals will be brokered, but it is likely to be a vast one if all 90 stores are to be catered for.
Pret A Manger first opened in London in 1986, and they have since managed to expand to more than 500 shops which are spread across nine countries.
It has not been without controversy in recent years, particularly in relation to a food allergy death that was prompted by the lack of ingredient information on packaging. While that case was under discussion, a second death happened – putting the reputation of the company into turmoil.
It has raised questions across the food industry, with many high street chains becoming more open about their allergens and their nutritional information. Pret has also responded: last month, they began rolling out a full list of the ingredients for all of their fresh food. This includes information on anything which could possibly be an allergen, as well as potential contamination that could happen within food processing areas.
Those who are interested in working at the new Veggie Pret stores will likely face stiff competition, as there is no intention to lay off the existing Eat staff – but rather to train them in new systems instead. Still, if you are on the lookout for a vacancy, you can apply for jobs by setting up an alert here about the newest available positions.