For the first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview.
Underneath the interview section are reviews/complaints from current and former Pret Staff.
You can still listen to the interview while scrolling below to the many staff complaints. Links to the reviews open in a new window or tab depending on what’s selected.
Or Audio Player:
Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.
The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.
It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.
June 2019 Glassdoor percentage:
45% of staff (all positions incl. Shops staff, HQ staff, Management etc.) recommend working for Pret; 51% recommend the CEO. Occasionally these numbers rise again when suspiciously 5+ positive reviews in a row appear listing each position. But the truth will always surface:
A customer complained on Twitter about how when it is very busy the manager is not helping on the shop floor but sitting in the office. I mention this in my interview as well.
The second Tweet is a response to the CEO’s reply to the above tweet, yet it’s not addressed to his Twitter account nor posted in the same feed as above. I wonder what that’s all about:
NEW Glassdoor review 05.05.2019 from a Team Leader
NEW review on Glassdoor again 08. June 2019 from a Barista in Oxford
01. June 2019 “Exhausting work, slave labour”
UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here > Why is Pret not being Investigated?
Italian: Exploitation, racism …
Rough translation: “Not very professional company and very low paid, little social life. And too long shifts, bullying and racism was everyday routine“
A customer in Chicago commenting on a deceased Pret staff and Pret itself:
»Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. This place is what hell must be like.«
A rare observation and acknowledgement from the outside of the forced happiness/friendliness of staff:
If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I linked from outside Employment Review websites, YouTube, Twitter etc. as well as what I survived in Pret.
When customers who are so impressed with Pret because they only see the outside, the facade through the PR[et] machine, they ask Pret about these complaints and then are too easily sweet-talked into believing that this is just an unfortunate exception. But the truth will always come to the surface, no matter how long it takes.
I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.
I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.
One major reason, but not the only one why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.
In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions to improve work conditions was an inconvenience. When nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager from HQ who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both that can be very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine and that way they used her to get to me, stepping on her as well as my dignity.
On a side note, she is governed under this therapy body who have a commitment right on their front page that I have not seen on other therapy sites: “Our accredited Register status helps to ensure the safety and protection of the public.” I find this odd, as if they have therapists who are not working for the safety and protection of the public. This Development Manager who is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner certainly is not adhering to safety and protection.
I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR, and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. I declined 4 settlement offers not signing anything and survived to speak of the ordeal I went through. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department, and Pret in general claims.
I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even recently on employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites in the long list below.
Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.
The first person ever to stand up publicly against Pret’s terrible work-conditions was Andrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.
In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour to get away from the seriousness and pain, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people hidden behind the shiny PR(et) facade.
Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything, but there may be fake reviews! And also the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out. Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.
True reviews will always continue be written on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.
One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”
Another review also from NY: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.
On the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.
Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!
You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay, discrimination etc.
I did not correct any mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.
Start of the long list
of staff complaints / reviews
Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
“Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.”
“horrible management … management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.”
“Go back to the UK, Pret … I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience…
“Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” Review from 27. June 2018
NEW May / June 2019
11. June 2019 “Nightmare – If you want to feel like a slave, work here. All management who will not accept you if you aren’t one of them…All phonies with fake smiles. They look down on the workers with spite. This company is everything that is wrong with the world.”
11. June 2019 “First world slavery!! – There aren’t any positives the negatives are too many…You don’t need to leave the first world to experience slavery. Pret is a extremely harsh and rude place.”
09. June 2019 NY Barista: “Poor Management and Favoritism – I had basically no work life balance for the almost two years I worked there just to have someone who was only there a few months get promoted to leader because she was friends with management.”
08. June 2019 Barista, Oxford: “Worst place in my life –
Cons: All! Everything is bad! Slave job! Bad managers who put always the blame on you… Learn to be more kind with the workers!”
05. June 2019 Team Leader: “DON’T APPLY – You meet great coworkers that get you through the day … You have disgusting managers that only worry about themselves and their pockets. Never threaten an employee. Be honest and upfront….”
05. June 2019 NY: “Nice people, tedious work – You are doing the job of three different positions because they are low on staff.
Cons: Everything else”
01. June 2019: “Just Ugh…
Pros: Free food, that’s really it. Not much more
Cons: Everything else. You get worked like a slave for pennies – treat it like a VERY temporary job to put cash in your pocket”
01. June 2019 Spanish: “Exhausting work, Slave labour”
“Working in the kitchen is like slavery, they force you to make sandwiches in very little time under pressure, the supervisor/leader is always “screwing” up. When you finished your job you have to stay longer for free. It’s physically and emotionally draining/exhausting. You sweat for 8.65€ (£? as this reviewer is in Edingburgh and Pret’s wage is £8.65). Stop crushing people.
Pros: Free food and coffee
Cons: Slave Labour”
28. May 2019 “massive pressure on kitchen leaders, early hours, stressful environment”
28. May 2019 “Favoritism everywhere, all the hardworking people continuously got in trouble for the lack of job the favorites did.”
27. May 2019 “Robots welcome, humans go work somewhere else!!”
27. May 2019 General Manager (GM): “Pret is great place to work if you want to make some money – on management level. However pressure is so high you can’t rest when you’re off or even on holiday”
27. May 2019 “Work politics, blame games, pressure to deliver highly set targets”
23. May 2019 “Not good – Bad manager and team leader is lazy in the office long hours little wage Not a good company to work for”
23. May 2019 “I did not like working in Pret. My team leader is aggressive, I could not finish my bench in time.
Pros: going home at end of shift
Cons: horrible place”
23. May 2019 Hot Chef: “Thank you, NEXT! Training for me and others mostly happens at home when we are not getting paid. There is no appreciation for those who actually are acting as team members because one tiny mistake and you’re on the chopping block… being made to feel like I don’t matter, daily new rules and expectations”
22. May 2019 “Most Managers are super bad – Get more involved within the shop instead of sitting in the office. Learn to make better rotas.”
22. May 2019 “Do not work here – Management are rude and unreliable. Listen to ALL EMPLOYEES!”
21. May 2019 “-terrible managment -early start at 5:00am -long hours –rotas never ready can’t plan week -GM is stressing us all time -low pay -fake smiling even when feeling down -mistery shopper unfair -too much stress -no team work -manager stress and not available”
20. May 2019 “A lot of the raises that were given have been taken away. Not enough front of house workers”
13. May 2019 “the mystery shopper pressure is too much – every little detail is a problem your hard work is lost by the smallest mistake.”
13. May 2019 “very neurotic environment – everyone is so afraid of little mistakes – management manipulate in fear and are always stressing us. very stressful not worth the pay.
Advise to management: get some psychological help – your leaders are neurotic – what do you do to them?
12. May 2019 “Don’t work at Pret, not recommended! – Huge stress and constant lack of staff. Very bad management. Terrible workplace. No point in giving advise, they don’t care.”
12. May 2019 “Pret A Manger is like the military and a cult!! If you work at Pret you go between brainwash and abuse. You get told nice things and given a few perks but for the peanuts you have to work like an animal”
09. May 2019 NY: “robotic work that eats away at your soul one day at a time. The turnover rate was ridiculously high, and for good reason.”
07. May 2019 “Scrap the bonus and pay us the £1. We work reallly hard.”
04. May 2019 “Stress, discrimination, mental health problems – Do not work there, HR cannot be trusted. Worst place ever. Pret has gotten much worse over the years, cut benefits, even less staff as before. Terrible place.”
02. May 2019 Barista: “Pret soldiers – You’re not a human in their eyes, more like a slave. The management rubbish, they doesn’t care for you. no opportunity, no life.
01. May 2019 “Most staff english is not there first language, so this is often confussing – To speak english and not shout”
April 2019 …
“If you want to know what depression is work at Pret a Manger.”
30. Apr. 2019 “False promises and chaos”
30. Apr. 2019 “Dishonest and incapible managers, long hours, stress, noise, low pay, no room to grow and learn”
27. Apr. 2019 “Constantly understaffed – No one listens to staff members,your advertising ,that you care for people,but it’s often complete opposite-discrimination,abuse no equal rights,constant favorism,most of times managers are in their positions ,because of licking their way up ,not because of hard work or honesty.”
25. Apr. 2019 “Dishonest company”
24. Apr. 2019 “Bad environment”
22. Apr. 2019 “I don’t recommend Pret – What is your training for managers?? Why are many so careless and some so rude and bullying?? What is your problem???”
16. Apr. 2019 “Toxic work environment – very poor management, long hours, fake smiles, too high expectations … stop be racist”
13. Apr. 2019 “bad place to work don’t go there – we give you lot of advise already you don’t listen. it’s only about profit and cutting corners to do all the jobs. not worth”
01. Apr. 2019 “Treated like a slave Rude to new staff Over working So much pressure”
07. Mar. 2019 “Modern slavery
Pros: it does not have anything good
Cons: modern slavery and bad manager”
“Tough – Be careful not to fall in the trap of the happy family: it’s a brainwashing strategy to make you forget you’re just the piece of an engine to them.”
“Getting harder to stay here – In the last 6 months everything has gone downhill, many new standards which make it difficult to focus on customer service and turns us into robots.”
“factory work with lot of pain – Advice to Management: why are you so mean and don’t care for team?”
“Poor Management – If management sucks you’ll be overworked,treated unfairly,lose of standards due to negligence”
“Don’t work for Pret – Discrimiation from managers – bad HR experience”
“not good culture, not clean”
“Wouldn’t recommend this job to anyone. – Too much work for too little pay – Rude and inconsiderate managers”
“Always lacking team members, poorly managed”
“Harrassment, emotional abuse, exploitation of young people – Bad management, non ethical HR, slavistic management of your time at work”
“Terrible workplace, very uncomfortable atmosphere, lazy managers”
“Toxic environment – you are just a number, everyone is pushing you like a slave”
“painful job – pret a manger is painful job. feel like a slave. no time for breath. depress. bad paid. anxiety bad boss.”
“Not good for young people – Physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.”
“Never again – Prêt a Manger is an appealing company from the outside, but once you get in you realise how rotten the sistem is.”
“Painful job – pret a manger is painful job. feel like a slave. no time for breath. depress. bad paid. anxiety bad boss. work so fast. loud and shouts. tired. lot of pain”
“Temporary job to get on your feet – Working for 8 months was easy at first then became very stressful and I couldn’t wait to leave that job. Managers lack management and pushes it off for employees to handle. They sit in the office all day. Play favoritism”
“Don’t even bother – The baristas for some reason act like management and hurl abuse at you. Horrible People”
“Worst company, dishonest, discrimination, lying to young people”
“Would give 0 stars if I could – Most of the managers are also passive aggressive and just generally neurotic and stressed and have a go at you for every small detail.”
NY: “This isn’t the workplace to get to comfortable – Pros: Free lunch traveled frequently benefits and pay – Cons: Most of it’s corporate staff and managers”
“Treated like a slave – Rude to new staff”
Team Leader: “A lot of favouritism, if you don’t lick butts it’s complicated to develop your career there, unless you don’t mind to work there for ages to become Assistant Manager.”
“Exploitation!!! – there is never enough team members we have to work double and pick up the mess manager leaves behind.”
“Not enough staff on purpose – Pret always has low staff. every shop I go has not enough people. Manager is happy when they got big bonus but they got it by team members woking extra hard”
“Tried for a week not good – On my first day a guy got fired he was very upset in the staff room.”
“Didn’t stay long – I spend a few days but it’s not for me. Manager didnt like me. Very hard job. Dont believe the hype.”
“Horrendous Place to Be – Hiring process is robust and Engaging. Sadly its terrible beyond this. Demotivating Team Leads.Grossly biased unless you are from their country/background. Floor was supposed to be cleaned with a Blue Role,By Hand.”
“Sugar-coated Slavery – The worst company I’ve ever worked for. Dishonest. Exploitative. Discriminatory. The HR depertament is a joke and the general managers or operation managers are either highly psychopathic or incompetent.“
“Don’t care about where you are travelling from or change hours – Be more considerate we are not robots”
USA “Treated like trash – Employees were treated like trash -Advice to Management: Treat employees better”
“Nightmare!! – too loud, too fast, too stressful, manager is shouting, not many team members, worked more then 50 hours all the time… The emotional labour of having to always smile and be super friendly is exhausting and also ridiculous. We are retail workers not customer’s friends.”
“Brexit saved me!!! Leaving London – …get training how to treat people nice and fair. terrible bossy attitude.”
“Managers expect you to work like a robot and never get tired or worn out. Customers would get away with shouting at us and being abusive for no reason and the managers would just apologise and offer them some free food to avoid getting a complaint.”
“Floor Leader – extreme pressure for minimal pay -company constantly changing rules and adding standards”
“Team Leader – Rasism, discrimination ,team leader favorism ,screaming at you on daily basis high expectations people working for 2-3 people”
“Modern Slavery – Pros: it does not have anything good -Cons: modern slavery and bad manager”
“Finally found another job and resigned! Do some anger management classes and stop treating your team like slaves!“
Team Leader: “Never again – very poor screening system when choosing management, lots of hr issue unsolved … reconsider the Happy Team, Happy Customer scenario and solve the hr issues from headoffice”
“Not for british – I felt like an outsider in my own country. Train your managers! They look unhappy and stressed. I kept a low key to not become a target and just left.”
“Paris: Charge de travail horrible. – Entreprise a fuir absolument, des rushs épouvantables parfois 7 jours de travails consécutifs sans repos.”
“Never left a job so fast – I worked only a few week in Pret but fell used and stressed out. Expectations is high but no help from manager. Don’t recommend work there. Not helpful manager, stessful, not enough help, small team but lot of work”
“If I could give zero stars I would – Pret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there. Pret looks good from the front but once you work thete it’s a lot of stress and dushonest managers”
Barista: “You can do better – I was stressed out nearly everyday. The manager was very unprofessional and disrespectful. All she cares about was the money and working hard. But the pay didn’t match up with the amount of work. You’re required to do so much and know so much yet no one is taught the correct way. It just began to get too crazy for me. Drama, poor management skills and attitudes everyday.
Toxic work environment”
“to much stress for little pay – bad managers in most shop I worked, dirty work kitchen don’t wash hands, no real training, blamed for everything, no support, bad paid”
“No – The place was always dirty. People wouldn’t take the job seriously. Everyday people would call out. I wouldn’t recommend working at this company. Avoid.”
Italian: Exploitation, racism: “Sfruttamento – azienda poco seria e stipendi molto bassi, poca vita sociale e turni troppo lunghi, bullismo e razzismo erano all’ordine del giorno”
Barista: “Horrible management – management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.” (Note from me, this one is close to my heart as I was bullied during bereavement under HR and CEO’s knowledge and cover-up).
“Intense and stressful environment – The coworkers are very demanding and rude. The managers don’t fix issues with coworkers properly which causes a hostile work environment.”
Barista AND Hot Chef: “Horrible – Pret A Manger is honestly a very unprofessional work environment. I’ve met great people at the job but the job itself is very stressful and not worth the pay. Cons: Horrible management, pay, hours”
“I hate work in Pret A Manger – Treat all fair and don’t push so much. Boring job, learn nothing but have to work so fast. I hate working there!!!!”
“Wouldn’t recommend – There are lot of slogans and promises of awards but when you do well there is no award. Manager is stressed and hectic no time to learn and make mistakes. ”
“Discrimination and favouritism – If you can play games Pret is perfect. Hard work doesn’t count but only when you push teams hard for bonus and not train them. ”
“Unfriendly environment people were too mean”
“Management don’t always train new members or keep up with experienced members”
“Don’t work for Pret when you sick – I have disability from doctor but manager don’t believe me. they push hard no matter when you sick or not.”
General Manager review, London:
“Not the best place to work – Not much support to the management from the Operations Team. Had to work there at least 12 hours, as there was no other manager in the store, due to some HR issue, and hadn’t received the bonus, due to lack of staff which influenced my Family tree…
was left with quite a lot of food waste, instead of having an ability to increase sales.
As well, there was no charity collection, as they always use in their marketing…
As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”
“Other locations were filthy. Seriously… I worked at a relatively new location with staff that enjoyed themselves… but I was sent to a couple other locations at times if they needed help and ooooh was it a different story. There were some seriously gross violations, health and cleanliness wise, as well as duty and customer service wise.
Listen to employees if we say there is something wrong going on… there definitely is.”
Head Office: “Great brand poor management – Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever and constant office politics.”
“Bad experience – don’t be racist”
“Neutral – There is too much tedious work.”
“Employees made the place hell to work”
“They don’t pay leaders enough money. They transfer you from store to store if the gm don’t like you”
Manager: “Standards have dropped in recent years, growing animosity between team members and even their managers, training new employees is very sporadic and not everyone is trained properly, management standards have also lowered, if you’re a manager, good luck trying to have a life. You guys really need to start training people by following a system, not however and whenever you feel like it. ”
“Ehh not worth it at all – Unprofessional staff, youre not even trained properly they just throw you in there and if youre lucky someone who isnt BRAND NEW (btw literally had someone that got hired 4 days before me showing me the ropes) will notice you dont know what youre doing and assist you…not enough breaks…I do not recommend!”
“If you are a team member you are a cleaner – Cons: management, shifts, salary, conditions, timetable”
“Very busy, mentally and physically exhausting – Care more about your employees.”
“Greedy Company – Long hours, very repetitive tasks, Bad management”
“Too stressing for no reason – Rude management – Too many rules”
February 2019 on Facebook regarding the new house for the homeless (marketing):
#68 Pret A Money Hungry Regarding doing charity for the homeless: “The help they do is just for public to bring more customers in. Behind is chaos.”
#69 Pret Abuse of Team Members “Team members are abused by work in terms of quantity of work and responsibilities”
“Pret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there.”
“need to hire different managers, ones that respect staff. the ones there now, shout at staff, don’t understands there circumstances or disabilities”
Review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”
Same comment, new name:
“I am an ex GM. I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.” (Full review in the picture below.)
The “certain venture capitalist firm” this Ex-GM is talking about is Bridgepoint who set the immense target since the 2008 purchase of increasing shops by 15% per year and were set to make a seven times return on their investment in 2018. It is “deal hungry” JAB’s turn now to take the baton from Bridgepoint and squeeze even further the life out of staff. Good luck Pret employees!
“Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had … lots of stress … under payed … long hours/ short brakes … terrible management … really unflexible schedule.”
My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:
Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks.
Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.
A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!
Quote: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”
A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.
“One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.”
Quote: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company…”
This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.
From YouTube ca. February 2018
— and —
— and —
From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.
“The idea of proper training is also rediculous – Most people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”
Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!
“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”
“If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret … Being made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.”
and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).
“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”
My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.
— 4 months later: —
“Further to my previous comment [scrolling up above this review] about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”
“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.
Alot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”
“Please get the bullies out – Forced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination …
“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.”
“Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”
“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthless … get down from that high horse you’re on”
“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”
“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”
“If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”
“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!
“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!”
“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.
“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.” “Favoritism with management … No integrity … A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo. …
“The brainwash is real” “The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. … managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)
“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!
“Management … has no clue how to manage people”
“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated“ “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.“
“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.”
“Horrible training, too many lies” “Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Advice to Management: Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”
“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” … really unprofessional and have very low management skills.”
“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”
“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”
“Most of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from”, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”
“Worst company to work for” … managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)
“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)
“I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”
“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”
My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.
Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt”
Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings”
Pret A Joke “You have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.”
Pret A Nothing “didn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.”
Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”
Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops. … Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!”
Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”
Pret A Scream “One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.”
Pret A Manager “the staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck”
Pret A No Respetar “Los managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”
“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)
“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)
“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”
My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!
“Good but not perfect” … management should do their jobs
“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”
NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.
“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”
My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!
“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”
“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”
My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!
“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.”
“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!
“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.
“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”
“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”
“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”
“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”
“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”
“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”
“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”
“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!
Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”
“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”
“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”
“Team Member” “Managers are pain”
“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”
“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”
“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”
“Eh” “The management is terrible.”
“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”
“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”
“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”
“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”
“The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”
My response to this review: This person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it gotten worse.
“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!
“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”
“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”
“General Manager“ “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones. Advice to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”
“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)
“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”
“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”
“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”
“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”
“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”
“just terrible” “Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”
“working at pret” “Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)
“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…” “Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution”
“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”
“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them. Advice to Management:get over yourselves.”
I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….
“Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave. Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”
“DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”
They hire if you don’t know the language
(That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).
Other review site “Indeed”
to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)
Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)
Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.
….. and so on.
In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.
@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.
Thank you for reading.
I take back what I wrote at the end of this “video” that Pret has a “good” heart after what I’ve been through and the customers’ deaths, but I leave the “video” as a reminder of Pret’s “legacy” with what I went through and the above list of staff complaints.
I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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