Pret a Manger
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (April 2016)|
|Headquarters||City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom|
Number of locations
|374 (April 2015)|
|United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, France, United Arab Emirates|
|Clive Schlee (CEO), Nicholas Candler (COO)|
|Products||Sandwiches, salads, sushi, soups, coffees and snacks|
|Revenue||£ 510 Million (2013) |
|£ 41 Million (2013) |
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The name Prêt à Manger (French pronunciation: [pʁɛt‿a mɑ̃ʒe], ready to eat) was coined by Hyman's sister Valerie Tomalin, based on prêt-à-porter, French for "ready-to-wear" clothing. The outlet focused on gourmet, ready-to-eat food which was inspired by the Parisian ready-to-go shops called traiteurs. The store's design was inspired by steel-and-chrome upmarket sandwich bars dotted in and around Manhattan which Hyman visited very often on food research missions. He was particularly impressed with DDL Foodshow on the Upper West Side and Zabar's on Broadway.
This first store was located opposite Hampstead Underground station, had its own kitchen, and offered ready-to-eat main courses as well as the mini-quiches, filled baguettes Croque-monsieur and other ready-to-go convenience foods which have now become classics. There was also a small cafe area for customers to eat and drink at the front of the store.
Hyman commissioned Mike Earl, then Art Director at Kirkwood's advertising agency, to design the now-famous logo which is much the same now as it was then (See illustration right). Horner Collis & Kirvan developed the advertising and promotion campaign for poster-sites, the London Underground, local press and door-to-door leafleting.
Opening in June 1984, the company traded at 58 Hampstead High Street for eighteen months. After a successful year, the Greater London Council erected scaffolding to repair the roof and takings dropped to below break-even point and the company went into liquidation. It was sold by company liquidator David Rubin to college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe. The two met while studying at the Polytechnic of Central London.
Beecham and Metcalfe had little business experience. Their company claims they "created the sort of food they craved but could not find anywhere else." They opened their first branch near Victoria Station, London.
In 2001, McDonald's bought a 33% non-controlling stake in the USA branch of the company, which they sold in 2008 to private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, owners of clothing retailer Fat Face.
In 2011, its sales were £377 million.
As of 2012, efforts were underway in London to unionise shop employees.
The company emphasises the use of natural ingredients and advertises all sandwiches are made on the day of purchase in a kitchen at each location (with the stated exception of a few small outlets). Food left unsold at the end of the day is collected by charities. Sandwiches are packaged in paperboard rather than sealed plastic.
67% of its trade is in London, where around three-quarters of its stores are located. As of February 2014, there were 289 UK shops, 187 in London, nine in Scotland and two in Wales. There are 92 outlets throughout the rest of the UK. As of April 2016 Pret has expanded to New York (43 stores), Hong Kong (16 stores), Washington, D.C. (9 stores), Boston (6 stores) and Chicago (8 stores). Unlike many other fast food outlets, Pret a Manger does not franchise.
- Hong Kong: 16 outlets, as of April 2016.
- New York: 43 outlets, as of April 2016.
- Chicago: 8 outlets, as of April 2016.
- Washington, D.C.: 9 outlets, as of April 2016.
- Shanghai: 1 outlet, as of October 2014.
- Paris: 14 outlets, as of April 2016. The first outlet in France opened on 9 January 2012. The shop was opened in La Défense a major business district of the Paris aire urbaine.
- Boston: 6 outlets, as of April 2016. Two stores opened in December 2012, in the Back Bay and Financial District. In June 2014, Pret opened its largest American location in Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood. This location stands at 5,335 square feet and can seat 100 people.
- Nice: 1 outlet, as of April 2016.
- Dubai: 1 outlet, as of March 2016. The first outlet in Dubai opened on 16 March 2016 at Dubai International Airport's new Concourse D.
In 1998, the company employed 1,400 people, of whom 19% were from the UK and 60% were from other European Union countries, mainly in Eastern Europe. Pret A Manger employs one in every 14 applicants. Applicants go on a one-day experience day at a shop and their success is determined by the other staff members, who vote the applicant in or not. Many managers and senior executives have come from within the company.
The organisational structure of Pret a Manger is divided between its stores and the main offices. The London head office is the hub for the UK stores, while the office in New York City is the hub for the American stores. Each store contains levels of positions that range from Team Member to the General Manager of the store. Above the in-store manager is the Operations Manager who is in charge of a group of roughly 10 stores, and above that are more senior management positions based out of the offices that are tasked with coordinating an entire region and maintaining communication with the company’s CEO in London. All the office employees are paired with a "buddy shop" where they work at least two days a year.
While the uppermost levels of management are located in the offices, not all the office jobs are above the store jobs in the organizational structure. Pret does not franchise any of its stores, in order to keep management strategies uniform across the entire brand. Orders do not strictly flow from the head offices in a top-down manner; instead, the channel of communication between the executives and the stores is open in both directions.
Pret a Manger promotes an internal culture as described in a leaflet entitled "Pret Behaviours." The Behaviours break down traits into three categories: passion, clear talking and team working – and identify specific behaviours as "Don’t want to see," "Want to see," and "Pret perfect!" The number of Behaviours Pret hopes an employee exhibits increases with one's rank within the company: Team Members should practise around six Behaviours, Managers ten, and the company’s executives all of them.
Affective labour issues
Pret a Manger has been cited as being particularly vigorous in extracting affective labour from its employees. Affective labour (or emotional labour) is work which involves manipulating a person's emotional state.
Pret a Manger demands go beyond traditional requirements for fast-food workers (such as courtesy, efficiency, and reliability) to such tasks as having "presence", demonstrating a quirky sense of fun, and exhibiting behaviour consistent with being inwardly happy with oneself. Pret A Manger uses mystery shoppers to ensure that employees deploy markers of a positive emotional state. This has led to some criticism of the company for overreaching while drawing some praise for the business model.
Pret a Manger Staff Union
In response to labour issues within the company, the Pret a Manger Staff Union was established in 2012 as an independent union with its principal demand being made around calls for a Living Wage. Andrej Stopa, the founder of the union was later sacked from his Pret branch.
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rose 15% last year to £377.3m
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- The Economist: Employment: A new mix - In London, almost one in every nine workers is a foreign citizen. 24 September 1998
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