Yeah, maybe finally staff are doing what some Burger King staff did and walked out in protest and strike!
Customers flock to Twitter and increasingly raise the issue of shops closed without notice, or with conflicting messages. I explain that there are 3 common possibilities why a shop may be closed, in no particular order, and with links to each issue:
- Staff issues, lack of staff, staff walk out, staff are at breaking point from the exploitation.
- Pest issues, mice, rats etc. This will especially get worse when shops continue to be under-staffed and Team Members have no time nor strength left to properly clean.
- Virus outbreak like the one that had to close in Norwich.
- A 4th possibility I added (31.07.2021) which I briefly touch on here below, but detailed in Pret Shops Closed … I Smell a Rat!
Of course there can also be true technical issues like flooding, electricity black-outs etc. But that would then be very clearly visible when the lights go off etc. and those don’t last more than a few hours before it gets fixed. These emergencies are on the top priority of Pret’s maintenance and repair department, shop would never be closed for more than half a day! I have had many incidences in different shops and the repair was done very fast for us to continue the trading.
And on a “side note”, a list of issues where Pret is ripping off customers:
UPDATE July 2021:
So, after Pret made 3000+ staff redundant, cut their benefits, bonus and paid breaks (and then asking many again to return for less pay but more work etc., most refuse) Pret continues to exploit staff, mistreat and abuse them and then wonder why they have to close shops. In the meantime, Pret continues to neglect the very shop front-line workers who make Pret happen, by concentrating on digitizing Pret and advancing their marketing stunts.
Maybe Pret staff finally are fed up enough to join a Union and walk out of Pret. Burger King staff certainly have had enough and a Pret customer finds it appropriate for Pret to take heed!
Just a few of many customers raising issues of Pret shops closed in London, Birmingham etc.
York shop closed due to “unforeseen” circumstances:
After I gave Brian Lickley some of the above possibilities, he started to ask more seriously later that afternoon:
A confused customer on Linkedin 15.07.2021 about a Birmingham shop closed without notice:
Several London shops closed and Pret now gives the staffing reason:
This shop closure in Elephant and Castle looks like a pest issue! If customers are suddenly asked to leave a shop during opening times, especially in the morning, it most certainly is because staff spotted a mouse. The procedure then is to close the shop until there is NO trace of pest like droppings, nibbled on packaging etc.
When I worked at Pret and we spotted pest, we were instructed to lie to customers, and the most common lie is “technical issues”. But I chose not to lie to not get into conflicting messages and I just said to customers that we have to temporarily close due to “internal” issues. This way I didn’t have to lie and give mixed messages to customers while other gave another reason (as can be seen here in this Tweet), and I left it open for interpretation.
More on Pret’s pest issues: Rat A Manger & Pret A Mouse
I implore the press to send a journalist undercover for at least one month in DIFFERENT shops to see the SYSTEMIC issues throughout the company. Pret is desperate for staff now, so it should not be an issue to get a journo in for a second time. Many shops are closed due to what Pret on Twitter says, “short term staffing disruption“, while some shops have a note at the door that shops are closed due to “refurbishment” or “nip and tuck”! 😀
Yet, I worked in several shops over the years and KNOW that Pret ONLY does refurbishments during the night and mostly on weekends, so as not to disrupt trading hours. I had to deal with neighbour complaints several times who came into the shop first thing Monday morning fuming that builders made noise of hammering, sawing etc. during the night.
So three possibilities why shops are closed: staff walk out, virus outbreak to pest issues, and I add a 4th now on 29.07.2021 – I have a hunch that Pret send staff from less busy shops to busier and more profitable shops, closed the less busy shops and keep selling the £20 monthly subscription, while many customers can’t use it due to closed shops!
Nip and tuck is NOT a massive refurbishment, but even if there was a massive refurbishment, they only take TWO NIGHTS while shops remain open during the day. I’ve worked in several Pret shops over the years that had huge refurbishments in the early 2010s when Pret changed from the ugly cold steel look to the warm wood ambience. And EVERYONE of those shop refurbishments were completed within two nights, often during the weekend. There was NEVER a disruption during daytime opening hours, never!
Here the FULL email again by a Pret shops staff member who contacted me in December 2020, among many other staff, quote:
»Hi, I work for Pret right now and honestly everything you say is 100%. If I didn’t need my job so bad right now I would tell them all to go fuck themselves!
No bonus, unpaid breaks. Everyone is like a workhorse… even a 28 hour contract working 48-60 hours because not enough staff.
People are now just working their 28 hours and leaving, no one stays over anymore the people are waking up!
The exploitation is unreal! Calling people from other shops all over to help! Sweating all day, customers are rude because service is slow.
To make matters worse they add the subscription which states on their website over 18, we have kids coming as young as 8 ordering coffees smoothies and frappes!
Pret don’t care about anyone in this company, everyone is replaceable. It makes me so sick to work for them but at this moment I do not really have a choice!
Keep doing what you do! Fuck them! I really hope they sink In this pandemic! This horrible corporate cog of the biggest scandals wheel.«
– UK Pret Employee Dec. 2020
May be continued if more complaints come in!
To all Pret and general staff, join a union and leave a review on both Glassdoor AND Indeed, especially in your own language to help your fellow country men and women to make informed decisions.
I adopted the following song as the Pret A Manger Anthem!
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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.
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