The Best thing that happened to Pret A Manger


… is CEO Clive Schlee in terms of PR, marketing and presenting a well polished facade. But the CEO is not the best thing that happened to staff. Him being approachable and friendly is acting while staff suffer and are being fooled. I am a former Pret employee of 10 years and have survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement under Pret’s leadership. My interview on a podcast at the bottom of this page.

No matter how many customers died, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, several hospitalized and multiple ignored warnings: the CEO will fix every mess with an approachable smile.

Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl” and I survived his “friendliness” to publicly speak about my ordeal and many other staff complaints I collected onto one page: Selected Quotes and long List of Reviews and comments on the web.

How easy it is to take a few former homeless people who are vulnerable and easy to be manipulated, taking them to Schlee’s PRivate PRoperty in Austria for a hike, or going to Stone Hedge and now giving them accommodation and a low paid job, separating them from regular shops, as quoting Schlee they don’t want to keep them “too exposed” being slow to “integrate” them into regular shops.

In the meantime regular shops are harsh places with poorly trained bullying managers who are tasked to reach high target and profit, so that Mr. Schlee can pocket his £30 Million. So, what does he compensate this poor treatment of staff with?

Yep, good deeds via charity.

I posted several blog entries on the facade that Clive Schlee like the Ronald McDonald Clown does for McDonald’s, Clive does for Pret. Clive is the good cop, shop management are the bad cops, but all have one goal, squeeze as much “productivity” out of staff to maximize profit. And in all this throw in some good works and lots of free coffees for customers (that are paid by raised prices) and the public is hypnotized and lulled in to sleep.

With all things in life where we want to believe a facade and are shocked beyond believe when the quiet neighbour next door who was always so involved in the community turns out to not be what everyone around him believed. The truth always comes to light about a company, person, system, ideology…




Some blog posts I wrote regarding Clive Schlee:


Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile TearsClive Schlee not acting on customer deaths until this became public.

The “Fallen Stars” of Pret – Regular staff have a different story behind the scenes. Yes, there are good shops and good managers as well, but I worked in over a dozen shops and have only worked with 2 maximum 3 managers who were good and “normal”. The majority is terrible management.

The Great Pret-ender (Genius of the Crowd)

Pret Poets Society Explaining the different job roles in Pret shops and reviews from those.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Another writing to Clive Schlee


… and some other indirect posts on the overall atmosphere behind the Pret facade.


2018-01-07 I Hate Pret Facebook Page2

Facebook group since 2011 that Facebook hides on behalf of paying companies like Pret



2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

Former Pret staff who was fired for starting a Union



2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Former IT Analyst having worked in HQ


17 Odd

Former Purchasing Director NYC


2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Former Corporate Employee NYC



2018-10-15 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR




Brutal Nightmare

YouTube comment towards the bottom


10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A comment from a customer in Chicago who knew a deceased Pret employee


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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints



I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.




Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of,, and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present:,, unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

22 thoughts on “The Best thing that happened to Pret A Manger

    1. Yes, especially for people in Britain. Someone from anoyher European country just yesterday encouraged me to keep speaking to people, but to Americans, as people in England don’t care and are apathetic. That’s a good point, but at least people do pay attention now, and London especially is a melting pot of nations.

      Also, a Pret employee on Facebook started speaking some super clear words!! I am worried for that person, as he just put a target on his back, people start to find courage to speak out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s just the typical “Foreign Branding” many companies do. Up until the “scandals” broke that put Pret in the spotlight, whereas before the public was lulled in, most people believed when Pret kept saying that it was founded in 1986 by the two colleague friends college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe, but since the press stated digging after the customer deaths, people more and more found that it first started in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman but it didn’t succeed, so the two friends took it on.

        Even Wikipedia changed their entry after having posted that Pret started in 1986 by the two.

        Pret A Manger means “Ready To Eat” as it is a fast-food place where food is not cooked to order, but ready on the shelves for purchase and consumption.

        Julian Metcalfe a few years later started the sushi chain itsu where Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret is partly an owner and one of the directors as well, katschink katschink…

        I don’t know what the motivation for the name of Pret was except that Jeffrey Hyman took it from Pret A Porter “Ready to Wear” off the rack.

        But my hunch is that because Britain was not known for its “cuisine”. I moved to London in 1994 and the food was terrible! (Sorry for any British readers!) It was bland, no taste, white bread everywhere. This of course has changed big time now.

        But I suspect that a French name was taken to lure customers in to think they’re eating world famous FRENCH cuisine. That’s just my guess.

        My favourite foreign branding which is so clever is by the brothers from the Bronx who started an ice cream brand but wanted to use another name sounding Scandinavian, particularly Danish as Danish dairy products were known for its quality.

        But the name of the Danish sounding brand means absolutely nothing, it’s a completely made-up word with an Umlaut to help coming across interesting and “exotic”.

        And thus Häagen-Dazs conquered the world!

        There’s a lot of foreign branding going on, you may have come across the UK based coffee chain “Caffe Nero” (meaning black coffee) with their sub text “The Italian Coffee Co.” but it isn’t Italian, its founder is American who lived in Italy and started the brand in the UK.

        I worked in Nero before I started in Pret.

        Again, foreign branding to make people think it’s Italian, but “The Italian Coffee Company” merely means that it is Italian style coffee, not that it is AN Italian company. Very cheeky.

        So, Pret being British, but British food not being known for its “cuisine”, a French name had to help.

        Same with Häagen-Dazs as American ice creams weren’t that amazing and not enough flavours known. Caffe Nero to lure in even Italians. And I have to say Nero’s coffee is my favourite from the cafe chains, very roasty tasting and strong!

        And whatever else all the other foreign brandings are out there, especially when they use Umlaute Ä Ö Ü to make it more interesting while being British or local where-ever you are.

        Sorry, didn’t mean to give a “War and Peace” version, but I find foreign branding interesting and how psychology works. Even until recently because of all the press Pret has gotten, many people on Twitter just recently realized that it is Pret A Manger NOT Pret A Manager! 😀

        That’s how little people pay attention to letters and words and inquire on meaning etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, there’s so little UK stuff here, despite the colonial origins and connection mainly due to the EEC, which might shortly change. There was a lot of anger over here when England dropped a lot of Australian trade due to the EEC trade, and we went elsewhere. My parents brought us from England to Australia in the 60s, so we lost touch with the culture. What a fascinating web is that company! Yes, I wondered about the name, it reminded me of a French term pret a porter or ready off the rack.


      3. Yes. I don’t know anything about trading and the mess between countries, except the LOUD USA of course. And I have to say (I shouldn’t) that I will never say anything against Pret A Manger’s food, it really is a market leader in the fast-food industry, even though it has become too fancy with a lot of complicated ingredients that stress staff out having to assemble products in such a fast pace.

        My “campaign” is against the behind the scenes BS of Pret and Pret being so dishonest with all their bogus slogans. But I am fair enough to say the food itself is good, and if Pret wasn’t such a discriminating and bullying company, it would really be a great fast food chain. But as usual, if it looks and sounds too good to be true I now always take a closer look if I only know a place from the outside.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, but it’s with most companies who become so huge, because their product is good. Amazon is one of the biggest workplace bullies, YouTube is full of hidden camera investigations in warehouses, but their customer service is next to nothing because it’s not service to people but service to their pockets.

        Pret is particularly nasty in that they have all those psychological slogans in place, where McDonald’s doesn’t. Everyone knows McD is low paid, treating staff bad, zero hours, now all those sexual harassment issues surface…

        And Pret has been clever for years with their PR and CEO being approachable. It’s with people and organizations, or take the nice neighbour from next door who was so helpful and quiet and then they are exposed of a crime or whatever thing that surprises the neighbours.

        That’s why I go so blunt against Pret. I don’t go so heavy against McD because they don’t make such lofty claims that Pret makes.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, I actually closed my Amazon account. I rather go extra miles to get a product or don’t even get it if Amazon only sells it, than to give any penny to such a greedy slave master. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has really taken on Amazon and other terrible companies like the Walton family, but unfortunately unless there’s a change in laws and laws enforced the masses are hypnotised, fool and chained to these people,and after all those just people happened to be powerful, but the biggest tyrant fell.


      6. They take over a lot of things, Washington Post etc. Monopply. I looked up a new online bank recently that sounded very customer friendly and low on fees jist to find that Amaon is behind it. But there are ways and businesses that are strong and I refuse that I don’t have choice.

        In Germany an alternative delivery company opened up, I forgot the name, but they are seen to becone a serious competition for Amazon in Germany.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. P.S> come to think of it, my website/blog that I named “late night girl” is a type of unintentional foreign branding, I do get a lot of “likes” and messages on Facebook from males, especially from a certain demographic while they completely ignore my writings and that the picture I use is FULLY dressed with the back to the view, a cap and not one bit of skin showing. AND the picture is from Canva and is actually a MAN! 😀

        I never had to block so many people & messages in my life! 😀

        As my insanity is hopefully coming to an end, I want to “rebrand” my Pret campaign and already use as the main URL!

        But at least, even when Pret has a laugh, using the term that Clive Schlee patronized me with should serve as a lesson for him to stop putting his foot in his mouth and discriminate against people who are either bereaved or become/are mentally unwell.

        In the summer of 2018 I photo-shopped the picture as it was very hot outside and posted on Twitter for a few days as a joke. If I’d post this on FB, I would need to shut down my inbox!! Again, this is NOT me, but it worked as a joke!



        Liked by 1 person

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