|Founder||Niall & Faith MacArthur|
|Defunct||23 March 2020|
|Owner||Pret a Manger|
|Parent||Eat 2008 Limited|
|Footnotes / references|
Registration No. 06522686
Eat (styled as EAT.) was a chain of sandwich shops that was founded in 1996 by Niall and Faith MacArthur and later owned by Pret a Manger. It had 95 branches in the United Kingdom, 75 of which were in London. It announced the closure of its UK stores in March 2020.
The first shop was opened in October 1996 in Villiers Street, London, next to Charing Cross railway station. Founded and run by couple Niall and Faith MacArthur, the company is similar to Pret a Manger insofar as all the produce is freshly made, although it operates from a centralised production facility. The style of Eat outlets was designed by David Collins who also designed the look of Café Rouge.
The business, then owned by Penta Capital who had bought a stake in the firm in August 2005, was bought by private equity firm Lyceum Capital (later re-branded Horizon Capital) in March 2011. Annual sales were £68 million in 2008 and approximately £100 million in 2012. The 2012 profit was £2.7 million. In November 2012, the company opened a £1 million flagship outlet in the Strand, London.
Eat expanded with operations in France and Spain through franchise agreements.
In May 2019, having struggled in an increasingly competitive market and having made a loss of £17m the previous year, Eat was acquired by Pret a Manger. Pret a Manger suggested that it may use the chain's locations to expand its Veggie Pret format to cater for a growing trend towards vegan and vegetarian food.
On 23 March 2020, it was announced that the remaining 90 Eat branded restaurants were to close permanently.
Eat has said that it donates unsold food items to charities and hostels.
- "Niall and Faith MacArthur". The Sunday Times. 26 April 2009.
- Bridge, Rachel (15 January 2006). "From rugs to riches for healthy eating tycoon". The Sunday Times.
- "£39m re-financing at EAT ("the Company") through deal with private equity house Penta Capital | Penta Capital Investment Specialists".
- "Bread winners". The Independent. 29 February 2004.
- Louch, William. "Lyceum Rebrands as Horizon Capital, Raises £200 Million Fund". www.penews.com.
- Hiscott, Graham (21 November 2012). "EAT ready to take it away: sarnie chain expansion starts". Daily Mirror. p. 40.
- Bold, Ben (21 November 2012). "Eat opens Strand concept store". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Pret A Manger eats Eat but vows to go veggie in new stores". City A.M. 22 May 2019.
- Smithers, Rebecca (23 March 2020). "Sandwich chain Eat closes permanently after 24 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2020.