Upfront to the WordPress staff who always check my blog posts when I publish a new one. I’m not sure if it is WordPress policy to pass info on to current and former company heads, in this case Pret as I got a certain “visitor” again after I wrote a crucial post. WordPress already moved me into the “adult” section where they only move porn sites to. This is censorship after I believe Pret must have reported me, but I write under free speech and don’t lie, backed up with tons of evidence.
So, if a WordPress staff serves as a “snitch” to Pret, please talk to your line manager and check if this is appropriate or WordPress policy.
I don’t check Pret staff reviews anymore as much like I used to, maybe once a month. But a recent review from a shop General Manager (GM) got my attention. This GM mentioned among some negative feedback on Pret that CEO Pano Christou is “exceptionally kind”.
Part quote from the review:
“Cons: Expectation to achieve work that is physically impossible, in a timeline that, when broken down, is mathematically impossible. Intense pressure leading to breaking codes and regulations is a common occurrence, and those with stronger ethics end up working up to 100 hours/wk.
Advice to Management: Instead of only setting targets and expectations, map out how they could be achieved. Consider why most management leaves the company they love so much, due to burnout.
With that said, Pano is exceptionally kind and I’m sure he would fix all these issues with more competent direct subordinates.”
Link to review.
And this is where most workers, even managers when young go wrong and are brainwashed. It is the CHIEF, the head of the company who is the problem and who sets the tone for the company. Pano decides on pay cuts and cut workers’ pay, benefits and paid breaks so he can get a pay-rise and millions in bonus.
And why did this GM not approve of Pano and give him the green light (check mark). This GM refrained from giving an approval or disapproval. Very weird review. Confused GM? But it shows how Pano continues to charm and blind workers as well as journalists.
It is Pano who works in Pret since over 20 years, who implements and continues an abusive mystery shopper scheme and sets unrealistic targets for his bosses and shareholders to be happy.
That’s exactly the mistake many staff make, they are unhappy with how Pret are, how they are treated etc. but they don’t attribute this to the top leadership, because like former CEO Clive Schlee, current CEO Pano speaks “kindly” to staff in head office or when they do their rounds visiting shops.
And that’s exactly their game. It’s like a “bad cop / good cop” situation. It’s all a tactic, a game where the CEO separates himself from the harsh OPs (Operations/Area Managers) who are tasked to set high targets that GMs find unrealistic to reach.
CEO Pano, like Clive before him, is the “good cop” and let’s lower ranked staff be the bad cop, but all of these execs have a common goal: make as much money as possible on the backs of low-wage workers and customers.
But THE FISH STINKS FROM ITS HEAD!
In June 2017 Pret held a one or two week seminar only for leaders and managers at the prestigious Barbican Centre on customer service. I speak about this seminar extensively on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02, Part 03 and Part 04 of labeling issues and allergy trial. All episodes will open in a new window.
I speak about this seminar as it was held a year after the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died, but NO mention whatsoever on allergens or labeling. No training or retraining. NOTHING.
All we were “taught” was how to continue to “slime” customers and love-bomb them to gain and retain them and then bring back to the shops what we “learnt” (which was nothing new). In hindsight it seemed to me that the development team came up with this seminar where we learnt nothing new to use their annual budget. When departments don’t use their annual budget, it often gets cut for the next annual period.
That seminar seemed to me like a complete waste of time and funds. It could/should have been used to invite scientists and allergy experts in light of the first customer’s death and several injured to teach us on allergens and labeling. But no, Pret went ahead with a meaningless seminar in the expensive Barbican rooms.
The title of the seminar was called “Be Kind – Be Honest – Be Generous”. A VERY typical Pret brainwash which turns out to always be the complete opposite.
I explain on my 4 part podcast episodes above that Pret are far from kind when they did NOTHING after TWO customers died and several got injured, as well as having bullied me DURING bereavement and the systemic bullying culture that exists in Pret.
And being honest? I know from own experience how dishonest Pret are and expose some of their lies on social media.
And being generous? Let’s see how generous Pret are.
The email invite to the seminar where I got my slot to go:
Also, calling Pret’s training center an “academy” I felt always as a joke. In my training times in head office, I rarely learnt anything and had to train myself for years in shops searching and reading up on issues myself.
On 18. March 2020 just before the first lockdown when the whole world was still in the air about Covid, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% food rebates to all NHS workers every day. All they need to do is show their NHS badge and they get a free coffee and cheaper food.
Great. Everyone went crazy on Pret’s “generosity”. And as Pret are Pret, they often make these charity announcements to cover up what they’re doing in the background to staff or other dodgy things.
The very next morning 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM of a desperate staff that CEO Pano Christou sent an email to all shops and head office with the announcement that Pret will be cutting hours, and with it pay.
Pret used the NHS not only for PR but as a smokescreen to hide their nasty cuts to staff. very generous!
Full CEO email here: To NHS Employees. Already low-wage Pret workers basically PAID for the NHS PR stunt.
There was only ONE NHS staff who was disgusted at this after I started swamping Twitter with this:
Further on Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity”
Again, on 1st June 2022, just before the Queen’s Platinum Jubliee I woke up to a new DM by a different Pret staff reaching out to me that Pret for the 2. time this year delayed paying staff under supposedly “payroll errors”.
I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou but openly copying in the press including Sarah Butler from the Guardian, other journalists and BFAWU President Ian Hodson who, Sarah Butler then interviewed.
Again, Pret cleverly used an occasion, just like with the NHS freebies, where the public is distracted with the Queen’s celebrations AND knowing that on bank holiday Monday all banks are closed.
Part of the DM:
Pret’s announcement where if staff need money they can get it but with a fee which Pret supposedly would pay:
On Instagram a staff member announced to be sabotaging Pret now, others called sick as an indirect strike action. Food and service quality would be compromised:
Is it “exceptionally kind” of Pano to cut pay, use the pay cuts to fund NHS freebies etc. etc.?
WAKE UP EMPLOYEES!
People may ask why Pret would delay pay on purpose, simple, CEO Pano behaves exactly like a manager in Pret does. They have weekly, monthly, but most importantly quarterly targets to reach. June was moving to the end of the 2. quarter. And pay delays with constantly managers “forgetting” to pay hours helps shops and management to reach targets and get higher bonuses.
Pret settled TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workers close to a million dollars each time for WAGE THEFT!
Pret was also amongst UK companies being caught to pay some staff UNDER the legally required minimum wage and were then named and shamed by the UK Government.
Or a few years ago under Clive Schlee, customers started to boycott Pret after finding out that Pret wanted to get young people to get free labour, using the apprenticeship short-term experience to not pay them except via “free food”.
So, after I emailed Pet’s CEO copying in Sarah Butler and the press and Sarah wrote the following article, but it got drowned out by the Jubilee celebrations.
And Sarah Butler dug a little further later after I mentioned on my blog and podcast that Pano Christou received £300K pay in 2020 but didn’t spill the beans on how much he got in 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages. Then in August 2022 she reported the following:
So, in 2021 Pano got a £100K pay-rise and £4million in bonus while cutting as much as possible from low-wage staff who carried Pret through a dangerous pandemic. In 2020 Pano already got paid more than the UK Prime Minister and about the same as US President Biden. Since 2021 Pano overtook that further.
I could go on and on and on regarding Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity” by posting countless staff reviews on Pret’s wage theft, pay delay, missing pay as well as my own experience. But I want to end with my all-time favourite former customer tweet which I could not have put into better words!
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.
Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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