Pret a Manger is an international on-the-go food and drink retailer founded by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham in 1986 with the idea of bringing quality, fresh food and coffee and a personal service to a stagnant and uninspiring British industry.
35 years on, Pret now runs almost 500 shops across the UK, France, USA, and Hong Kong, with additional shops run by franchise partners in US airports, UK service stations, Dubai, Singapore and several European cities. The global business now has a (pre-covid 19) global turnover of c. £1bn, with an EBITDA of c. £100m. In 2018, the international private equity group Bridgepoint sold Pret for a reported £1.5bn to the privately held, German investment conglomerate JAB Holding. JAB holds investments in a number of highly successful consumer brands including COTY, Dr Pepper, Bally and Krispy Kreme, as well as having a significant interest in global coffee brands and a minority stake in the consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser. JAB has pledged major support to help scale the Pret brand internationally. As well as the inevitable opening of new shops around the world, Pret plans a significant digital and technology transformation.
Significant investment in their people and culture, quality of ingredients and delicious recipes as well as their property portfolio has resulted in 32 consecutive quarters of positive like for like growth leading into 2019. 2019 saw a reduction in EBITDA whilst Pret invested in introducing full ingredient labelling to its UK estate. In the wake of the recent global health pandemic, the focus is now on delivering a newly crafted five year plan to ensure the continued growth of the Pret brand and maximize the long term value of the business.
Pret is rapidly accelerating new channels in order to reach customers where they are now, bringing Pret to the people, rather than waiting for customers to come to the shops. This means the creation of Pret’s own digital platform and App for click and collect, b2c and b2b delivery, as well as trading successfully through the marketplace apps such as Deliveroo and GrubHub. Pret is developing subscription and loyalty propositions in which coffee will play a key part. Double digital growth is expected through the digital channels.
In addition, Pret is now selling a range of organic ground coffee and coffee beans directly through their website and in partnership with Amazon. This is likely to lead to more exciting opportunities and partnerships in the future.
These transformational initiatives have been accelerated through the Covid crisis as customer behavior moves faster to digital and usual routines are disrupted. Pret has also focused on reducing its shop numbers during the Covid crisis to a more profitable core estate.
In the US specifically, there are now 45 shops in New York, Washington and Philadelphia and a small Support Centre of 48 individuals based in New York. This team are responsible for Pret’s US strategy and are supported by a global team based in the UK.
As is true of every single one of Pret’s 8,000 employees across the globe, cultural fit will be crucial in this hire. Pret has always taken pride in its uniquely caring, people-focused and egalitarian environment.