How Pret Was & Continue to be Negligent with Food Safety

I did 3 podcast episodes explaining how Pret was and continues to be careless on their food safety, even after 2 customers died, a 3. narrowly surived and over a dozen got injured. Pret ignored all that until it got public.

And dispite “Natasha’s Law” in place, Pret continue to mislabel their food and even bring food overnight, not fresh, many customer pictures of food with mould and even rat droppings on.

ALL due to extreme understaffing, high pressure, poor training etc.

I mention a particular Barbigan Centre seminar Pret held AFTER Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the first customer died. This is significant. I also talk about the difference between Starbucks and Pret CEOs actions in times of crisis. I explain how training in Pret is REALLY done and why Pret successfully was able to blame a low wage staff for another customer injury of Isobel Colnaghi who almost became the third fatality.

I also explain my role as a team leader which is one reason why I’m still shocked in how Pret ealt with this and the money power Pret had, but didn’t use.

Of course people say that I have an axe to grind, but that is not my concern. It is people’s choice to LISTEN to what experienced current and former staff explain, especially when they deliever it with EVIDENCE.

I don’t ask people to believe me if I don’t bring evidence. But I have plenty, that’s why I link to them.

I may do an updated episode with all 3 combined in less time. This the first time I did a podcast and just spoke from the gut. But I try to redo those with notes into 1 episode and in much less time. I’m not a professional, please bear with my simple talk.

But I give a lot of info from behind the scenes.

Below, under these episodes are links to the mouldy food and mislabelling issues.

Episode 1: Pret’s Ongoing Mislabelling Issues

Episode 2: Mislabelling Issues ADDITION

Episode 3: Allergy Injury Trial of Isobel Colnaghi
(Why Pret was able to successfully blame a low-wage shop staff)

UPDATE 07.09.2022

New podcast episode in light of Celia Marsh’s Inquest.

NEW Episode 4: Ongoing Mislabelling – Celia Marsh Inquest – Pret now break the Law

The first customer who died, 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse of sesame hidden in the dough of the baguette which wasn’t labelled on the packaging nor the fridge label. Her parents’ campaigning brought “Natasha’s Law” where all food businesses must label packaged food now.

The second customer was 42 year old mother of five Celia Marsh who died in Bath from dairy traces in a vegan wrap. Isobel Colnaghi who almost died also of hidden sesame, lost her case against Pret.

So, the unsafe food practices continue, even worse now. See pictures of mouldy food via below links. And due to the ongoing mislabelling, Pret are now breaking “Natasha’s Law”. A new inquest into Celia Marsh’s death will start in October 2022.

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(Image: Universal News And Sport (Europe))

Pictures of mould, rat droppings and other things on food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

Pictures of mislabelled food: Vegetarians & Begans Eat Meat at Pret

All this is due to ONE reason: understaffing, stressing and exploiting staff to the max. CEO Pano Christou doesn’t care. He lives in La La Land and has never been a leader, even when he was UK Managing Director and former CEO Clive Schlee’s shadow.

He enjoys the money, his mansion, working from home etc. while exhausting his staff. He cut wages, benefits, even the paid break. Most work 10 hours through without a break due t high staff turnover and unreasonable pressure.

Then Pano had the audacity TWICE this year to delay paying staff under dodgy excuses. The second time cleverly using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted if the press would get wind of it.

The press DID get wind of it because I was contacted by staff in despair as I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press. I emailed CEO Pano Christou directly, openly copying in the press, including Sarah Butler from The Guardian who a day later reported on it.

She started to dig depper and also reported recently that Pano received a pay-rise and millions in bonus in 2021 after he made temporary pay cuts permanent.

So, needless to say staff are p!ssed off, they are already on the fringes of existance, carried Pret through the pandemic, risking their lives. Some got sick I was told, but were pressured to keep working or lose their jobs.

I’m still hoping there’s an undercover journalist in Pret for at least a month.

Some staff on social media announced to be sabotaging Pret now (see screenshot below). Many call sick as an internal strike action. All of this contributes to unsafe food handling, stale, expired food, mislabelling, exhausted staff etc. etc. etc.

Pret got away with 2 customer deaths and multiple injuries, so they feel invincible and the lack of food safety has gotten much, much worse iin broad daylight.

Writing to journalists and the government food safety people didn’t help yet. How many people have to die? A small independent, and especially minority business would have been shut down and the owners sent to prison if one customer had died. Pret is protected and safe in this Tory government of corrupt politicians.

Staff on Instagram in June when Pret for the 2. time delayed pay:

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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.


Interview:

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Julian Metcalfe Case Study & How I chased him off Twitter

Let’s do a little bit more digging into Julian Edward Metcalfe, founder of itsu and re-founder of Pret A Manger. This is just a brief “case study”, not a deep dive into Metcalfe’s family line as I want to highlight something specific.

And dear journalists, maybe one day you may give credit where all the research I do for free and ALWAYS credit/link to the source where I found the information, my experience and encounters with these people comes from.

Also, to British people especially journalists, I write so detailed as if I was teaching a school class because I have many American readers who are not familiar with who’s who in the Royal Family.

Julian Metcalfe is the founder of itsu and what I call the co-RE-founder of Pret A Manger. I explain below.

Julian’s father: David Patrick Metcalfe.

The Duke of Windsor (who before that was King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle) was David Metcalfe’s godfather.

Julian’s grandfather: Edward “Fruity” Metcalfe.

Edward Metcalfe was best man to then recently abdicated King Edward VIII and American actress Wallis Simpson. This led to Queen Elizabeth’s father becoming king.

Julian’s great-grandfather: George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I will mention him later from an interesting tweet.

Source: Telegraph

Quote from The Telegraph article about Julian Metcalfe’s parents:

»The couple had two sons and a daughter, but divorced in 1964; two years later Alexa died after taking what a pathologist at the time suspected was “a sleeping draught”. Their children, including Julian Metcalfe, the future founder of the Pret A Manger sandwich chain, moved back to live in great style with their father. “We had powerful people to dinner all the time,” Julian Metcalfe later recalled of his childhood

Another quote about David Metcalfe, Julian’s father which shows how Julian grew up in the highest society and privilege: »Friends celebrated (David) Metcalfe as “the last man about town with a bit of style”. At his home in Wilton Street, he was host to “everybody who is anybody”.«

And of course with all these connections to the Royal Family and high society, Julian Metcalfe has an OBE.

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Now let that melt on your tongue like a mouldy Pret sandwich: Julian Metcalfe’s FATHER was the godson of King Edward VIII, who gave up his “kingship” to be with Amercian actress and *scandal scandal* divorcee Wallis Simpson. Prince Harry repeated that, but he didn’t have much to lose.

Let’s do some brain-fnck here:

Prince William is the great-grand nephew of King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor), giving the OBE to great-grand son of best men to King Edward VIII – or – son to godson of King Edward VIII / Duke of Windsor.

Got it?!

Oh, what a coincidence!

Katschink!

Is there any wonder that some call Pret a “British institution”?

The million dollar question is: Who is Julian Metcalfe’s godfather? Prince Philip? Or even Prince Charles if he wasn’t too young to have become godfather? Metcalfe’s Wikipedia entry is mighty quiet about all his royal connections.

In his full Q&A at the Oxford Union I noticed one thing very predominantly, Julian is constantly portraying that he fell into success by accident. He pretends to be clueless, admits that he was lazy in school and that success supposedly just keeps falling into his lap, as if he’s such a talent where everything he touches just happens to turn to gold.

In reality, I believe that from what I read in the press, his foot-in-mouth disease in his tweet exchange with me and the itsu staff reviews (see my YouTube slide further below), that he is a spoiled prat who had enough money to re-start Pret after it didn’t succeed the first time around.

I write so blunt because of how he treats his staff and his indifference to the health and life of people in general.

And I, a NOBODY chased him off Twitter simply because this prat isn’t used to getting challenged! When you read the staff reviews of him that I linked to him on Twitter and later put on my YouTube slide, it’s very visible that he must be a very aggressive, angry and patronizing person. His staff must be in sheer fear around him. He is used that everybody hushes around him or is part of his harsh environment. Most journalists kiss up to him and business people worship him. And then little me comes along, challenges him for 5 minutes and he tucks his tail between his legs and dashes off after just 2 days on Twitter!

Most of you who read this are perfectly fine with rich people, especially men, to treat HUMAN BEINGS on low wage like sh!t. But you counter me, a “nobody” when I speak out, because you are upset that YOU don’t do the same.

In his Oxford Union Q&A he keeps portraying to be falling into success by accident. One itsu staff review hints at this very strongly in a shocking review calling him “oafish”.

Click Ctrl & + to enlarge the screenshot or just read the full review via the link underneath. Ctrl & – to decrease the size again.

“Cruel founder/CEO”

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Link to Glassdoor review.

For people with visual impairment where audio reading programs cannot read screenshots, I just quote a few highlights from above review, quote:

»Toxic leadership, Favouritism, Lack of Diversity, Poor Management, Cruel CEO/Founder

JULIAN METCALFE the oafish chaotic founder who insists on being involved across all areas despite having little to no knowledge in anything apart from sales and operations. He wanders the office behaving as if he’s a cutesy naive child and then behind closed doors will overtly disrespect and bully those that work directly with him. Have noticed him being very sexist, making racist jokes in front of minority staff, and regularly shouting loudly and aggressively at managers TIL they’re in tears. (A technique which his leadership team mimic) – head office is in constant turmoil and there’s a very high staff turnover due to people leaving after breakdowns or lack of support (mainly Julian’s mistreatment) or by being discreetly fired when Julian decided he’s displeased. – schoolgirl gossiping, hostility and aggression amongst department heads.

… When you have your employees shaking with stress and fear who call the police on your c.e.o. Due to an uncomfortable environment that is probably a wise time to step in.«

End of quote.

This and other similar reviews I linked to Metcalfe on Twitter, causing him to delete his account shortly after.

A recent little video appeared on Twitter with the title “Why I h8 itsu”:

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Link

As I write on Pret and also “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter (please see YouTube player below) I get contacted now as well by itsu staff and customers. One email I received was last year:

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Quote for people with visual impairment where programs can’t read screenshots:

“Hey there! I saw your Twitter and how you faced bullying and abuse from Pret. I’ve recently been doing research into Julian’s other company Itsu as I’ve been a consumer of it for a while. However, there are massive racist notions and cultural misappropriation that I’ve found and hoping to gain support from for the company to make actual changes.
Would you be interested in seeing what I have over email or Discord or anything else?”

Other reviews along those lines where Metcalfe is directly mentioned as being accused to being sexist, racist, aggressive etc. I put on my YouTube slide below together with his deleted tweets that I screen-grabbed before he deleted.

I find his facial expression, tone of voice and choice of words pretty intense to put it lightly. But of course an appearance or impression doesn’t prove anything. Many people, especially in the business world fall for this and mistake this for “passion” or “being passionate”. What I see is aggression and anger. And I also noticed that half the questions he is asked, he doesn’t answer except with the same supposedly “humility” of saying that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Anyone taking a closer look? Anyone REALLY look at his words and demeanor, and see something here?

Many of these itsu staff reviews keep pointing out that he behaves like a clueless child, before then aggressively “undoing” months worth of work.

I linked some of these reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter. He must have been warned by Pret about who I am, as he then suddenly deleted some tweets and his Twitter account completely after being on there only for 2 days.

Most of his tweets I took screenshots of before he deleted it as I was gobsmacked that he even responded to me and kept retweeting my tweets. I think someone in his PR department needs to get fired, unless he doesn’t listen to them. I placed most of his deleted tweets here on YouTube:

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I use YouTube because my blog where I expose the REAL Pret A Manger from behind their happy facade, is heavily censored and completely blocked on Facebook and Instagram. But they can’t block YouTube. Pret must have reported me to social media, Twitter is regularly censoring me, but this forced me to spread out onto other sites and thus expose Pret on a much broader spectrum. Thank you very much Pret. 🙂

What’s crazy is, that after I also chased Pret CEO Pano Christou and former CEO Clive Schlee off Twitter (Pano “hides” on Linkedin where people tell him all day long how wonderful he is), I tweeted to Metcalfe that we will see how long he will last on Twitter. I had a laugh basically, not realizing he’d delete his account a day later!

Note: I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg as Clive Schlee patronized me, calling me his “late night girl”. So I took that, turned it around and created my blog latenightgirl.org which will lead to expret.org. I created a Twitter handle to throw it back at him publicly. But I changed the handle as it doesn’t make much sense for new readers who are unfamiliar with my story.

But I know how this shocked Clive when he first learnt of my blog and then qucikly made the £1000 announcement to all staff to counter my writings. I write about the timing of the £1000 for all staff in The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee.

And as my handle is changed, it is now under my new handle on Twitter itself. Also, as Metcalfe deleted his account, you don’t see his handle in the tweets anymore, only the screenshots I took at the time show it.

Excuse my strong words, but I struggle with anger after what Pret put me through:

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Link

And if people put his deleted handle @JulianEMetcalfe into Twitter search, they will only see the replies from people to Metcalfe, but not his handle anymore.

THERE ARE TWO JEFFREYS that Julian Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to.

The first is the late Jeffrey Hyman, the original Pret founder, opening the first shop in 1983 Hampstead but didn’t succeed. He sold the brand, name and logo to Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham. But Pret, Julian Metcalfe, his friend and business partner former Pret CEO Clive Schlee who owns half of itsu, and current CEO Pano Christou all refuse to mention or honour Hyman.

And yet, Pret keep using Hyman’s original Pret logo/font in their head office and in at least one shop, in Victoria. I made the below photo in about 2020 or 2021 outside one of Pret’s Victoria shops when I walked by, knowing about this original Pret sign that I saw for the first time in Pret’s Victoria 75B Bressenden Place head office, and then later again in below tweet of Hyman’s first Pret shop.

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This logo was used by Hyman in 1983 when Pret was like a deli and then sold to Metcalfe and Beecham. Pret use it as a retro sign in head office and at least one shop, yet Pret and Metcalfe refuse to mention Hyman. A plaque is dedicated to Metcalfe and Beecham, but no mention whatsoever on Jeffrey Hyman.

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And maybe Pret cleverly mention the first Pret shop AND kitchen to say later that Hyman’s shop didn’t have a kitchen?

Since about 2 – 3 years Pret now have the brainwash words above shops and sometimes packaging, simply saying “London 1986”. This way, every customer who walks into a Pret shop gets brainwashed of the opening in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclaire Beecham, instead of in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman.

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A friend of Hyman told me on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Jeffrey Hyman and the 1983 opening of Pret from Wikipedia:

Link

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THE OTHER JEFFREY that Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to is Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein who’s the convicted pedophile whom many believe was “suicided” in prison. It does not need to mean anything that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s address book, as Epstein was collecting data from many rich and influential people he met or knew. But it’s still interesting. I write about how I came to this info on Julian Metcalfe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book.

As I “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter, blogged about it and made this slide on YouTube showing his deleted tweets, itsu staff or people who are familiar with Metcalfe issues contact me. This is how I became aware that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s “little black book”. Again, this doesn’t mean anything, but I still find it interesting. It’s clear that the rich and famous are connected, often dating back decades into the past. Not to mention Prince Andrew’s direct friendship with Epstein and Metcalfe’s family connections with the Royal Family. They all know each other.

It’s one big happy family. This and Metcalfe’s close friendship to Clive Schlee, who is Pano Christou’s mentor, is why Pret cannot be distanced to Metcalfe when he made his ‘eugenicist’ statements to the Daily Mail and continued to rant on Twitter before deleting his account. Not to mention how Pret ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. Not to mention how awful Pret treat their staff. That’s from my own traumatic experience and what staff review on Glassdoor and Indeed, press articles etc. etc.

They’re all in the same flow of entitled greed.

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After I linked itsu staff reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter, he kept putting his foot in his mouth saying that anonymous staff reviews are biased. Well Mr. Metcalfe, this then also goes for the positive reviews. You can’t have it both ways.

One of his responses I didn’t include in my YouTube slide where I put most of his deleted Tweets. But he had the arrogance and audacity to claim that his low-wage staff “begged” for zero hour contracts. He also aims to turn shops mostly into robots and machines serving customers, eliminating labour costs to advance his net-worth £215 million personal empire.

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Link

Does that sound like a business man who cares for his (zero hour contracted) staff and people in general?

Customers start to speak out, one very unhappy person just recently:

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Link

Pret as well as itsu staff are also mainly “trained” via iPads on their free time during break or after work. There’s little to no training in both companies. And whatever training there is, workers have to do unpaid in their free time.

Greed is a bottomless pit.

Please note that my Twitter handle used to be @LateNightGirlMe after Clive Schlee called me his “late night girl”. So, to throw it back at hi, I took that offense and created my blog under latenightgirl.org & Twitter name. I changed it as it doesn’t make much sense for people, and to keep my blog URL visible as it’s often censored on social media platforms. I explain the “late night girl” issue in the audio interview at the very bottom of this post.

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What a clown!

He actually wrote that! As if low-wage workers who are already paid the minimum possible, have so much money to spare to afford being flexible with their time. Anyone who wants to have flexibility to work can afford it and does not need a low-paid shitty job like itsu or Pret. I’ve rarely been held for such a fool. And before anyone mentions that Pret and itsu have “happy”, smiley staff, do some research on their strict and micromanaging mystery shopper scheme.

If people just take a slight look at his business dealings, it becomes very visible that he does NOT care whatsoever about workers, labour rights, building up a healthy workforce etc. He is your “average” greedy, entitled business men, coming from privilege but pretending to be an entrepreneur having started from nothing.

His “survival of the fittest” attitude is not just evident in his ridiculous lack of being media savvy to the Daily Mail (or his PR rep was on holiday), where he was happy to sacrifice the elderly and vulnerable people to save his millions, but in an iterview with The Telegraph. The heading quotes Metcalfe: »Only the fittest will survive high street cull, warns Itsu and Pret founder Julian Metcalfe«.

I didn’t even know about the ads that Metcalfe did with women athletes he later tried to justify to me in his (now deleted) tweet after I linked staff reviews to him saying he’s a sexist. Just after he mentioned this I researched and found this ad in The Evening Standard:

Photo: Rebecca Reid in The Evening Standard.

His comment to me retweeting my tweet:

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»Women who are not trying to be men!«??? What insecure talk is that Mr. Metcalfe?

Julian’s great-grandfather which led me to reasearch a little.

George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I started to dig a little deeper into Metcalfe when I saw the following tweet after Metcalfe made his lock-down comments to the Daily Mail:

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Link

And of course I need to mention Metcalfe’s buddy Clive Schlee with whom I had shocking encounters that I explain on the audio player interview here at the bottom of this page. Metcalfe and Schlee have been friends and business partners since decades. Metcalfe gave Schlee the CEO spot in Pret.

I found an interesting lawsuit that was won by a former itsu partner who claimed he was booted out by Metcalfe and Schlee. He won his court case and received an undisclosed compensation amount, probably in exchange for signing a NDA so the amount cannot be disclosed.

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Quote from The Caterer article: »A senior chef last week won his unfair dismissal case against Julian Metcalfe, founder of both the Pret A Manger sandwich-shop chain and Itsu sushi restaurants in London.

Clive Fretwell, who had worked for 14 years at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, told a Woburn employment tribunal he had been recruited in 1988 to help develop a chain of Itsu restaurants.

He said the intention had been to give him a 2.5% founding stake in the business and an additional 10% in two years, with the possibility of “big money” if it were sold.

When a second restaurant, which opened two years later, failed to live up to expectations, Fretwell claimed he became aware that Metcalfe and Itsu co-director Clive Schlee were trying to get rid of him.

He said he was told last July that the company could not afford his salary, and he was dismissed in August.

The compensation agreed was undisclosed.«

»… trying to get rid of him« sounds very familiar to me. I wasn’t even a “partner” with a certain percentage stake in Pret, just a small fish, an underpaid and overworked team leader. But I raised big concerns and trauma on Pret’s systemic bullying culture where they tried to get rid of me as soon as I became bereaved.

In an The Independent article about the lawsuit Clive Fretwell described Metcalfe as a “strong personality”.

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Link to article.

It’s worth doing some research into Clive Fretwell who is a respected chef having learned in France and cooks “proper” cuisine.

Staff and workers help Pret (and itsu) to build their brand and ONLY if they are part of their elite group of like-minded people who are only out for profit and having a laugh on the costs of workers, are they protected. If they’re not part of their way, regardless how hard they work and help make the brand successful, they’re out. That’s why the Pret Foundation Trust is a joke, a smokescreen to hide ruthless practices behind the happy facade and a PR stunt for brownie points with the public. I had NO help from the Pret Foundation when I became bereaved and then bullied by the core people of Pret.

Not even when I specifically asked via email (in writing) to be placed under the PFT, and EVEN a longtime OPs manager asked this in writing via a disciplinary hearing.

Nopes. Nada. Instead, upon HR’s request run under David Carter, then head of HR, I was gaslit via another HQ staff and then fired days after my dad came out of a three-week coma. The more and the louder Pret, itsu and any large corporation talk about their good deeds, intentions and charity, the closer you need to take a look.

Since writing about Pret publicly for 4+ years now and all the social media posts I read and boycotts customers announced, one tweet is my alltime favourite tweet that puts down in a nutshell who Pret really are, I could not have said it in any better way:

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Link

Betty tweeted this in response to a call to boycott Pret after they made the pandemic temporary paycuts permanent, which came to no surprise to me. And Pret twice this year delayed paying staff, the 2. time using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted should the press get wind of it and banks are closed on bank holiday Mondays.

I was contacted by desperate staff as they know I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou himself, openly copying in journalists including Sarah Butler from the Guardian who then reported on it. She also reported later, recently in August that CEO Pano Christou got a payrise and millions in bonus after cutting staff wages and benefits in 2021 during the height of the pandemic. I predicted that this would be the case back in April on my podcast.

A current Pret staff announced on Instagram that staff now sabotage Pret from within:

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And apart from the extreme under-staffing, even before the pandemic, this sabotaging as well as stressed workers leads to unsafe food practices. Mould and rat droppings on food as well as ongoing mislabelling of food.

I always say that all the slogans Pret have on their walls, all the sweet-talk, the ethical bla bla, all the “charity” Pret announce on their marketing and walls, you can be sure that 9 out of 10 times it’s the complete opposite. And the same goes for itsu. The nonsense Julian Metcalfe always says how much he cares for staff etc. while when you look at him speaking without the sound on, he looks angry, tense, and his words are “strong” to say the least. Clive Schlee is more slick, he was the Ronald McDonald clown for Pret. The smiley mascot hypnotising customers and staff with sweet-talk while having a horribly abusive mystery shopper scheme in place and naming, shaming and blaming shops publicly to the whole company when they fail.

At least Pano already removed the stupid brainwash slogan “lovingly handmade” from the packaging since I’m exposing Pret’s toxic bullying culture and unnecessary high stress. That one got the most on my nerves.

The sheer perversion of Pret’s conduct still has me speechless like it’s straight out of a twisted Hollywood script. I have no other word at the moment than to call this “perversion” what Pret did, my ordeal reaching to the top leadership. It couldn’t have gotten any higher than that. That’s why Pret don’t sue me and Julian Metcalfe upon learning who I am tuck in his tail and ran for the hills. But I have it all in writing. And when people ask why I didn’t go to court, I did, and I explain in detail in my audio interview at the bottom of this page.

I experienced and witnessed it many times as well as reading staff reviews on the favouritism that reigns in Pret while hard working people with skill are dumped like dirt, and the crooked staff take all the credit for the success skilled people bring to the company.

Further in the Telegraph article about Julian’s father David shows how frequent and used Julian was to mingle with the richest people and royalty. And there is then no surprise that he had connections to Jeffrey Epstein. Julian can’t help himself to be set apart from “normal” hard working people, using “lower classes” to advance his rich lifestyle. He doesn’t know it any other way while pretending to care.

Further quote about Julian’s father David: »In particular (David) Metcalfe had a flair for pairing New World entrepreneurs, ambassadors and tycoons with Old World aristocrats, intellectuals, royalty and social commentators. His dining table was frequented as much by dukes and royalty as it was by Detroit and Texas tycoons and politicians from across the political spectrum.«

Julian’s ex-wife is from the USA and is mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book. It always comes around full circle. These people mix and mingle with each other, and it all remains with the richest people while claiming to be a trail blazing entrepreneur starting from nothing.

And as far as I have read in my research, I have not found anywhere that Julian mentions his connections to the Royal Family via his father and grandfather. I believe he doesn’t mention it as he wants to be seen as this groundbreaking entrepreneur having started from scratch. Many entitled rich people want to be seen as “self-made” millionaires while having gotten huge starting packages, loans or gifts from family to start or restart a business.

Little side note that I don’t know enough of to get into further, but “ARK” is from a quote on reddit, »Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), is an international children’s educational charity based in the UK. ARK held fundraisers every year from 2002 to 2012. Dozens of people listed from Jeffrey Epstein’s Black Book attended these ARK Galas.«

CHILDREN’S charity and Jeffrey Epstein go together like Pret A Manger/itsu go together with Trade Unions! *Irony off*

Also note, the woman in the picture is Pippa Holt, not Metcalfe’s ex-wife Melanie. This is just what I found in connection with this ARK charity gala event.

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Current Pret CEO Pano Christou does the same, having learnt how to BS the public under Clive Schlee, portraying that he started in shops as if to say he started at the bottom. He started in shops alright, but he started as an assistant manager having come from McDonald’s management. Pret’s assistant manager role is position #4 in the shop hierachy. The lowest, #1 position is Team Member; 2. Hot Chef or Barista; 3. Team Leader (kitchen or shop) and then #4 is assistant manager before becoming the shop general manager.

He started with higher pay, £500 business attire that Pret paid for, monthly £50 to dry clean his clothes, “business” travels, management parties and galas, and all the perks that are thrown at assistant managers and higher up management.

Pano did not start at minimum-wage, wearing a Pret uniform and a silly cap with pins that could have dropped into food while staff weren’t allowed to wear jewellery or piercings. He didn’t labour for 9-12 hours in the high paced, noisy kitchen being shouted at by leaders and management. Since I point this out on my blog, he finally mentions in interviews that he started as an assistant manager instead of how he always said that he started “in shops” where people assume he was a low-paid team member.

Back to Metcalfe, many in the press and certainly business people love this success story, not wanting to hear how Metcalfe really is, as “success” often only comes when exploiting the masses and being “someone” regardless what it does to society as a whole.

Maybe Jeffrey Hyman’s friends, who occasionally mention him on Twitter at his birthday or anniversary of his death want to write a book about Hyman and make him known to the world, since Pret and Metcalfe refuse to honour, refuse to even mention him while using Hyman’s original font/sign. If you don’t want to mention or credit to the original person, at least have the integrity to not use anything the original person created as in an old font/sign.

Oh silly me! Pret/itsu and integrity?

Pret remain Pret, they lie, steal, manipulate and exploit in any way they can. Just your good ole greedy corporate, owned by in tax-haven Luxembourg based private equity firm JAB Holdings under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past. And itsu now hooked up with Bridgepoint, Pret’s previous owners. And the real reason that Mectalfe hooked Pret up with McDonald’s was to get Pret into the U.S. market. Once in, they “divorced” their “marriage of convenience”. When I learnt about the McD and Pret collaboration, all alarm bells went on. It’s like a vegan business hooking up with a meat factory to get into a certain market. Red flag right there.

And Pret had to remove the word “natural” from all their marketing after getting slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority … but that’s another story for another day, not to mention Pret selling mouldy food with rat dropping on in 2022, while claiming to “freshly make” years after 2 csutomers died and over 20 got injured which Pret all ignored until it got public, and keep getting away with …

»And when your sun goes down, you’ll know, you’re like everybody else you know.« – Whitey

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Denial & Tactics of a die-hard Pret Fan

Subtitle: When a Pret fan is overwhelmed.

I really don’t want to waste a blog post on this guy, but it’s important to show how some people want to be in denial, go against whistleblowers and try all sorts of “tactics” to deny that they don’t care about customer deaths and staff exploitation.

I responded to a tweet that has now been deleted by a Pret customer in Switzerland about Pret opening a new shop there. The person, who on his profile had “Journalist” as well as “Media Personality” stated, said “finally some good sandwiches”.

I replied with a tip to be cautious regarding the “good” sandwiches and posted my blog post with customer complaints on mouldy food etc. all with photo evidence. He then replied with the TYPICAL set of tweets that die-hard Pret fans do. It later turned into silly and also nasty gaslighting, lying, getting his tweets switched that I couldn’t reply anymore.

My response to his now deleted tweet with English translation underneath:

Link

The others who are tweeted in either remained silent or encouraged him to ignore me. Cancel culture as well as enabling behaviour by the book.

Mould, stale bread, rat poo, bugs, flies, hair,plastic in food with photo evidence:

Denial or Tactic #1 – Never happened to “ME”, therefore the problem doesn’t exist:

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“Never happened to me in London” – translated = therefore this problem doesn’t exist (and I don’t care that customers died, and Pret having ignoring it).

My responses are to show further evidence and sharing that in my 10 years in Pret KNOWING Pret from behind the scenes including senior leadership and CEOs, that I’ve seen a lot in Pret. I also link to the customer deaths and so on.

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My tweets can just be followed from above link.

I then tease him saying that he probably doesn’t want Pret to get bad press with all the things I link him to, to which he responds:

Link

I then apologize, which was the mistake, because since then he kept accusing me of offending or attacking him in hopes I would fall for his cheap gaslighting.

The Google translate doesn’t translate well here, I basically said “Of course (not assuming anything). Apoloogies.” etc.

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Link

Tactic #2 – This is not under Pret but under a franchise, therefore not Pret’s fault:

“The branches in Switzerland do not run directly under Pret. But as a franchise company.” = It’s not Pret that fuck up like this, but franchises! 😀

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Link

To which I explain again that 1. Pret’s name is still on franchises and Pret THEMSELVES have and continue to screw up in London, UK where Pret are head quartered. And that Pret themselves have ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. I worked at Pret when people died and wasn’t even told, despite my responsibility having been health & safety.

So, I link him to the two customer deaths in the news on YouTube to have a VISUAL bringing it closer to him, as he is also a father:

Tactic #3Sure it’s bad but this would never happen in Switzerland.

“yes bad Clearly. Here in Switzerland, everything is declared everywhere.” = Yes, bad, but that happened way over there in the UK, HERE in perfect Switzerland we have strict food standards.

Link

To which I pointed him AGAIN to a recent customer video from BERLIN, Germany where there are also strict food safety laws, and the video showed how stale the bread is.

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Link to tweet with video.

I also explained that mouldy food continues to happen in the UK as well as MISLABELLED products where Pret are now breaking the LAW, “Natasha’s Law”.

End of correspondence.

I already packed this tweet exchange away into the past and moved on, when he tweeted the next day a German news article about a woman having bitten into a mouldy McDonald’s product. He now deleted this tweet also, like he deleted his initial “fan” tweet about “good sandwiches” in Pret. But here are my responses to his ridiculous McD comparison.

Tactic #4 It’s not only Pret, it’s also other businesses, therefore this is “normal” in large chains:

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Link

Tactic #5Continued gaslighting accusing me of offending and attacking him in hopes I become insecure, while it is HIM that’s insecure like heck:

Just follow the links and click translate otherwise the post gets too long.

I kept asking him to give precise examples where I offended or attacked him. That didn’t come. And by then he could have just blocked me. But instead he switched his replies to me so that I couldn’t reply anymore, while he kept tweeting at me. Very nasty, cowardly and childish behaviour by an adult “journalist” and “media personality” from Switzerland.

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Tactic #6 – SEVERAL things: He deleted information, was embarrassed to behave so poorly while a journalist, then lied he never claimed to be a journo.

DELETED “Journalist” off his profile after I addressed him as a journalist having seen his claim on his profile and asked him to not take things personal. He then lied that he never claimed to have been a journalist and asks me to check his profile where he just deleted “Journalist”. I pointed out to him that I already checked it and that he deleted it off his profile. He now added it again, see screenshots.

What a creep!

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1. Journalist:

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2. The “Journalist” deleted:

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3. Then “Journalist” added again:

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Tactic #7 – Playing dumb asking if I was a bot:

This is then when he started to make all his replies to me “non-repliable” anymore (I just made up that word 😉 ), but he continued to tweet at me. I then blocked him to which he blocked as well. He said that I am an Aldi fan because I gave a metaphor on Aldi vs Lidl to explain his ridiculous comparison between McDonald’s and Pret. I explained that Pret claimed to be fresh and wholesome which McDonald’s never claimed, and that the whole world knows how bad McD is. But Pret was successful in fooling the public for decades.

He then tried to trick me with the Aldi example and then I couldn’t reply anymore. But I replied later via my other account after screenshot some of his tweets before he deleted.

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Unable to reply to his tweets:

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His behaviour is a typical bullying behaviour by the book. And he is enabled by others who pad him on the back.

Tactic #8 – Playing dumb again:

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He received tons of information about my own story as well as customer fatalities and injuries, staff exploitation etc., yet he pretends to not understand what all this was about. Then he deletes his initial tweet and the McDonald’s tweet as he was caught out being indifferent and doesn’t want to be seen as a journalist who is a big fan of Pret.

In a nutshell, this guy was shocked and impressed to have come across so much evidence in how bad Pret really are. Many people respond negatively because they feel shocked and called out to have fallen for Pret. He was so occupied with it that he tweeted the McDonald’s mould issue to me the next day where I was already finished and done with this feed.

But I always respond to anyone and then move on. And I don’t really want to waste a blog post on him, but want to show how SLICK gaslighting, lying, deleting, accusing etc. works in cancel culture.

It’s a shame, because I am more disappointed of people claiming to be journalists than the average Joe who rants on social media.

The last time I came across such a toxic, gaslighting, cowardly person with lofty claims was literally the top Pret senior leadership team. This Gerry guy cowardly switched his tweets so I can’t respond anymore, but kept tweeting at me while I couldn’t respond. Then I blocked him, which I rarely do, so that he can’t continue to tweet while I can’t respond.

I then tweeted my response to him via my other account and now write this blog post and pass this on to his journalism buddies because his and my correspondence are public.

This was TYPICAL denial, cancel culture, trying to manipulate JUST because the person did not want to look objectively at what I presented as huge evidence including customer pictures, news articles, my own experience. THE worst thing that can happen that customers died and Pret IGNORED it has NO meaning to this Gerry guy and his friends. They are bystanders, onlookers and enablers who don’t care except if this would happen to them. Very sad.

And by all means, mute or block me, but to “silence” me and then keep tweeting at me where I can’t respond is COWARDLY. And this is why I call this guy out now.

If this Gerry guy says anything “positive” about his encounter with me in the future, stay away, be cautious, he has lied and played his tricks like an insecure yes-man.

Oh, und Gerry, guck mal wer alles von Twitter weggerannt ist nachdem ich getweeted hab 😉

Du hast noch sehr, sehr viel zu lernen was Pret A Manger betrifft, und ich habe dich jetzt angespornt Pret zu helfen deren Fassade aufrecht zu halten. Ran an die Arbeit, Gerry! Put your name to Pret and STAND behind everything they do, with your name.

I chased Pret RE-founder Julian Metalfe, former Pret CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou off Twitter. And Julian Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book. Link in the YouTube description.

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

.
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 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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Lose, Loss, Lost …

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I tend to write long blog posts to cover all the basis possible. And I could write the longest blog post yet about loss, but I don’t know where this would go. I have had losses, disappointments, betrayals in my life, like we all have. It’s what makes life a bitch. But I have not known how loss can be a string of things for a long time.

I have yet to speak, either on my podcast or here on my blog, about details regarding my brother’s death. I touched on it here and there but still can’t go into it for fear it would spiral me again into the deepest darkness again. This out-of-control feeling that if there is a hell, this must be part of it, an endless falling into a dark bottomless pit.

I never knew that when you lose a close person, a family member, anyone close to you, that this is the catalyst of many other losses. I heard about it that a loss of a child breaks up a family and the parents often end up divorcing.

For anyone new to my blog or story, I learnt in January 2015 that my brother died 5 weeks prior and was already cremated when we learnt of it. To top it up, I learnt this via an EMAIL! This is how far I can go at this moment, as I can’t cope to go into detail how everything unfolded without falling into this pit again.

To top it up further, I was bullied during this traumatic period of shock and grief in and by Pret A Manger management under the watchful eye of HR and later patronised by former CEO Clive Schlee. I explain this in greater detail on my podcast “expretcast” in 3 episodes. In the audio player on the bottom of this page I didn’t go into the detail of it, but on my podcast with greater hindsight I went to town detailing how Pret targeted me since the beginning.

Links:

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 1

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 2

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 3

Three years after my brother died I almost simultaneously lost my job and my dad within months of each other. Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a three-week coma, knowing he was in intensive care. In hindsight, losing a sh!tty job at Pret is nothing to be mourned about. Pret’s head of HR David Carter made me 3 offers of money if I resign, sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to never speak about my ordeal or go to court. I declined the “offer” and was fired. Later when I withdrew my court case against Pret as my dad died, I was made a fourth offer which is normal when withdrawing a tribunal case. I also declined as I didn’t want to lose my voice to speak out what happened.

In-between all this I lost a lot of friends pretty much from the first year as in our society death and loss is still a taboo, as if this would never happen to anyone.

Three years after my dad died my mum died. She died during second lockdown in Germany while I was stuck in London. I couldn’t bury her. Another loss I can’t go into at this time as I can’t cope. I made so many videos of and with my mum when she was still living in her house as I don’t have ANY video of my brother and still regret having deleted all his voice mails from years ago. I still have this problem that I clean up my phone very fast and don’t keep much. That’s why I kept my mum’s voice mails and made videos. But I still can’t look at the videos, even though I assumed I would devour them once she dies. But I can’t look at them at the moment.

Recently a long-time friend died in the USA where I lived for a few years. I didn’t expect to be thrust into a new darkness, as I haven’t seen him since 2013, and only sporadically had email conversations with his wife in-between the years. He was a rare gem of a man who don’t come around much, and I am broken for his wife, who’s equally a gem. I’ve never met a couple like them, which the world needs more of.

I lost my mind, my mental health is screwed up. I was overweight and lost 35-40kg within a year. The first 25kg I lost in the first 6 months after the news of my brother’s death. I had to go shopping 3 or 4 times for clothes as I kept losing weight, never anticipating to “shrink” so fast. EVERYTHING I had to buy new in smaller sizes except socks and shoes.

Some say that this is a good thing that came out of the loss of my brother. Sure, in a certain way there are always “good” things that can come from trauma and loss. But the weight loss was so rapid, as I couldn’t eat, even though I had free lunch food at Pret, that it brought upon other health issues. Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy either. I am grateful I rather lost than gained weight, as my dad was the total opposite. After my brother’s death, he gained weight and comfort ate while I couldn’t even swallow. But yes, having gone back to my original weight I grew up with is a plus as I can walk up stairs without pain in my joints and shortness of breath. Or I can buy clothes again whereas while overweight rarely found what I liked in my size. But I’d rather weigh like an elephant and have my brother back.

I lost support. I lost opportunities. I am a few steps closer to understand how people can lose their homes and end up on the street due to alcohol or drug issues after a traumatic experience.

I still struggle with drinking although it has become much better.

Receiving the news of my brother’s death via email and then also being bullied in Pret by a line manager via group emails, as well as Lila Warren who was tasked to give me a disciplinary for emailing Pret so much, she then later ALSO started to communicate with me via text message and email in private for which she disciplined me in the first place. has fucked me up so much that I started to write thousands upon thousands of emails to EVERYBODY! I also struggle then when I tweet sh!t to people while drunk.

There is no excuse, I looked into getting a time-lock safe but haven’t gotten it yet. That’s completely my fault and responsibility.

I have almost lost my life in close calls to jump … and know we will all lose our lives one day.

I still want to look into researching and maybe writing about our society’s and culture’s approach to death, loss and grief. I have experienced so much sh!t in the last 7+ years that I don’t know which book to write first or if to write a series of books combining a lot of the things I went through. But I’m tired of writing.

I called into a BBC radio show in the early morning of Christmas Day 2019 where I briefly touched on how we in our society today handle grief and loss. Of course now since the pandemic and more wars this subject has become more “accessible”, and even on the radio I hear more and more that this theme is popping up.

In my experiences the last 7 years I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and friendships. Apart from PTSD, I also think I do this partly out of guilt not having responded to my brother’s email which ended up being his last. Why should I have a good life while he is dead is the emotion I often felt. Sibling survivor guilt, fear of losing friends again when a tragedy hit. The friends that left me hang early on, I didn’t deserve it. But I deserve it now. I push everyone away now so I have nothing left to lose.

As I said, screwed up. And before you judge, check my podcast episode on my NHS mental health service ordeal. I asked at one point if I have some form of autism, and a brief questionaire was started by a psychologist where it was mentioned that I cover some points, but no further assessment. I gave up.

In a nutshell, one major loss is often the catalyst of a string of losses, it certainly was in my case. And where this goes from here, I’m not concerned anymore.

And again, my apologies to all and everyone I offended, hurt and upset. After such a long time, I have no excuse.

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

.
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 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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger – “Corporate Mafia Company”

I start my post with the following concern:

As if Pret A Manger need more customers to die and get injured.

5 years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died:

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Link

I explain on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3 why Pret was and continues to NOT care. Please pay attention to a particular Barbican Centre seminar I mention.

From the bottome up: Part 01, Part 02, Allergy Trial 03

More customers and the public have and still are realizing now how bad Pret really are. I refer to Pret as plural, not singular (Pret are vs Pret is), because there is a core group of people behind this company who detached themselves from the suffering of shops and workers. And this detachment affects customers.

A recent Facebook comment in July 2022 to one of Pret’s posts says it all:

Link

For people and audio reading programs who can’t read screenshots, a person commented to Pret, quote: »So glad you haven’t managed to pollute the Middle East with your corporate mafia company.« End of quote.

Pret is also increasingly getting bad press since more journalists seem to wake up now instead of doing free advertising for Pret with all the “slimey” articles. I talk about it on my podcast episode: Pret CEO Pano Christou’s 2021 pay-rise & millions in bonus after cutting staff pay.

When I first started writing publicly about Pret in May 2018, even before the two customer deaths became public later that year, I discovered Glassdoor and Indeed review websites that I didn’t even know about while working in Pret. I couldn’t believe my eyes in how blunt and angry some reviewers wrote about Pret because I experienced the same, if not worse.

I became obsessed and sieved through Glassdoor, Indeed and the Internet in general, on a search for others who know Pret as a toxic company that fooled the public for decades with a caring and ethical facade, while the total opposite is the case.

My all-time favourite former customer tweet that needs no further explanation:

Link to @betty_de_brazil’s tweet where she responded to customers’ call to boycott Pret after Pret made temporary pay cuts permanent.

In 2018 there was hardly any critique from customers. But I became obsessed with staff reviews and wrote a DAILY “Quote of the Day” with a chosen review I found. I expanded on the reviews, explaining what the reviewer means. I now stopped since 2019, and rarely check reviews anymore as I’ve made my point now!

But a few reviews I found from recently which I want to put here, as work conditions have worsened to an unbelievable level of carelessness by Pret and current CEO Pano Christou. Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under bogus excuses, the second time during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend knowing that the public would be distracted and banks closed on bank holiday Monday.

One staff on Instagram in early June 2022 after Pret delayed paying them announced to sabotage Pret by reducing food and service quality.

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The result of this AND of hugely understaffed and stressed shops becomes more and more visible. This mouldy sandwich was posted just two days ago:

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And many more complaints.

Food quality has decreased a great deal already during the pandemic with customers flocking to social media posting photos of mouldy sandwiches, even rat dropping on a baguette. Reports on food poisoning has also increased. The latest even from today 01. August 2022. I posted more photos on Pret food is not fresh. Check the dates of the posts.

Not only are shop managers pressured to cut labour, sending staff home when there’s a hint of a quiet time, leaving whoever is left to work in shops completely overstretched and exhausted. In the meantime CEO Pano Christou cut their pay so he and shareholders can get a raise and millions in bonus. So, staff morale is low. Workers cut corners to try and resist the slavery-type bullying to work harder and faster for less. Working overtime without pay has also been a big thing in Pret even before Covid. Wage theft is also huge in Pret from own experience and also from two class action lawsuits Pret settled in New York, repaying 4000 workers. I write about this in Wage Theft in Pret. But in the UK the legal system is different and often in favour of companies rather than poor workers.

I will post some recent review at the bottom of this page and want to just as briefly as possible (yeah right!) explain Pret’s mentality.

From my interactions with current CEO Pano Christou and what I read in his emails to shops when he was UK Managing Director under then CEO Clive Schlee, I perceived Pano NOT as a leader. Pano came from McDonald’s management, and for a while until I kept pointing it out on social media, has always said to the press that he started on the shop floor. This of course gives the impression to the public that he started at the bottom. But far from it! So, I keep calling out Pret’s bullsh!t.

While he started in shops alright, he actually started in position number 4 as an assistant manager (AM) with higher pay, more bonus, more perks, paid travel to fancy places with other management, quarter briefs with galas, free fancy food and booze etc. etc. One of the perks he got that all staff who move into management get, even assistant manager roles, is £500 from Pret to go shopping for business attire which they can keep. And then assistant managers and shop general managers (GMs) get £50 EVERY month for the dry cleaners. This may have changed since the pandemic, but I’m talking about the “rich” years in Pret. I write extensively about these perks and the difference of assistant management to team members in Pano Christou’s Rags to Riches Story.

Since I kept pointing this out, he now at least says that he started as an AM.

Pano was for years Clive Schlee’s shadow. All I saw of him in my 10 years in Pret was when he accompanied Clive to shops, silently standing next to or behind Clive. And the only correspondence I saw was when Pano kept writing weekly or monthly emails to shops in how much money Pret made, especially when Pret reached a new million pound mark. And he also wrote emails to shops to announce when a shop closed.

Those emails where the most ridiculous emails I’ve read from anyone in Pret’s leadership teams. Especially when I was bereaved and traumatized. I was a team leader and would sit in the office in the afternoon to do the ordering of stock or cash up tills when I saw an email from Pano come in starting with the words: »Dear shops … it is with great sadness that I have to announce …«

Reading just the first few words, panic overcame me and my heart stopped thinking, “who died?!” And then the sentence continued: »it is with great sadness that I have to announce that (such-and-such a) shop is closing down due to (whatever) reason …«

I had these mixed emotions of anger and complete ridiculous shock that he spoke about the closure of a shop as if someone died, and as if we low-wage overworked staff even cared! Of course part of my panic was also because I received the news of my brother’s death via an email! So, I was constantly on the edge about emails and bad news. But I didn’t give a toss if Pret made another million mark or closed a shop because we were treated like dirt and bullied. I didn’t care if shops closed or how much money Pret made. I had NOTHING from this except manager after manager and OPs managers cheating me out of hours, money and break promises.

On 01. July 2019 Pano Christou, who was then still the Chief Operations Officer, closed his Twitter account after I tweeted Clive Schlee’s retirement to the press, also pointing to Pano’s Twitter account. And Pano was the only Pret executive who blocked me. His former Twitter handle has been taken on by another Pano Christou from Canada a few months later.

The COO role by the way didn’t exist before and after as it was just a stepping stone for Pano to go from UK Managing Director (2018) to CEO (2019).

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Pano has his head in the sand with the current issues, despite increasing complaints on mouldy food, bad press, more staff speaking out etc. It’s like he feels invincible after Pret got away with so much, especially TWO customers having died and dozen plus injured.

Clive Schlee was more “attentive” to reputation issues. He bullsh!tted the public and staff as well, but he was more active in bullsh!tting everyone, while Pano put his head in the sand, “hides” on Linkedin and enjoys other business people kissing his butt all day long, telling him how awesome he is in Linkedin’s typical toxic positivity way. Pret also has a lot of favour and support by some journalists like Harry Wallop from the “independent” newspaper The Guardian, which I explain in above podcast episode I linked to.

Pano is used that Pret keep getting out of trouble, no matter how bad it gets. He is either delusional or really doesn’t care, but he certainly is not a leader.

Clive left with this legacy from staff:

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A customer on Twitter pointed out that Pano upon becoming CEO in September 2019 has work cut out for him. Pret then let Pano take over the Glassdoor CEO spot in July 2019 despite him becoming CEO in September 2019. Clive didn’t want any more poor scores I guess.

In August 2022 Pano continues the trend with staff:

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Staff review and also email me saying work conditions have become beyond bearable. I know how hard it is to work at Pret. It was already horrific in my time, long before the pandemic. But I can’t even imagine how it is now! And this is not to be excused with Brexit or Covid.

  • Skimming customers out of money in many ways like via the coffee subscription, apps, deals that Pret don’t honour under bogus “technical issues”;
    Placing donation devices very closely next to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidentally donate £5 to Pret’s “charity” (charity = tax breaks and brownie points with the public);
    Not serving complimentary items any more,
    Decreased product size
    etc. etc.
  • Under-staffing (has always been done, but is much, much worse now)
  • Resulting in longer queues and frustrated customers who let it out on the low-wage workers who are at breaking point while Pano Christou smiles to the bank
  • More work while still expecting the same and higher standards, and expecting high financial results
  • Ongoing bullying
  • Ongoing wage theft, delayed pay, cutting hours, not paying hours worked for
  • Leadership non-existent
  • HR don’t care (that’s a no-brainer after what I’ve been through)
  • Poor food and hygiene standards (mouldy food, pest issues, dirty shops etc.) due to lack of staff and
  • Low morale
  • It’s each to their own to survive
  • And so on …

I say it again, Pano Christou is NOT a leader. He is stuck in the old Pret way that has shown him that Pret get away with ANY- and EVERYTHING.

After what I survived in Pret with direct contact to the top leadership, Clive Schlee, HR, HQ personnel, Pret’s lies, cheats, theft etc. I FIRMLY believe Pret, as in the core group of Pret’s leadership team like Pano Christou, Andrea Wareham and David Carter from HR and a handful of others who worked there many years for high pay, they are a clique of overpaid executives who run Pret like an organization which to me does indeed resemble like a mafia organization that a person on Facebook pointed out to Pret.

It’s all about the few at the top getting the biggest cut of the cake while abandoning the “slaves” on the front-lines who make all this happen but break at the end of the day. And it shows a great deal of the arrogance of Pano and the executive team to KNOW about all the suffering and appalling food safety issues from social media posts and news articles, but continue to drain employees AND customers.

A really good tweet just from today that made my day knowing that more and more people are aware of how abusive Pret are:

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Some recent staff reviews I find noteworthy to mention here.

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Link to Indeed review.

Link to Glassdoor review.

This is review is worth quoting in full:

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Title: Company of hell

Pros
Company from hell where lying is the key to their marketing strategy.

Cons
Managers shout at us, cleanliness is non-existent, no recycling, expired food in the fridges, stress all the time.

Advice to Management
Shut down your modern slave factories where you rely on green washing to attract consumers! You are not a healthy company!«

End of quote. I underline every single word 150 million percent! And I cannot explain how many times I have literally cried when I was contacted by staff in despair telling me that Pret delayed pay again, or do cuts here and there, how broken down workers are who are still forced to pretend a happiness or not get mystery shopper bonus. And whatever else they write.

I have many regrets in life, have made many mistakes, but it is safe to say that is it hands down by miles my biggest regret having worked in this horrible company!

For more reviews, please just scroll through Glassdoor and Indeed yourself and also check my front home page.

To end this long blog post, I post again here what made my day when Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha had some stern words for Pret and called on her 500K+ Instagram followers to boycott Pret. I still tear up when I watch this as not many celebrities would speak out on behalf of low-wage workers.

Unfortunately her words fell on deaf ears with Pret. After this video keep playing to see how I chased itsu founder and Pret RE-founder Julian Metcalfe and Pret executives off Twitter. An anonymous person sent me the info that Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book after the person saw my YouTube slide with Metcalfe’s deleted tweets, which I screen grabbed before he deleted. Metcalfe kept retweeting my tweets, but someone from Pret must have warned him who I am, he then deleted his tweets and Twitter account, but not before I screenshot most of it.

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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