Pret A Manger Staff don’t look Happy

… because they are NOT happy!

.

UPFRONT: please note that in below and current Mystery Shopper reports, Pret has completely scrapped the questions on IF staff members know about allergen. After 2 customers died and only when this became public, Pret included questions to test staff on their knowledge of allergen. But while Pret keeps all the other micromanaging questions, they have stopped testing on life-saving allergen questions.

.

UPDATE May 2021:

Staff tell me that the £100 reward and some other benefits are back now, so below is out-dated, but I leave it like it is to show customers how low-wage staff are pressured for a little more peanuts and fear management. If ONE staff member makes a mistake, the WHOLE Team lose bonus.

.

Update 12. May 2021 on a customer seeing the exploitation in Pret and made a short video:

.

Link

Link

.

This is the third blog entry or YouTube slide I post on a Pret A Manger Mystery Shopper (MS) report. This 3rd report is a recent one from December 2020. Since the pandemic and all the cuts Pret has done, there is currently not even bonus being paid to staff, YET, low-wage workers are STILL expected to be acrobatic clowns tested by weekly Mystery Shoppers.

I write extensively about the Mystery Shopper on several entries and walk the reader through a MS report on: Pret A Manger Service Secrets Revealed and included 2 YouTube slides (at the bottom) for those who don’t want to read long detailed blog entries. The reason it’s so detailed is to show how micromanaging and exploitative Pret is that at least now have cut the MS questions from 32 down to 20. But not paying bonus is even worse than the previous exploitation.

I write this new blog entry because several customers have complained to Pret on Twitter that they don’t want to be asked again and again if they want to buy anything extra. Unfortunately customers don’t appreciate the immense stress and the target for staff to have to up-sell or lose bonus. In below screenshots from a December 2020 MS report, people can see the perfect example of a shop that lost bonus BECAUSE the Team Member (TM) did NOT up-sell the way Pret demands and the fussy Mystery Shopper expected. This particular Mystery Shopper was especially ignorant and arrogant, expecting staff to stretch in all directions.

One of several recent customer complaints not realizing staff have no choice:

Link

.

The following sheet is an example of a weekly rota or plan on which item to up-sell on which day and time of day. Pret staff send me all these pieces of information as my blog is the only “link” between their silent ordeal behind the scenes and the public (and press).

.

And part of a leaked Zoom call video I was sent and passed on to the BBC that later reported on Pret’s “job situation” when it was announced that employment cuts were coming up. In this clip I cut out from the full video, UK Managing Director Clare Clough explains the “Attachment Rate” which is where customers buy extra items when they get a coffee on a subscription service, or in this case with the “20 coffees for £20” voucher. Since the pandemic and loss of profit staff HAVE TO up-sell because that’s where the money comes in.

For some reason the sound is off-sync. Not sure what happened there. I cut this part from the full Zoom call I was leaked to from a Pret employee, some technical glitch happened there. Apologies. But what Clare Clough says is clear.

Also, pay attention to the psychology in wording that Pret HQ always use. Quote “We’ve asked shops to start encouraging people to treat themselves to a croissant or cookie …”

No, Pret DEMANDS staff to upsell or they don’t get bonus as seen further below in the Mystery Shopper report where ONE staff member serving the MS did NOT upsell in a SPECIFIC way.

If the 1 staff member does not upsell specifically, the whole shop Team get penalized by not getting bonus, which in turn adds to bullying, silent treatment, shame, peer pressure etc. (And this is why I name and shame Pret millionaires so publicly and so loudly!)

.

The BBC article that came from this leaked video where CEO Pano Christou announced numbers, profit and the “job situation”: Pret a Manger job cut fears as sales plunge

.

It is disheartening that people do not understand how low-wage staff have to be like acrobatic clowns, kiss butt all day, smile no matter what, during bereavement, depression, illness etc. in order to get just a few extra peanuts and the shop Manager a bigger cut of the quarterly bonus. Low-wage staff don’t realize they have to go on strike to stop this exploitation and abuse by companies like Pret.

Staff get heat from all sides: customers complain, bosses bully to get more profit, Mystery Shoppers comment on the tiniest issue which I scrutinize in detail below. And staff get more depressed, disheartened, careless. It is a wonder that not more customers have died and who knows if or how many staff have caught the virus or even died that Pret keeps under the carpet. We have forgotten that TWO customers have died in Pret and Pret got away with it. Full steam ahead, business as usual. Let the exploitation and carelessness continue.

Recently a Pret shop in Norwich was closed due to a Covid outbreak.

Mystery Shopper Screenshots: (I highlighted and marked in yellow or red a few things to explain the horrible expectation by multi-millionaires to squeeze the last drop out of workers to present a happy facade).

I cannot enlarge the screenshots, so please press “Ctrl & +” to enlarge the picture and “Ctrl & ” to decrease it again (Ctrl & plus / Ctrl & minus). But I quote under each screenshot what I marked to point out the micromanagement and humiliating expectations.

.

Marked in yellow:

»Until further notice, Bonus and Star
Team awards are not payable«

Bonus used to be £1 per hour worked. So if a TM worked 40 hours that week and the shop gets the bonus, they earn extra £40 that week.
An individual TM can get extra £50 or 100 (even if the bonus for the whole team is lost) if the TM is extra nice and kisses butt extra hard. This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) £50. If the overall shop scores are perfect, the TM gets the “Super Outstanding Card” (SOC) = £100. Giving a freebie most likely gets the TM the £50 or £100 cash reward. An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, but just the name of the cash reward for smiling extra hard.
A Star Team Award is when within a quarter a shop consistently gets outstanding cards, bonus and high scores. HQ then gives the shop a few hundred or thousands of pounds to go out to dinner or bowling or whatever. Might sound great, but the high pressure, stress and bullying environment to constantly get high scores defeats the mood to then also go out in your private time. I was always so exhausted from work and the horrible work atmosphere that I didn’t enjoy spending my private time with colleagues and the bullying boss.

So, until further notice staff still have to act like acrobatic clowns and bend in all directions with a big non-stop smile and chatty attitude, yet currently don’t get any cash rewards until further notice. If staff want to continue getting exploited like this, there’s no hope for change!

.

.

If the reader wants to understand the full Pret blow a low-wage Team Member suffers through day in, day out, please read my extensive post on each step of above MS questions and the system behind this on: Pret A Manger Service Secrets Revealed. If even just ONE category is in the red, the whole shop Team lose bonus and get fear managed. If only ONE staff member makes a mistake or doesn’t kiss butt of the Mystery Shopper enough, the whole team can lose bonus if the Mystery Shopper wants to, as it happened in this MS report. Mystery Shoppers seem to enjoy the power they have, and I renamed them to “Misery Shopper”.

.

.

Quote on the top left under “Outstanding Card”:

»Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?«

No 😦

This is the question about any ONE Team Member’s service, regardless if the whole Team got the bonus or not. The added 😦 emoticons are to increase the “disappointment” and stress that staff didn’t kiss butt enough. My colleague can lose us all the bonus by their “poor” service, but I individually can get the £50 Outstanding Card reward if the Mystery Shopper notices me being extra special nice kissing butt. If the shop gets the bonus and all scores are perfect, it would double my reward to £100. But again, since the pandemic not until further notice does Pret pay any bonus or rewards while still sitting on billions. So, instead of getting cash rewards staff get brainwashed and continuously fear managed to keep performing a happy facade.

.

.

Mystery Shoppers have to check if staff wear masks or an exemption badge. Yet, many customers on Social Media complain about the lack of wearing masks and exemption badges. Some shops have ALL staff not wearing masks. The MS is tasked to probe into this because Managers don’t enforce mask wearing.

.

.

I highlighted this to explain to customers that staff have 60 seconds to serve a customer and 60 seconds to hand over the hot drink from the time the customer paid. Mystery Shoppers time it to the SECOND which is extremely patronizing to staff who are rushed off their feet ALL day and then customers complain that their coffee was half empty, cold, too much froth etc. and worse of all Mystery Shoppers complain about “robotic” service! The speed of service is just for ONE purpose, to get customers in and out of shops as fast as possible for fast money flow.

Quote:
“I was served in 32 seconds and was happy with this.”
“I received my coffee in 36 seconds and was happy with this.”

But later in their last comments (at the bottom) complain that, quote: “there was a lot of coffee grounds in my drink“. (Idiot!)

Pret wants fast service with a smile, but not robotic!

Pret wants perfect products, but within seconds!

I always told my colleagues that the best way to describe Pret A Manger’s work expectations and conditions is, that they bind the feet of staff and then demand them to run. And if they fall, they get penalized. I keep saying again and again to join a Union and strike. If McDonald’s and Amazon workers and maybe soon NHS workers can do it, Pret staff can. They just need to find the strength and courage to look beyond the brainwash and fear management. But maybe they’re not angry enough yet.

.

.

Here is where the up-sell question comes and where this particular shop lost the bonus because ONE Team Member was probably too exhausted to up-sell a specific item. Quote:

»How did the team member suggest a product to complement your purchase?«

No product suggested (1)
“The team member asked me if I would like anything else in a robotic manner but didn’t suggest a particular product.”

Staff are expected for low wage, NO bonus, fear management and brainwash to bend themselves over day after day and then get reprimanded for being robotic. This is one of the worst types of abuses in the workplace that employees suffer.

.

.

Quote:

»How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?«

Parting Comment/Thank You Given (3)
“The team member said thank you but didn’t say anything else. I felt that she could have said enjoy or have a nice day.”

.

These kinds of comments I have read hundreds of time in my years in Pret. Extremely patronizing, unemphatic, and the power that Mystery Shoppers enjoy to want to have a conversation with and attention of a low-wage staff member who is burnt out. Depending on the business of a particular shop, but from my experience, a Team Member EASILY serves 300 – 500 people per day. And Pret expects them to smile, chat, give eye contact, kiss butt all day every day, and now even for no extra money. If staff don’t join Unions and go on strike they will continue to be degraded like this.

.

.

And these are non-scoring comments by the Mystery Shopper. The yellow highlighted I have quoted in red below. Dear Reader, please tell me how you would feel reading those comments after you have sweated day in day out for low wage, now no bonus, no rewards, just humiliating comments! And please don’t make it too easy on yourself by saying that staff can just find another job! Read this email a current Pret staff sent me: Pret don’t Care About Anyone.

Remember, the Barista or Coffee Maker has 60 seconds to get the drink ready into the customer’s hand or risk losing the WHOLE Team their bonus! This Misery Shopper was happy to be given his coffee in 36 seconds and then complains that it wasn’t well made! I wish I knew this particular MS, I would slap this Misery Shopper the report at his feet (I say “his” because the photo he took with the receipt in his hands clearly showed a male hand. Sounds like an arrogant, entitled, power-loving fathermucker!

Only one of many customer complaints on Twitter regarding long queues and only 1 or 2 staff members behind the counter:

and

Link

.

.

.

.

etc. etc. etc.

The MOST poignant staff review that painfully explains a day in Pret. I can underline every dot and comma of this review. I highlighted a view things and put the link underneath.

I still don’t know how I survived this stress! And even without having become suicidal, the pure stress and anxiety feels like can kill you! But I will never ever work in these kinds of conditions again! I’d rather be poor for the rest of my life and work in silence somewhere than in this exploitation:

Link

Dear Reader,
put yourself into the shoes of this particular Team Member (or any TM!) who served this Misery Shopper as the TM’s name will appear on the report.

You worked for hours that day, your Manager shouted at you in the office for little things and threatened you with a disciplinary because you aren’t fast enough making sandwiches, while being called from the kitchen to the tills constantly to serve customers as shops are ALWAYS under-staffed. You lost a loved one recently and have no choice but to work.

You worked already 8 days straight without a day off as there aren’t enough staff members and you feel manipulated to come to work on your day off. You feel too vulnerable to say no. You started at 5am everyday and this day until 3 or 4pm, now with unpaid breaks. So you cut your break short to not lose money and hope to get home as soon as possible.

You went through an intense morning coffee rush, and are now (after 1pm) in the middle of the extremely busy lunchtime rush. You are sweating, tinnitus screaming in your head, trying to concentrate, holding back the tears when thinking of the loved one you just buried a few weeks ago … you serve the Misery Shopper but don’t know it. You know you won’t get bonus or anything extra and ESPECIALLY no positive feedback whatsoever from your Manager or Team Leader. In fact, you (collaborative as a Team) are told to leave your problems at home and are expected to “wear a smile like you wear your uniform” (true story, actual words by a Manager I had!) …

And then you read comments like this after this particular Misery Shopper was “happy” that his coffee was ready in 36 seconds that he even timed on his stop-watch (phone) from burnt out low-wage staff:

“I would recommend based on the food only as the service was just average and the coffee wasn’t well made. I didn’t think the coffee had been properly prepared, because as I got to the last half of it, there was a lot of coffee grounds in my drink and I was unable to continue drinking it.”

You leave your shift going home. You head for the bridge.

.

Former Pret A Manger staff Tweet

.

Several excerpts of Mystery Shoppers from different years and shops where staff were expected to smile, give eye contact to EVERY customer:

.

One Mystery Shopper report with most of 32 micromanaging questions from December 2019 (those questions include allergen questions):

.

A recent staff member’s email to me, excerpt in orange, full email via link:
Pret don’t Care About Anyone

.

Further reading on the Emotional Labour practices of large companies, please go to: The Dangers of Emotional Labour (how it harms service workers’ mental health). There I’ve listed some excellent articles by journalists and former service workers who became journalists.

DONATIONS

I fully fund my blog and I choose not to use ads

If you would like to donate, even a small amount is appreciated. Thank you! 🙂 You can choose any amount from £1 upwards.

£1.00

.


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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

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

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s