Pret a Manger

Pret a Manger (Europe) Ltd
1 Hudson’s Place Victoria London SW1V 1PZ Telephone: 020 7827 8000 Fax: 020 7827 8787 Email:

Since it opened in London 1986, Pret a Manger has become firmly established as one of the leading sandwich shop chains and a byword for high quality, freshly prepared food. A private company, Pret owns 200 shops in the UK, 20 in New York and 10 in Hong Kong. Pret employs nearly 4,000 people, 3,887 in the UK. Pret continues to expand. It opened 32 new shops in 2008, 23 in the UK, and recruits new Team Members every week. Turnover for 2008 is projected to be £222m with an operating profit before interest and tax of £17.7m.

About the organisation
Pay and Benefits Training and Development Career Development Working Conditions Company Culture
Pret has 110 shops in London and 90 in the regions and airports. The traditional format of the ‘City takeaway’ is changing and many new shops have a more café or coffee lounge feel, appealing to tourists and shoppers. The airport shops, including Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5 and Gatwick South, are massive operations. Pret is now ‘motoring’ in the US, with a slightly different and focused offering aimed at healthy women and hungry men, which roughly translated means more salads and more meat. What you do see in all Pret restaurants are the words ‘Just Made.’ Pret slavishly sticks to a few key principles: simple, freshly prepared food on the premises, using stylish ingredients you would recognise from your own kitchen. The Pret larder has been extended, with no fewer than 117 new products launched this year, and now includes offerings such as vitamin drinks, fresh carrot juice and Viennese-style luxury coffees. Pret is sensitive to price points too, introducing products below £2.50 such as slim baguettes. “Whatever your pocket is, Pret will be able to look after you,” says chief executive Clive Schlee.

Pret opened in London in 1986 when college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe insisted on making ‘proper’ sandwiches using natural, preservative-free ingredients. The two had little business experience but were rather good at creating the sort of food they craved but couldn’t find anywhere else. Good, natural food is sacred to Pret. So too is friendly service, and a pleasant environment. Its sandwiches and other offerings are freshly made throughout the day in each and every Pret kitchen – one of the things that make Pret special.

Biggest plus
A great team-based culture, a real passion for food.

Greatest challenge
Managing to avoid changing it as it grows.




Pret also offers doubled bonuses for the two best mystery shopper ratings.Pret a Manger Pret now has private equity firm Bridgepoint as its principal shareholder.” ‘The Team’ means a close integration of the shops and head office. raffles. with Pret staff voting on which go into the range. Pret has strived hard to develop hot products that don’t require the customer to wait while they are cooked. or ‘Velvet Jolts’. the same recruitment policies. Pret is also renowned for its enormously diverse culture. everybody receives a share of the profit and bonuses across the board can be substantial. kinder.50 price point. We’ve not been pushed into anything that doesn’t fit with the Pret story and our measured rate of expansion. easier place to work and shop.” says Schlee. wearing the uniform. it is like splitting a cell. not change it. at levels 114-131% ahead of other company averages. General and assistant managers receive a bonus based on sales. chief executive) » 208 207 BRITAIN’S TOP EMPLOYERS 2009 . fresh carrot juice. from food ingredients to promotion opportunities to reporting financial performance. Team Members up to manager level are paid hourly. Performance-related pay has been introduced within the shops. clear talking and teamworking. “Whatever your pocket is. and smaller baguettes at a £1. “These are passion. At the core is a deep respect for the motivation of Team Members. To work at Pret you must have not only a respect for but also a real passion for food. It employs many different nationalities. We know from recruiters that these bonuses really set Pret apart. and how to get the wheels turning. Twice a year every Head Office employee spends two days (‘Buddy days’) in a shop. “There are three behaviours that we expect to see in all Pret people. The top three managers have their bonus tripled while the next seven managers see their bonus doubled.” says Wareham. These have led to the introduction of luxury hot drinks.” Pret people really ‘own’ their sandwiches. Pay and Benefits “We pay our hardworking staff as much as we can afford rather than as little as we can get away with. each member has three votes and two of these must go to shop-based people rather than head office management. “When people join we want to see a massive love of people and of food. based on mystery shopper visits. Company Culture Pret has built a strong culture that its people are really proud of. then sales will follow. Over time it anticipates that transactions will migrate to touch cards like Oyster. personal targets and quality standards that can add up to 30% of salary. An employee has to be nominated by members to be invited to join. Pret’s compensation stands out at Team Member level. community and respect. Pret has become very good at developing heat retention packaging and new products like its Italian Prosciutto Artisan Baguette have become roaring successes. which has seen dance classes for the queues. “The behaviours we expect of Pret people are passion. BRITAIN’S TOP EMPLOYERS 2009 Innovation and Creativity Pret was aware that CHIP and PIN credit cards would be difficult to introduce without lengthening queues and increasing ‘fumble time. Every quarter. “They have been extremely respectful of the Pret culture and the Pret brand. Pret is quite transparent in all that it does. gross profit.” says Danilo Martinelli. Head office staff are rewarded for meeting environmental as well as financial targets. The best service idea to Wow! customers.” says Andrea Wareham. Pay is based more on you as an individual – the bonus on how your shop is performing. “And you won’t get them caring about sandwiches if they don’t care about people. two best quality surveys and two best manager-controlled profit figures. If the company does well. with resulting scores above 90% providing an extra £1 an hour. getting up early.” says Wareham. Each day you can climb another rung on the ladder. aimed at helping Pret become a better. director of People. Pret A Manger means ‘ready to eat. Prizes this year include an expenses-paid trip to New York for an entire shop. We have an almost religious duty to develop all Team Members on the way up. Pret will be able to look after you” (Clive Schlee. ‘The Pret Recipe’ is in fact an articulation of how it wants its people to run the shops. Online idea submissions are reviewed each month from the thousands of bright ideas put forward. clear talking and teamworking” (Andrea Wareham. for example a red tie or scarf! There’s also a category for best new food product idea. There are two categories. general manager of the Victoria shop. and free coffee and sandwich for any customer wearing the day’s designated accessory. each week.” says Schlee. working in teams and attending social events. Shareholding is possible through the Partners in Pret scheme. The company is determined to maintain.’ after all. “It’s a huge incentive. Pret identifies the highest achieving shops.’ So Pret developed in conjunction with HSBC a solution that waives the requirement of a PIN. director of People) Pret has its own in-house ‘ideas department’. with the company taking the risk on orders below £15. with the same shop-opening ceremony. “We want to get a focus on getting the people-products-service right. and the same values. and highly values the cosmopolitan flavour this gives the company. As the business grows.

many of whom come from Europe which is ahead of the UK in food recycling. and empty packaging. rising by one day per year worked after five years’ service to a maximum of 38 days.” says Wareham. food and tea bags. “Previously they were trying to do everything.000 worldwide Office location: London head office. Currently.” says Schlee. Holidays are 28 days including Bank Holidays. Pret believes that air freighting food and veg is completely unnecessary and (with the exception of basil leaves) it doesn’t do it.’ The Pret Foundation Trust supports many different charities but primarily the Pret Charity Run – literally a drive to feed the homeless. 4. “It makes people feel valued and engenders a genuine teamworking atmosphere. offering amazing service. this issue has been solved. 75% of managers began their Pret careers as Team Members. and its own efforts including a big auction event – Julian Metcalfe donated two days’ use of his Aston Martin while Clive Schlee threw in a week’s skiing! Pret has really grasped the food recycling problem by the scruff of the sandwich box – the only fast food company in the UK to really do so.887 in the UK. “It has to be done in that order too. the company throws a massive party. and instructions to switch off lights and air conditioning and to print paper and emails only if strictly necessary.Pret a Manger “When people join we want to see a massive love of people and of food” (Danilo Martinelli. Smaller shops often need better managers and with pay now based on individual ability. Progression for general managers used to mean moving from a smaller to a larger shop.000 each year. “Someone can join as a Team Member and if they are proficient and excel could be a general manager in two-and-a-half to three years. Some have passed into Pret legend. Pret’s recycling project in the shops has food disposal stations that segregate liquids. Pret Foundation raises funds by donating profits from certain products (for example the Tuna Baguette and Christmas Sandwich). This year Pret has added a graduate recruitment programme. with a target of 96% recycled. free-range chicken and Rainforest Alliance coffee in Pret products. Team Members vote on new recruits and only one in 20 is successful.” says Wareham. There is a rigorous recruitment process. hour-to-hour issues and become more of a leader. delicious food and drink. Fairtrade mango. Pret runs many courses at its hectic Training Academy in Victoria (most of which have nothing to do with sandwich making).” With well trained people below them. general manager) Corporate Social Responsibility Pret doesn’t believe in long-winded ‘eco policies’ that rarely ring true.5m in developing this project. Pret examines each part of its business that affects the environment and establishes a list of priorities under the banner ‘Making Sustainability Stick. loose change boxes in the shops. Wherever possible Pret buys British and seasonal produce and insists on very high standards of animal welfare.” says Wareham. Twice a year. they can now rise above many of the day-to-day. a well-loved shop. “We’re probably ahead of our customers on this but employees. “The effect on general managers has been amazing. There has always been a clear training programme for Team Members up to line management but a big step this year has been the creation of the Pret Academy to act as an umbrella for all training and offering a clear pathway for all managers. Previously shops dropped off food to hostels directly or outsourced delivery to a charity. taking the whole operation in-house including three full time employees and a dedicated fleet of six electric vans to distribute food at a cost of £250. Career Development Pret has a strong tradition of developing its people. That’s why you will find Wiltshire cured ham. 209 BRITAIN’S TOP EMPLOYERS 2009 Facts and figures Total number of staff: 3. are really pleased. That means focusing on getting six things right: having the right people. china mugs instead of paper cups. shop profitability and growing sales.” Thermo mugs instead of paper cups. managing a waste budget. “We’ve spent £0. which supports Pret’s move to its more café-style proposition. There are also flexible and part-time hours working contracts that can be tailored to suit individuals. With a dedicated Sustainability Manager. The latter role has been split into front of house and kitchen. Everyone at Pret is invited.” says Wareham. In Hudson’s Place there are similar recycling stations. Alaskan wild salmon. and asking customers whether or not they want a paper bag all add to the effort. Pret has now assumed this responsibility with real gusto. 20 in New York. 10 in Hong Kong Industry sector: Food retail Turnover: £222m BRITAIN’S TOP EMPLOYERS 2009 210 . Another recent development is improved clarity of the roles of general manager and assistant manager. notes to switch off PCs and monitors. 200 shops in UK.