Pret A Manger rises again from doubt to double the size of its businesses within five years

Pret A Manger rises again from doubt to double the size of it businesses within five years

October 23 - 2021 Coffee Geography Magazine

Pret A Manger has announced plans to double the size of its business within the next five years, backed by a new £100 million net investment to grow from JAB and Pret founder Sinclair Beecham.

The plans, which include expanding into new international markets, growing its shop estate and investing in new digital capabilities, are the next phase of Pret’s transformation plan – a plan which shifts the business from “following the skyscraper”, to bringing Pret to more people across the UK and beyond.

Pret first embarked on its transformation program during the summer of 2020, as sales fell significantly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accounts filed this week at Companies House, revenue for 2020 was £299m, down compared to 2019 (£708m). Pret’s operating loss for the year before tax was £256.5m.

Prêt à manger

Over the last month however, Pret’s recovery has gathered pace, with trade now approaching pre-pandemic levels, once again making profit and a major recruitment drive underway.  The number of employees now working across the business has grown 28% since the start of 2021, with over 6,000 employees in the UK alone. In addition, Pret employs nearly 8,000 Team Members globally, with Pret runs 550 shops across five markets in UK, USA, France, Dubai and Hong Kong

At the heart of Pret’s transformation plan has been a significant shift in the way the business serves customers, providing food and coffee through new digital and retail channels. A year ago this month, Pret launched the UK’s first Coffee Subscription service, with customers able to enjoy up to five hot drinks every day for £20 a month. The move came alongside new retail partnerships with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Amazon and other leading retailers to sell bake-at-home frozen croissants, granolas, ketchups and coffee for customers to enjoy at home.

As Pret continues its transformation, the business will continue to invest in its customer loyalty program, while also putting a renewed focus on menu development and product innovation. The launch of Pret’s recent autumn menu with the Chicken & Chilli Burrito and Naked Chicken Katsu Baguette marked the return of Pret’s famous record of new recipe launches and product innovation for customers, following a period of slimmed down menus through the height of the pandemic.

As well as continuing to develop its menu and transform Pret’s digital footprint, the business will expand its shop estate in the UK, with more than 200 shops due to be opened in the next two years, largely located in regional and suburban areas.

The first major franchise partnership was signed over the summer, with further agreements expected later this year. Many of the new shops will be located in transport hubs and motorway service stations, further building on Pret’s existing partnership with independent forecourt operator, MFG, and motorway services operator, Moto.

As the company expands, Pret will roll out a recruitment program, aiming to hire at least 3,000 Team Members and Baristas by the end of 2023. This follows news last week that Pret was increasing pay by at least 5% for its UK shop Team Members, in addition to the £1 Mystery Shopper onus and free food on shift.

Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou
Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou

Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, said: “Last year we were in the eye of the storm during the height of the pandemic. Now we have the chance to build a bright new future for Pret.

“What the pandemic has shown us is that even at the darkest moments, more people want to experience Pret – whether that’s customers outside of London and other big cities, new franchise partners who want to work with us here and overseas, investors in our business, or people who want to grow their careers here and be part of what we’re trying to build.

“It’s been an incredibly tough two years, but we have a big opportunity ahead. Last year, we delivered more change than in thirty years of Pret’s history. As we move into the next phase of our transformation, we want to keep the same pace of innovation, but use it drive new growth.

“I would like to thank all the Pret Team as we would not be in this position without their efforts through Covid, as well as a special thank you to our loyal customers who have remained so supportive of our business over the past two years. We’re excited that through our business transformation plan we can continue to serve both existing and new customers in more ways than ever before including through our Coffee Subscription, Pret-at-home ranges and our expansion into new regions. We also extend our gratitude to JAB and Sinclair Beecham our founder for supporting the Pret team and I know everyone involved with Pret is excited for what the future holds."