Definition of pret
Pret a Manger
1 Hudson’s Place, SW1V 1PZ
Pret a Manger (English pronunciation: /ˈprɛt ə ˈmɑːnʒeɪ/ ) is a British sandwich retail chain now based in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. [ 1 ] However the first shop called Pret a Manger was opened in Hampstead London, United Kingdom 1984 by Jeffrey Hyman [ 2 ] and a group of show business and ad agency shareholders.
The name Prêt à Manger (French pronunciation: [pʁɛt‿a mɑ̃ʒe] , ready to eat) was coined by Hyman’s sister Valerie, who morphed the title from prêt-à-porter, meaning “ready-to-wear”. The outlet focused on gourmet, ready-to-eat food which was inspired by the traiteurs of Paris served in a store inspired by the steel and chrome sandwich bars of New York City.
The store was located strategically opposite Hampstead Underground station, had its own kitchen and offered ready-to-eat French classics. Most of the products were taken away, but there was a small cafe area for customers to eat and drink in the store.
Advertising used poster sites, the London Underground, local press and door-to-door leafleting. The original logo with a hand drawn art-deco typeface, maroon and white house colours are still used.
The company traded at 58 Hampstead High Street for a year. It closed following the erection of maintenance scaffolding outside the shop by The Greater London Council which stayed in place for 18 months. It was sold by company liquidator David Rubin to college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe (who later founded the Itsu chain of sushi cafes), the duo having met while studying property law at the Polytechnic of Central London.
They had little experience in the world of business. They created the sort of food they craved but could not find anywhere else, [ 3 ] opening their first branch near Victoria Station, London. [ 4 ]
In 2001, McDonald’s bought a 33% non-controlling stake in the USA branch of the company, [ 5 ] which they sold in 2008 to private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, owners of clothing retailer Fat Face. [ 6 ] [ 7 ]
The menu includes sandwiches, filled baguettes, soups, salads and coffee. Pret also prepares desserts, such as American muffins, cakes, and croissants.
The company’s marketing claims a passion for food, and that all items are made from natural ingredients. The company says that all sandwiches are made on the day of purchase in a kitchen at each location (with the stated exception of a few, very small, outlets), and that those left unsold at the end of the day are collected by charities that provide food to the homeless. Sandwiches are packaged in paperboard rather than sealed plastic, to emphasize that they are fresh and should not be kept overnight.
85% of their trade is in London, where around three-quarters of their stores are located. As of January 2012, there were 230 UK shops, 168 in London. Pret has expanded to New York (32 stores), Hong Kong (11 stores), Washington, D.C. (5 stores), and Chicago (3 stores). Unlike many other fast food outlets, Pret a Manger refuses to franchise.
In Hong Kong, there were 11 Pret a Manger outlets as of January 2012. [ 8 ]
In New York, there were 32 Pret a Manger outlets as of January 2012. [ 9 ]
In Chicago, there were 3 Pret a Manger outlets as of January 2012. [ 10 ]
In Washington, D.C., the first Pret a Manger outlet opened on 20 January 2009 in time for the Presidential inauguration. Since then four additional stores have opened in DC.
In Paris, the first Pret A Manger outlet in France opened on 9th January 2012. The shop was opened in La Défense a major business district of the Paris aire urbaine. [ 11 ]
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. [ 12 ]