A Day in the Life of a Pret A Manger Worker

 

And the emotional, mental, physical and financial cost to staff.

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

 

LINK to Emotional Labour article

Upfront, Pret staff will NEVER spill the beans on why they are so cheery! They remain professional because they fall for the Pret trap like everyone. They only out themselves anonymous on review websites, YouTube etc., further below. Just very few speak out publicly. Even during the darkest period in grief and being bullied, I NEVER EVER even hinted to a customer what was going on! I was complemented on my professional service, smile, giving free coffees, and no-one knew that after my shift I went to the bridge at times.

Here is the short version in a nutshell why ALL (most) staff members EVERYWHERE in Pret are ALWAYS so smiley, cheery, friendly and helpful. No matter how busy and stressful it is.

The magic word: Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked to probe into a list of things every week in every shop, like if there is an adequate amount of selection during certain times, or if the shop incl. toilets are clean and so on. The most important thing the MS have to probe is customer service. I call them the “Misery” Shopper because many times they were so micromanaging pointing out the smallest stain on a table or a smudge on the window!

For Team Members there are two “motivating” factors for the smiley customer service:

  1. Cash incentives. Overall bonus for the whole shop team which is £1 per hour worked. So if a Team Member (TM) worked 40 hours that week, they will get an additional £40 on top of their contracted wage for that week, provided the MS report was all in the green area and then gave the bonus to the whole team. Managers’ bonuses are given quarterly. But a TM can individually also earn extra cash on top of the bonus (or even if the bonus for the whole team was lost).
    This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is £50 extra if the MS is super happy with a particular TM or even General Manager (GM), Assistant Manager (AM) etc. Meaning, if the TM “kissed butt” especially hard, gave a freebie etc. they can earn that extra cash on top of their wages and team bonus. If the report is 100% perfect scores and the MS awards an OC to a staff member, that TM earns double = £100. So, that one staff member gets their weekly wages, the weekly bonus PLUS the extra £50 or £100 cash. £50 OC (Outstanding Card) or £100 SOC (Super Outstanding Card).
    Side note: An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, it’s just a name for the extra cash award. There are no cards given, “just” the money. So, when a TM is EXTRA SPECIAL nice, it is often (not always!) that they assumed they’re serving the Mystery Shopper!
  2. Fear Management. If any TM or several of the Team messes up in any way resulting in bonus being lost for the whole team incl. GM (bonus not awarded by the MS), the angry manager will have a word with them. Depending what the bonus was lost on, this often is done in subtle or direct fear management where staff are made to fear for their job or position.

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £50, or £100 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background. The Mystery Shopper rewarded this TM for this reason, quote:
“I noticed that the avocado in the remaining veggie box salads were brown and I asked if there were any fresher ones. The team member said she would ask the kitchen to make me a fresh one. She telephoned them and said if it was okay she would take the veggie box to the kitchen and they would replace the avocado for me.”

Other times a TM gives a free coffee to the Mystery Shopper but does NOT get an Outstanding Card. It is completely up to the MS what blows them away and what not.

 

And here comes the long version.

I cover mainly the “smiley” culture of Pret in: “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers“, but I want to take the reader through a typical day in Pret A Manger, and why this MS scheme is dangerous for mental health, not to mention patronizing and humiliating. This Tweet is by PAMSU (Pret A Manger Staff Union) who got fired in 2012 for starting a Union under the pretense of having made homophobic remarks ten months (!) before:

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

First of all I want to start off by saying that I don’t think a Mystery Shopper scheme is a bad idea, I think it can be helpful to improve customer service where needed. The problem with Pret is, they take this to intense levels which I find abusive. The extreme “perfection” staff have to reach is done to create a picture to the public, that staff are so happy to work in Pret. In reality they are tasked to “perform” emotional labour (or “labor” for American readers!). It opens the door to abusive leadership, bullying environment forcing staff into “unnatural” behaviour they would normally not do, unless they “feel” it. And with many other abusive situations, like even domestic violence, bullying etc. people get conditioned to it, accept it as norm, but suffer internally and in silence also because it is systemic and seems acceptable. Everyone is subjected to this, so they feel they go out of line if they complain. At least that’s how I often felt, because everyone “is doing it”, it must be okay or normal to keep smiling even while bereaved. I share in my interview at the bottom of this page the horrific time I went through while already traumatized after I lost my brother.

Even journalists “get used” to abuse and accept it as the norm:

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

I want to share a rough timeline of activities on a day-to-day running of a Pret shop, as well as a little bit of the kitchen to paint a true picture of the immense stress staff are under on a daily basis. I was a Team Leader of the shop or also called Floor Leader (FL) and know working in the shop inside out. I can’t speak much about running a kitchen, but will briefly touch on the kitchen. The shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses that need two separate leaders. Both have their own separate challenges as well as positives.

For example in the shop staff HAVE TO smile and perform a cheery presence, while in the kitchen they can just be themselves. In the kitchen they have no windows, have to work super fast assembling products WITHOUT time to breathe until their break. In the shop there are windows to take a breath, while still having to clean, stock up etc. I often “mediated” between the teams when they were at “war” pointing fingers where the kitchen felt the shop team is lazy or the shop felt the kitchen team have it easier. I always pointed out to both teams that each team have their challenges as well as good parts, but that EVERYONE works hard and has a lot of stress, just differently.

 

Shop hierarchy:
General Manager (GM) and Assistant Manager Floor (AMF) are in plain business attire
Floor Leader (FL)

Baristas/Coffee Makers
Hot Food Chef (HFC)
Team Members (TM)

And whatever other position Pret comes up with, as they sometimes add job roles. But these are the main roles distinguished in their colours (belt, name badge) so outside teams can quickly identify who’s who.  The most important who does most of the hard work is the Team Leader. They really are the ones that run the shop, if they are good and don’t imitate most GMs who like to sit in the office, don’t help and just shout like slave masters.

Kitchen hierarchy:
Again the same General Manager (GM) but a different Assistant Manager Kitchen (AMK), plain business attire
Kitchen Leader (KL)
Team Member Trainer (TMT)
Team Members (TMs)

Kitchen TMs, the sandwich makers who are called “chefs” by Pret to make them feel better and portray to the public as if there was some real cooking going on in the kitchen! Lots of patronizing and fooling slogans like “Lovingly made in this kitchen today” bla bla…

In reality all the food comes already cooked, except the frozen bread, croissants etc. But all ingredients are ready cooked and delivered daily from factories. Hence also “Ready to Eat”. The soups come in large plastic bags and are heated in water baths. All other ingredients are like we have at home after getting the shopping from the supermarket. There’s no cooking involved, just heating up and assembling a sandwich. Even the “poached” eggs that do come raw, are just heated in sealed plastic pouches in a water bath. There are no pots and pans and stoves in Pret kitchens!

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

Link Under Show more: “The food isn’t fresh, it’s shipped already cooked in plastic bags and reheated. A joke.”

 

As the shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses in each shop, the AMF and/or FL run the shops and do the ordering for the shop, look after the Team, customers etc. The AMK and/or KL do the ingredient ordering for the kitchen, look after the Team etc.

As all Prets I’ve worked in are under-staffed to maximize profit and managers’ bonuses (incl. area managers and upwards) many TMs are pushed to multi-task. If a shop is lucky, they have 3 TMs on the tills in the mornings if there are 6-7 tills. They have 1 Barista with the GM doing coffee as well, as this is easier than customer service at the tills! GMs don’t like to work on the tills! As there aren’t enough staff, they ring the bell for one or two of the kitchen staff to then come out and help serve the queues during the morning rush. This puts an immense strain on the kitchen staff, who then get behind on their production, where they are expected to do a certain amount of products per hour. If they fail to finish in time, including cleaning etc., again they will be motivated through fear management and are bullied (subtly or openly) to work overtime, unpaid.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

MS: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.”

I coughed while serving the Mystery Shopper as I had a cold. But I chose not to stay home as we were not paid the first 2 days even when we have a sick note.

 

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

The £45 Mystery Shopper bonus she’s talking about is that she would have worked 45 hours that week. Each hour is £1 bonus, as Pret cuts the weekly bonus even when staff are sick for 1 day that week. And the rest £55 she means is the hours she lost for that 1 day. And Pret only responds to her Tweet because it’s public. In reality Pret does nothing and doesn’t care if staff are sick.

 

A recent Tweet to the CEO by a frustrated Team Member:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

A typical day in Pret

(underneath the slideshow)

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

A typical day in Pret

Main “Crunch” Times based on an average shop:
5AM
6AM
Between 8-10AM
Between 12 Noon-2PM
Afternoons until closing time.

I share these times from all the shops I worked at, with an average of 6 – 8 tills and a team of about 25 – 35 staff.

 

5AM start of shift. The first TMs come in and hopefully no-one called sick, as even ONE person missing puts incredible stress on the rest of the team because every team is tightly staffed.

Between 5-6AM there are around 6-8 TMs and later from 6 or 7AM onwards more people start coming in.

Kitchen TM starts preparation of slicing vegetables.

Shop TM, often the HFC but can also be the Barista, starts baking frozen croissants and baguettes. Every shop decides their own way who starts the shifts.

A Team Leader, can be KL or FL, should be starting first with Health & Safety checks, like taking the temperature of all cooling systems in case any fridge/freezer broke down over night warming the food which has to then be thrown away to avoid food poisoning. They also start checking the huge delivery of ingredients and products to make sure that nothing is missing, which then has to be re-claimed from the suppliers.

But reality in Pret is, because they like to staff very tightly, the first 3 – 6+ people from 5AM have 1 hour to get everything ready for 6AM opening time. It is extremely stressful to get everything done in time for opening, especially when the evening shift before left the shop in a bad state.

Many who are new make the mistake and start before 5AM UNPAID!! Because when they can’t finish in the unrealistically short time they’re given, the GM pushes them in pretense that they were not working well or fast enough. It’s psychology that happens in most Prets! But most of the Teams I’ve worked with are extremely hard working and work very fast, but are fooled and manipulated by managers who come in at 8 or 9 o’clock pressuring the Teams via the Team Leader or AM. And because the Team Leader wants to move up fast to escape this culture, they become bullies and only spare those that make friends with them.

Most shops have the HFC who starts all the baking and also preps the coffee machines, brings the milk out etc. Depending on how the evening Team left the shop, this often is a nightmare when the previous shift didn’t close properly, didn’t stock up etc.

At times this is due to lack of staff etc. But often it is simply due to laziness, where the evening Team Leader sits in the office all night, while the 2 people outside slave away without support! As a FL it was important to me to not do that, but to support my Team and we mostly finished in time leaving an immaculate shop for the morning Team. The next shift then had a clean and easier start. But many shops don’t care for the next shift, which in turn comes back to them when they take over from the morning team who retaliate to the evening Team… vicious circle and it adds to the stress that’s already there.

But I always changed that behaviour in every shop I worked in. This created a relaxed atmosphere where the teams started to work together instead of against each other, because they realized that this actually became much easier to work in support of each other instead of a cliquish environment.

 

6AM opening the doors

Again, if the Team had a good start and nothing went wrong, no delays etc. the shop can be open smoothly and customers can be served in a relaxed way.

 

Between 7:30-ish and 9-ish depending on the shop and which area they are in, the shop then becomes humongously busy with the coffee rush. But still there are only 2-3 TMs on the till if they are lucky and 1, maximum 2 Baristas. This forces the HFC to interrupt their hard, hot and sweaty work, to constantly having to jump in to “bust” the queues as the Teams have 1 minute to serve each customer which the MS probes them to the second!

A Mystery Shopper report excerpt (I added the blue writing and yellow marking):

07 15 seconds

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Where you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”
MS: “I was served very quicly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time?”
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And yet, the MS gave 4 out 5 points on each question as if 15 seconds wasn’t good enough. The point system is important mainly for managers. The more points the more bonus. So, even when the Team gets the bonus, but the points are not as high, GMs still stress and pressure the Teams because the manager’s quarterly bonus depends also on the point score. Managers are rewarded their bonus based on all the different results: profit, waste, labour, cleanliness etc.

But the Mystery Shopper reports and bonus system counts towards the largest chunk of managers’ bonuses! One GM was happy with his Team to cheat on everything, but the Mystery Shopper results. As a Team Leader new in his shop, he took me aside and said to me, “I close my eyes to everything, but not to the Mystery Shopper.” In other words, if I as a Team Leader failed to engage my Team and this resulted in poor MS results I’d get in big trouble. But on other things, even Health & Safety issues, he would have closed his eyes. … I’m not going to elaborate what my response was, but I communicated that he shouldn’t close his eyes to anything. I said that also because I was penalized for the smallest things in a previous shop. So, I made sure I covered all my basis and not let a greedy GM sabotage my job.

The MS being the biggest contributor of Managers’ bonuses creates even more stress because the Team get the message, “It is NEVER good enough what you achieve”. And I have countless example of how managers stressed us even when we got the bonus and even when someone got the OC. It’s never good enough unless it’s 100% perfect EVERY time. And even then, one slip, one mistake and all hell breaks loose!

This is the reason why so many customers complain on Twitter with half empty cups of cappuccinos, or a milky Americano where they asked for a black one. Because staff are so robotic, fast and on autopilot.

Only one of countless Tweets with photos like this:

2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

This is St. Pancras, one of the most busiest shops in Pret!

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret (after having read my blog I’m proud to say!!) and writes about a conversation she had with a Barista during coffee rush. Quote (I added the bold):

“Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe worked inside the scandal-hit chain and discovered a potentially fatal blunder with labelling and staff who are hugely over-stretched. …

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.

I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.

I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.

All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”.

He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”

When the bonus is lost, the boss will give the Team or the individual a good telling off. At times directly and loud, other times subtle manipulation threatening with the job security.

I survived this during bereavement! There was no mercy!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter of a typical cramped Barista working area.

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

The psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewer called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spent a lot of time building my team member UP when they messed up the Mystery Shopper after our manager put them DOWN, because putting down is counter productive and leads to mental health problems. If I had buckets of the tears that were flowing after the harsh telling off when the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy …

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

A Pret employee’s review on the Mystery Shopper pressure:

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

 

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

Between 7 and 9AM or even later, the GM starts to come in. Depending on the GM, some come at 7AM, others at 9AM etc. Some sit in the office during intense stressful morning rush. Others help. But if they help, almost all GMs prefer to be at the coffee machines with their backs to the customers, as customer service is extremely stressful with the demand to SMILE CONSTANTLY … for the Mystery Shopper. This is the frustrating thing for the Teams, because the GM pressures staff to be perfect for bonus, while themselves “hiding” at the coffee machines!

When I was bereaved and wanted to get away from customer service as I could not afford to stay at home unpaid, having lost all my savings. I begged the GM at times when I couldn’t hold back the tears, to please let me work in the kitchen for a day because I was tearing up at times on the shop floor. But because I wasn’t used to the pace in the kitchen, the GM denied this. I stopped asking then. But at times I asked the GM or AM if I can please be at the coffee, as I was really fast at the coffee and wanted to get away from facing customers in tears. Again, it was denied because most GMs are selfish and always choose the easiest job, no matter how a TM or even I as a leader, was doing!

A rare observation and even rarer comment by a customer who noticed that the manager is always sitting in the office during busy times. Pret tasks the Mystery Shopper also to record if they see a manager on the shop floor and what the manager was doing. Pret leaves all this to the Mystery Shopper instead of having regular visits from the Operations Managers (OPs – area managers). OPs often themselves sit in the pub during busy lunch times, pretend to be busy and mostly communicate via email. I know this for a fact, I’ve seen it.

Customer observation:

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

 

Here I want to paint the picture and would ask the reader who is a regular customer in Pret to take a morning out of their work routine if they can, go to Pret, sit closest to the till area where they can observe BEHIND the counter all the TMs. Sit down and JUST WATCH for 30-60 minutes during the most busiest coffee rush. Just sit there, quiet and concentrate without any distraction or phone, reading… Just observe for a solid hour and then ask yourself HOW staff can smile, have eye contact and make polite conversation with EACH customer!

They can, but only because of the above mentioned cash incentive and fear management via the Mystery Shopper.

MS excerpts:

04 MS

Pret probing on the INDIVIDUAL Team Member:

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”
MS: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engage[d] and positive.”
(No concern if the TM was extremely busy and may have gone through person tragedy, depression etc.)

 

Pret probing on the WHOLE Team:

05 Attenditve to EACH customer

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”
MS: The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

 

ANY and ALL the Team are under CONSTANT observation and fear of being watched and rated! All the time. Every moment. Not only from the CCTV all over the shop and office, but managers, customers and Mystery Shoppers.

 

Yes, Pret states “reasonable time” and depending how busy it was etc. And the above MS contradicts themself by saying “where possible”. But the Teams are so conditioned and robotic, they always rush and the GMs stress them even during the quiet periods. If they can’t finish a task, they have to often stay longer unpaid. If they DO finish the task, they are criticized for not kissing the Mystery Shopper’s butt sweet enough when they enter the shop! It is always a lose-lose situation and NEVER good enough!!

And here is the perversion of Pret’s Emotional Labour abuse, and I call this perversion and abuse!!

Because this is what it is, PERVERSE, ABUSIVE, BULLYING and EXPLOITING!

Put yourself in their shoes.

A low-paid TM (£8.65 per hour in London) serves between 100 – 200+ customers before lunchtime going through the hellishly hectic coffee rush!

While they slave away like this, they have to smile, make eye contact, some conversation and go the “extra mile” give freebies etc. AND remember all the coffee order, hear the Barista call out the coffees that get constantly mixed up. They have to answer questions, especially on allergens, be polite to rude customers ETC! ………. and be like acrobatic clowns so that Clive Schlee CEO alone can pocket £30 million after JAB purchased Pret.

And customers remain fooled to think staff are so happy in this hellish environment forced to be like clowns because they have kids to feed!

AM ure Misery

Assistant Manager 2017 NY

Highlighting from above review:

“The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. … Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. You don’t get paid your full hourly rate if you don’t impress the “mystery shopper”. This place is what hell must be like.
Advice to Management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

It’s not the first time that an American reviewer angrily wants Pret to go back to the UK.

 

01 Go back to UK

Corporate NYC Review

 

I could add countless reviews like this also from YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites, but to shorten this, the smile behind Pret is forced via Mystery Shopper’s bonus / cash incentives and fear management.

Anyone who falls for this facade that staff are so happy to work in Pret can remain lulled in if they want to.

I have to also say that staff truly love to give freebies and help customers, they really do. I did, my teams did etc. BUT becoming conditioned to this and then being bullied when personal tragedy hits you like it did me and many others, will add to mental health problems, even depression.

I was leaked an email recently which the Director of HR wrote to all the shops that two  staff members died within a month. I was told by the people who leaked the email to me that one was a suicide. They don’t know the circumstances of the other TM.

But I know of an AMK who died by suicide in 2017 and I may have learned about her turmoil before she died.

I almost went over the edge with what I’ve been through in Pret. If I would have gone through, my death would be the third suicide in Pret. And my suicide would certainly be related to Pret A Manger’s bullying environment. I explain in full in below interview.

So, dear reader, if you have an hour to spare in the weekday morning, go to your local, or even better, another Pret where they don’t know you, sit close to the counter where you have a good view of all TMs. And just observe WITHOUT being distracted. But observe in a subtle way as TMs will assume you are the Mystery Shopper if you “stare” at them. But then again, you may get a free coffee or even breakfast if the Team thinks you are the MS! 😀

If you read though all this, thank you for reading and caring! Please know, I never take people’s time lightly. I know I write a lot, it’s my passion. But I always appreciate people’s time with difficult subjects and when their perception is crushed. I always say, if something looks too good to be true, especially in profit-driven multi-billion pound business, please take a closer look.

 

The Clever Marketing of the Free Coffee give a way, and why Pret may not be doing a Loyalty Card Scheme: FREE Coffees in Pret A Manger.

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?

 

NEW:
Clive Schlee’s “retirement” and the
Dangers of the Lack of Leadership“.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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Pret A Manger Overtime NOT Paid

 

Here I list only a few of the many Pret staff reviews and complaints about being pressured and pushed for time. How they are pushed to work so fast they HAVE TO cut corners like on hand-washing, hygiene, cross contamination etc.

I witnessed this time and time again, having to prompt staff to wash their hands in-between production of different items (from meat to veggie) and after the toilet etc. Pret does have standards in place and a book to tick boxes of duties, incl. hand washing done. But these boxes are mostly just ticked and the jobs are not done because time is money… as usual. Doing all the duties expected will slow the teams down and get them in trouble. It’s a lose-lose situation which some of the below reviews show so clearly. And I have witnessed this countless times. As staff are not paid overtime, they stop caring. Period. The public is fooled by the shiny PR[et] facade, not matter how many customers die, they want to believe the fairy tale that is Pret A Manger.

 

Illusion

 

I let the reviews speak for itself.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

The 1 minute rule to serve customers which the weekly Mystery Shopper probes. If even ONE staff member takes too long, the whole team loses the bonus.

Mystery Shopper excerpt:

1 Minute Smile

The kitchen have targets of doing a certain amount of sandwiches/items per hour. The above reviews explain the system how they are pushed with little time given and then expected to stay longer, unpaid. UK Pret workers should file a class action like their colleagues did in the U.S.

More extensive writing about this in “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and “How Emotional Labour Harms us all

More general complaints:

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two recent Staff Deaths?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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.

Pret A Marketing 2 – “On the House”

 

What are the news on the homeless house?

One guy advertised for it with Nicki Fisher.

What’s with the house of the “Rising Stars”?!

I put it in brackets as I find this patronizing to label former homeless people like this, especially since the majority of Pret staff are like “Fallen Stars“.

I wrote on the Social Bite homeless village project in July 2018. It took Social Bite 2 years to build a village. It took Pret, a multi-million (by now billion) pound company 5 years to plan, buy and advertise a house for homeless people in London? Mind you, those former homeless people Pret takes, interestingly seemed to have been short-term homeless and mainly young people…all with little “baggage”, compared to those who were on the streets for years with addictions and loads of “life” behind them … not easy to bulls**t anymore.

And now Nicki Fisher who headed up the Pret Foundation Trust (PFT) goes to rural places in the hopes to help some burnt out people? Really?

I thought the Pret house is helping former homeless people back into work and accommodation? Ah, I see, it’s all in the wording.

From the below Tweet:
“Nicki will be embarking on a new adventure with her wife as they open their home in the East Sussex countryside as a rural retreat for those in need.”

Open to interpretation as to who’s in need and what the need is.

2019-05-30 Nikki Fischer rural

Now there’s a proper Pret smile!

Link & Link

The Pret homeless house in London just doesn’t seem to be doing it for Nicki. And it makes sense, because people who were homeless, traumatized, vulnerable etc. need rural and quiet places to recover. Daah!

Pret’s homeless house of the “Rising Stars” is just another smile on Pret’s face … facade!

And why is none of the “Rising Stars” on Twitter etc. telling how great it all is? Instead, they are only sharing, if at all, with Pret’s camera on them. But outside of Pret? What’s their take?

It takes rural places to recuperate from tragedy of homelessness, trauma, loss etc. And here are the brutal places of Pret A Manger and their “Fallen Stars”:

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car, losing everything.

 

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, Clive Schlee shares how the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop. From the manager to the kitchen sandwich makers, having all former homeless people work in one shop.

Why?

CEO Quote (I added the colour to highlight something where he’s indirectly giving himself away):

“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

And on the 450 “Rising Stars” since the 10 years of the Pret Foundation Trust, working with former homeless people, some people finally probe deeper also on Facebook and are just not buying it:

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

Here’s why Georgia:

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

The same CEO who takes former homeless people to his Austrian PRoperty for a hike in the beautiful countryside, is the same CEO who has a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit repaying the investors since private equity took over.

Also, is it coincidence that the PFT was founded in 2008 just when Bridgepoint Capital purchased Pret and started squeezing the lifeblood out of employees? With Pret A Manger I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. My own story where Pret used a development manager who supposedly also had a brother who died alone in his flat and wasn’t found until days later. Yet, after Pret bullied me and I became ill, she was introduced to me, but not for mutual support as we (if she!) had the same loss, but she was used to gaslight me. Full story in my interview at the bottom of this page.

 

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2018-07-06 Head Office PR

19. Dec. 2017

 

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

Who will investigate staff deaths, in particular suicides?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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.

Pret A Marley Shot the Sheriff & Plenty of Deputies

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car.

 

The light, humorous tone of this blog entry is to continue a serious issue in Pret A Manger including recent staff deaths.

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

@preth8ers on Facebook

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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.

 

Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?

 

NOTE upfront, as people, the press, customers will ask Pret on this, they of course will not give any info. That’s why Pret needs an independent investigation like the inquest did with the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from an unlabelled product.

Amnesty International had independent investigations leading to 5 senior leaders resigning.

Two staff at Amnesty died by suicide last year which led to the investigation into a “toxic” work environment.

I may not be in the position of an investigator, but my knowledge of 10 years in Pret with my last 3 years traumatized and bullied during bereavement, I almost died by suicide and had close calls. I was completely out of my mind in shock, grief and the bullying environment of Pret. I’m just now slowly coming out of this darkness. I confront Pret on a suicide of an Assistant Manager in 2017. I may have learned about her turmoil a few months before she died.

I was also leaked an email recently that the Director of HR Andrea Wareham sent to all shops in May 2019, with the news that two Pret shop staff have died within a month. I was told that one died by suicide. The other staff member’s passing, the “leakers” don’t know the circumstances. This is the first time to my knowledge that Pret communicates staff deaths. I was a Team Leader and had access to Pret emails, even the death of the AM in 2017 was not communicated to us, let alone that it was a suicide. I only learned by word of mouth between shops, as this AM worked in the same area I worked in. And the two customer deaths were not communicated to us, not even to us leaders. Absolutely nothing was communicated, not even a hint to be more diligent with labelling and allergen info! Nothing!

This looks to me like Pret may have been advised by their legal team, but more likely a PR company to communicate when people have died, as this will come out anyway sooner or later since the press has a close eye on Pret and my website exposing from a behind the scenes perspective. Pret knows my website in case anyone is in doubt, I confront them on Twitter as well. And maybe they were even advised by the new owners JAB / Reimann via Chairman Peter Harf, who advised the Reimann family to research and publish their own Nazi past before anyone else does.

At least Pret may have heeded that advise if there was one. But they still don’t listen to the Staff Complaints and my speaking out. And when they lose a Tribunal case, they pay the peanuts and go back to business as usual.

Part of the email (I “smudged” out the names):

PretAMAnger_TWO_StaffDeaths_May2019

I always shudder when big companies refer to themselves as “family”. Especially those that exploit their employees behind the smiley facade. Psychology and manipulation of large corporations these days.

 

And this may be the reason a customer complained on Twitter of the unusual shortness of staff, if this is the South Terminal of Gatwick she was at. Pret shops are often short staffed, and when an emergency happens, there’s no backup. Even just 1 staff member calling sick puts enormous pressure on the rest of the team as Pret loves to staff very tightly to maximize profit and squeeze the life blood out of staff. The Job-center Tweets have increased lately on Gatwick positions. If this is the South Terminal, staff may have been upset of the death and called sick or quit as it isn’t unusual for staff to just walk out and never come back:

2019-06-03 Gatwick short staff death

Link

 

Also, Pret knowing and having been part of my trauma with the emailing, that the Director of HR brings the news of people having died via EMAIL shows that they not only don’t learn their lessons, but they don’t care! I keep saying to people to NEVER bring the news of someone’s death via email, text message, social media but only in person or via a telephone call, unless there is no other way. Pret could have had a meeting with all their General Manager (GMs) who then could have conducted team meetings in their shops or meetings with their leaders. Yes, this would take some extra time and effort, but CARE always takes effort! I write extensively about my emailing issues in “Not Quite a Beautiful Mind” and how abusive and discriminatory Pret A Manger really is.

Since the two customer deaths became public and my public writings against Pret, they may have changed and communicate people’s deaths now, yet continue to do this the quick and easy way via email!

I almost died after what I went through in Pret. Full story in below interview.

Another former Pret Assistant Manager lost his case against Pret for being overworked to the point of becoming suicidal. The judge ruled that the former Assistant Manager was too ambitious. Yet, I know Pret. I know how they overwork especially leaders, who are caring and hard working, compared to managers who just sit in the office blaming everyone around them. Shops at times have no General Managers (GMs). I have worked as a Team Leader and covered for managers when they were on holiday. I never received what they called a “step-up pay”, not even a “thank you”.

I can also relate to this AM’s claim that he was “scapegoated for failure” as this is a very typical Pret thing, to blame downwards which can also be seen in countless staff reviews I collected in the below slide show and long list linked to it. As a Team Leader I worked extremely well but was blamed constantly for the incapability and plain laziness of managers, especially when I became bereaved.

Pret cleared suicidal

Picture from the Daily Mail article.

The Daily Mail calls a 46 years old man an ambitious “young” manager. I first thought they meant a twenty-something year old ambitious young manager. 46 is not old, but close to 50 he isn’t a young man either. Even though the judge has ruled and Mr. Saad didn’t seem to have appealed, I really do think his story is valid, knowing Pret. Including having been in hospital! He was probably fed up and exhausted, not to mention having lost money in the case, but who knows what an appeal would have done.

 

A Guardian article on the toxic work environment at Amnesty International. There are many toxic issues even in charities that people often don’t realize is happening. In the Amnesty report they found that many staff have a “martyrdom” mentality where they overwork as they care. The above former Pret AM is like many Pret staff are, they overwork, want to prove they are good at their jobs but get the life-blood sucked out of them. In the above case, the judge ruled against Mr. Saad. But I know Pret. I gathered many staff complaints from various websites (incl. YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites) and just compiled a selection in below Slideshow, not to mention my horrific story with Pret! I explain in my interview at the bottom of this page why I withdrew my Tribunal claim against Pret.

Pret also has public humiliation in place, at least during my 10 years when I worked at Pret. Emails from HQ would be sent to all shops naming and shaming shops/managers when they failed in Health and Safety scores for example. Shops could also check every Friday via a link on complaints from customers all shops received that week. So my shop could see all the complaints about other shops and all shops could see our customer complaints. I myself was targeted during already traumatic grief via email from my then line manager, who would blame me in group emails, always copying in his line manager (our area manager). When I applied for my file I read emails from the area manager to HR and back, brainstorming on how to get rid of me. It was systematic and is systemic.

 

DW Amnesty Toxic

Photo on Deutsche Welle (DW report)

The FULL independent report.

After the news of the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from unlabelled allergen in a Pret product, I asked on Twitter how many more there are if Pret was able to hide this. Knowing Pret and of at least 1 suicide of the AM in 2017, with myself also almost over the edge, I asked this question before the second death of Celia Marsh became public. I was aiming mainly at staff suicides after what I survived, but little did I know there really was a second customer who died:

2018-09-30 How many more suicide pret

Link

So, I ask again, how many staff have died by suicide that is related to work conditions in Pret. Who will investigate Pret A Manger that has a toxic work environment, after I presented my story and other staff experiences as if on a silver platter to the public. Sure Pret does their own investigations, but from my experience with HR hearings, these investigations are what a Tribunal Judge once called “fundamentally flawed“. That was also my experience.

In Pret TWO customers died, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized, numerous warnings by customers to Pret on allergen labelling ignored until the deaths became public.

Staff died, the work conditions are horrendous, and yet Clive Schlee, CEO and Pano Christou, COO go full steam ahead, doing business as usual, fooling the public with sweet-talk and free coffees. And all this now under the new owners JAB / Reimann, expanding in the U.S. where Brexit is a far distance. The COO position in Pret is new since JAB purchased Pret. Pano Christou (who came from McDonald’s management before joining Pret) was before the JAB takeover Pret’s UK Managing Director, a position held before by Andrew Walker, who then became the CEO of EAT…which is now purchased by Pret (well, by JAB really!). And I always find it interesting in Pano Christou’s case who likes to keep a low profie and even has on his Twitter profile “@ Pret” not connected to “@Pret”. Don’t want to spilt hairs, but why I mention this is that Pret A Manger leadership is notorious for hiding behind a facade and not take responsibility, but blame downwards! This reflects on manager after manager, leader after leader I have worked with and so many in the below reviews complain about.

In all of this, the absolute WORST thing that can happen in a company: CUSTOMERS DIED!!! There is NOTHING worse that can happen to a company. And in Pret it happened TWICE with a third almost fatal as well… But there are no resignations, no investigations, no responsibility! UNBELIEVABLE!

Pret being a “fun” place to work? I would laugh if it wasn’t so dead serious! Pret has the most beautiful facade of any company I know, and the most toxic work environment behind that facade that I ever encountered anywhere!

UPDATE: Recent reviews on Glassdoor

2019-06-1 Toxic no training StPanc

Link (St. Pancrass, one of the most busiest, stressful shops)

 

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

Link “This company is everything that is wrong with the world…Corporate hell on earth.”

 

2019-06-11 First World Slavery

Link

 

2019-05-05 DON'T APPLY Team Leader

Team Leader Review

 

2019-05-08 Worst place barista Oxford

Barista Oxford Review

 

Go back

Corporate NYC Review

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

I want to enlarge this review on Head Office by a former IT Analyst. I underline this, having gotten to know some from HQ with my horrific story (interview at the bottom).

Quote:
“Some people who got lured in by company PR
Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

June 2019 Glassdoor Stats
And this shows how the £1000 “carrot” was a big PR stunt and not a generous gift I’m writing about. In a nutshell: Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement on the 29th May 2018 when he became aware of my website. I explain here in >>> The Timing of the £1000 Announcement.

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

Two more groups of former Pret staff that are not as active:
@__PAMSU__ got fired for starting a Union in 2012 (VIDEO) and
I Hate Pret A Manger (preth8ers) on Facebook started in 2011

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

 

UPDATE June 2019

I remember the news on the suicides in a French company and periodically over the years checked on this.

Between 2008 and 2009 THIRTY-FIVE (35) staff died by suicide! >>> France24.com

Appreciate that there was an independent investigation into Amnesty International for 2 staff suicides. ONE work related suicide is one too many!

The French news story disappeared. And now after 10 years…

Arrow

Guardian France Telekom Suicides

Picture from the Guardian Article

Who will look into Pret?!

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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.

 

Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

 

… from a former Pret employee having survived systemic workplace bullying and gaslighting under Pret’s HR, CEO Clive Schlee and a Development Manager from HQ, who’s also an NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist under the National Hypnotherapy Society. On a side note, many Pret leaders from HQ and Operation Managers are NLP practitioners. It seems Pret encourages them to the NLP course, and if one researches on Neuro-linguistic Programming, it is or can be a tool to manipulate people.

As my website has become quite large with various writings from behind the scenes, I decided to create an Index to the most important issues regarding Pret A Manger, that portray themself as this ethical and caring company.

I am still in disbelief myself on what I went through, and writing about it helped me survive and come back to my senses, and expose Pret A Manger! I declined 4 settlement offers from Pret if I am silent about my ordeal and never go to court. I explain in full in my interview at the bottom of most pages here or as the first feature of the below index.

The very fact that Pret did NOTHING after TWO customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized, and numerous warnings ignored, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public remains lulled in, especially in the UK whereas in the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits! The German Reimann family behind JAB, the new owners of Pret, work very hard to divert issues opening in various countries in a whirlwind, more charity work etc.

I write so boldly and loud because I almost lost my life, having been targeted and bullied during already traumatic bereavement. I had several close calls at the bridge and am very proud that I made it through to expose this company!

If this is the only thing I do, having survived this toxic company that hides behind the shiny PR[et] facade and fake smiles, I will do it as thoroughly and detailed as I did when I worked for Pret! I wasted 10 years of my life in this company and explain in my interview how I went through this. This is not a disgrunted former employee, this is more. This is a about a company that portrays itself to the public as this ethical company and lures in customers as well as employees, exploiting staff for profit. This is just a usual business out for profit as any company is, but the public has been lulled in for years about Pret A Manger and it is human nature to want to believe a fairy-tale…

I confront Pret on a suicide of an assistant manager in 2017 of whom I learned prior to her death. I almost went over the edge, Pret hid TWO customer deaths until it became public, how many suicides of current or former staff happened no-one knows about.  I was recently leaked an email that Director of HR Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops informing them that two Pret staff have died in two different UK shops. One of them I was told was a suicide, the other person’s death is unclear to the persons who leaked the email. The press is informed and in my 10 years in Pret having had access to Pret emails as I was a team leader, I have never seen an email regarding staff deaths.

Pret must have learned from the customer deaths they never even told us  about and also my situation that the truth will always come out.

It is my biggest regret having wasted my time, skill, effort and care for Pret A Manger.

If people don’t believe my story, I have evidence and confront Pret openly on Twitter, Facebook etc. Again, I explain in my interview why Pret is not responding. All I can say to everyone regarding the nice facade of Pret or any company is:

If something looks too good to be true, take a closer look!

The below Index takes openness to read, as many people want to believe the fairy-tale that is Pret A Manger. Only the Unions, Activists and some from the Press know better and look closer.

 

Illusion

 

I start the index with my own story in an interview and continue with general issues, categorizing as best as I can. Any reader and writer, please be aware of the work I’ve put into this website before you just cope & paste and mind the copyright. I have other websites as back-ups. I am open for any interview and article feature, as well as questions.

Any new writings in the future that I may add, I will indicate as UPDATE or NEW.

 

Index:

Links open in a new window / tab

 

INTERVIEW

For the first time I share my story with Pret verbally in an interview on a podcast based in California. Interview with The Adam Paradox: (The interview can be played while scrolling through this page and is featured on my website at the bottom of most pages)

 


 

ARTICLE

An article I wrote that is featured in the monthly Scottish Left Review May/June 2019 edition (pages 21-22), or as a direct link via my blog:
On the Frontline: Crushed by Corporate Capitalist Culture

 


 

PRESS

Journalist Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret after reading my blog, and having suggested to her to go undercover. I added my thoughts to her report in “Undercover Under Pressure


 

UPDATE May 2019

LINK >>> TWO recent Pret staff deaths

I was leaked an email that HR Director Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops mid/end of May that TWO Pret staff have died within a month. One staff I was told was a suicide, the other TM the “leakers” don’t have the info. It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

 


 

£1000 FOR ALL STAFF
(£800 after tax)

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 announcement (after he became aware of my Blog)

 


 

PRET STAFF REVIEWS & COMPLAINTS

On the below slideshow I added just a selection of staff reviews and comments to save long blog entries. These are from review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, but also from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other websites where people commented on the work environment in Pret.

Just some examples, before the Slideshow, from former Pret employees in NYC, London etc.:

Go back to UK

Link

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Four years after Bridgepoint took over Pret and tasked to open on every corner in London specifically. Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment.

 

2019-03-07 Modern Slavery

Link

 

IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 overall figures on Glassdoor

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

CEO CLIVE SCHLEE RETIREMENT
NEW CEO PANO CHRISTOU

NEW 01. July 2019: Announcement of early “retirement” of Clive Schlee supposedly in September, but new CEO Pano Christou is already featured on Glassdoor, probably to avoid further negative voting for Schlee.

A list of articles I wrote on Clive Schlee: “Clive Schlee – Late Night Girl Articles

Article on Pano Christou, new CEO officially from September 2019.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

July 2019 New CEO, new start on Glassdoor

 


 

CUSTOMER OBSERVATIONS
on Stressful Work conditions

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

Pret Staff work in overheated shops. Customer complaints on behalf of employees regarding excruciating work conditions in 35-40ºC+ heat for prolonged time, weeks and months.

 


 

FORCED SMILES & HAPPINESS
for Mystery Shopper bonus, extra cash and fear management

How Companies Force Emotional Labor on Low-Wage Workers

The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile via cash incentives and fear management

How Emotional Labour Harms us all – my comments on an article in the NewStatesman

 

Pret Uniform2

 


 

PRET’S MARKETING with Charity
and Former Homeless People

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 


 

ALLERGEN DEATHS
and Pret’s procrastination

Ongoing Issues – Hospitalization, mislabelling, cross-contamination, understaffed …

Vegetarians eat Ham and Meat products – more ongoing issues

Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Allergen Label Warnings Pret ignored before and even after customer deaths

 


 

VARIOUS LAWSUITS
(that I’m aware of, there are more, but depending how public they are)

USA: Two Wage Lawsuits settled that Pret employees filed, re-paying 4000 workers (middle section of page).

USA: Deceptive Packaging Class Action settled. But the misleading packaging still continues.

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat Lawsuits vs. Pret on the “Natural” Food claim while Glyphosate was found in food. Change of signage, packaging and Website.

USA: 2016 “sesame reaction” Lawsuit and Pret doing ZERO
At the bottom of the page: A New York customer suffered an anaphylactic shock from unlabelled sesame in a Pret Wrap. He lost the case, yet Pret still did nothing to label food even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from the same unlabelled allergen in the same year of 2016.

USA March 2019 Court PDF Document of new lawsuit regarding Pret’s “Natural” claim. List of chemicals from page 10 onward.

No Lawsuit, but ongoing complaints regarding the watery Chicken Broccoli and Brown Rice soup

NEW Slideshow: Pret A Manger Bang Bang Rip-Off Wrap

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FREE COFFEES MARKETING

And why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card System

 


 

EXTERNAL PRESS ARTICLES

Pret A Manger and “broken windows” syndrome

My Comments on Sathnam Sanghera’s article in The Times: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it”

Man invoices Pret A Manger and EAT. for time spent waiting in shops

The Guradian article: “The brilliant Pret a Manger marketing con we want to fall for

 

… more to come

 

Robot sad crop

 

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A customer’s comment in Chicago regarding a deceased Pret employee and Pret in general.

 


 

Lastly, THE Best description of SYSTEMIC Workplace Bullying and what I have gone through under Pret’s senior leadership and HR, is summed up in this text I found on Twitter.

I have spent over a year writing my hands into a carpal tunnel (not really, just using a metaphor!) on what I’ve been through in Pret A Manger. I described how systemic and toxic Pret’s bullying is behind the smiley facade!

I can wrap up my whole experience and website in this one text:

 

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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.

You will Lose Everything that makes You Human – Pret A Manger

 

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(I left all the mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words)

 

»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you

Collected on the Long List of Pret Staff Complaints and Reviews

 


 

UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview.

Interview:

 

 

Adam

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

For an overview of important blog entries of my experience in Pret A Manger, please visit My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The arrow next to each heading will lead directly to the post. Thank you for reading.

 

©2019 expret.org

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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Pret A Manger Slideshow

 

02 Annahilates Humanity12

 

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For the first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview. Underneath the interview section are selected reviews from current and former Pret Staff.

 

 

Adam

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

Long List of Pret Staff Complaints and Reviews from diferent positions, countries, years…

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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.

Pret A Manger Snapshots, Experiences & Reviews

 

UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview. Underneath the interview section are selected reviews from current and former Pret Staff.

 

 

 

Adam

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen. For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Go back to the UK, Pret I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment.

Workers are slave Very bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort…”

I want to be as loud as possible herePRET DOESN’T CARE!I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth.

Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”

horrible management … management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life… i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.”

Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake.

Never again – very poor screening system when choosing management, lots of hr issue unsolved … reconsider the Happy Team, Happy Customer scenario and solve the hr issues from headoffice

Not for britishI felt like an outsider in my own country. Train your managers! They look unhappy and stressed.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paris:Charge de travail horrible – Entreprise a fuir absolument, des rushs épouvantables parfois 7 jours de travails consécutifs sans repos.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~man-320273__340

 

Never left a job so fast – I worked only a few week in Pret but fell used and stressed out. Expectations is high but no help from manager.”

If I could give zero stars I wouldPret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there. Pret looks good from the front but once you work thete it’s a lot of stress”

You can do better – I was stressed out nearly everyday. The manager was very unprofessional and disrespectful.”

The place was always dirty. People wouldn’t take the job seriously. Everyday people would call out. I wouldn’t recommend working at this company. Avoid.”

to much stress for little pay – bad managers in most shop I worked, dirty work kitchen don’t wash hands …”

Hellhole …you treat people like they’re useless and worthless… get down from that high horse you’re on”

“Squandered opportunities Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

Pure Misery kitchen staff is treated like slaves… The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives… Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Exploitation, racism: Sfruttamento – azienda poco seria e stipendi molto bassi, poca vita sociale e turni troppo lunghi, bullismo e razzismo erano all’ordine del giorno”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Despair pexels-photo-568027

~~~~~~

Intense and stressful environmenthostile work environment.”

HorriblePret A Manger is honestly a very unprofessional work environment. I’ve met great people at the job but the job itself is very stressful and not worth the pay.”

I hate work in Pret A MangerTreat all fair and don’t push so much.

Wouldn’t recommendThere are lot of slogans and promises of awards but when you do well there is no award. Manager is stressed and hectic no time to learn and make mistakes.”

Unfriendly environment people were too mean”

Don’t work for Pret when you sickI have disability from doctor but manager don’t believe me. they push hard no matter when you sick or not.

Discrimination and favouritismIf you can play games Pret is perfect.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Manager: Not the best place to workNot much support to the management from the Operations Team. Had to work there at least 12 hours, as there was no other manager in the store, due to some HR issue … As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2018-10-15 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

“Other locations were filthy. Seriously… I worked at a relatively new location with staff that enjoyed themselves… but I was sent to a couple other locations at times if they needed help and ooooh was it a different story.

Bad experience – don’t be racist

They don’t pay leaders enough money. They transfer you from store to store if the gm don’t like you

Employees made the place hell to work

Ehh not worth it at all – Unprofessional staff, youre not even trained properly they just throw you in there.

The idea of proper training is also rediculous – Most people are taken in under promises

Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”

The brainwash is real A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period.”

Modern Day SlaveryDepression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

Pixabay Tears man-1465525__340

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Manager: Great company in risk of ruin! Forced to work without pay, expected to work during annual holiday, pressure on profit leading to unsafe food practices, bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, discrimination… Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Head Office:Great brand poor management – Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Manager:Standards have dropped in recent years, growing animosity between team members and even their managers…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s all gone downhill …”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

pexels-photo-767387

~~~~~~

Taken from the Long List of Staff Complaints
from outside Review websites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook of various positions, countries, years …

~ & ~

How Companies Force Emotional Labour on Low Wage Workers

 


 

For an overview of important blog entries of my experience in Pret, please visit My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The arrow next to each heading will lead directly to the post. Thank you for reading.

 

©2019 expret.org

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.

 

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints (UPDATED July 2019)

 

For the first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview.

Underneath the interview section are reviews/complaints from current and former Pret Staff.

You can still listen to the interview while scrolling below to the many staff complaints. Links to the reviews open in a new window or tab depending on what’s selected.

On Vimeo:

 

Or Audio Player:

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

 

Glassdoor review 05.05.2019 from a Team Leader

2019-05-05 DON'T APPLY Team Leader

Link

 

Glassdoor again 08. June 2019 from a Barista in Oxford

2019-05-08 Worst place barista Oxford

Link

July 2019 Glassdoor percentage:
44% of staff (all positions incl. Shops staff, HQ staff, Management etc.) recommend working for Pret; 50% recommend the CEO. Occasionally these numbers rise again when suspiciously 5+ positive reviews in a row appear listing each position. But the truth will always surface:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

I write extensively about Clive Schlee’s “legacy” on “Late Night Girl Articles“. For new readers Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl” which I explain in my interview (audio player) and I used this label to be a sore in his sight!

On 14. July 2019 Clive Schlee was still on Glassdoor as the CEO. But since I post these percentages on my blog and on Twitter, since 15. July Pano Christou who’s to take over as CEO in September 2019 appears already as the CEO:

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

 

And on 22. July 2019 he starts on a “clean cut”:

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

A customer complained on Twitter about how when it is very busy the manager is not helping on the shop floor but sitting in the office. I mention this in my interview as well.

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

The second Tweet is a response to the CEO’s reply to the above tweet, yet it’s not addressed to his Twitter account nor posted in the same feed as above. I wonder what that’s all about:

2019-03-19 Customer re managers

Link

 

Another customer

 

2019-03-22 Emma Customer observation

Link

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness3

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link


 

If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I linked from outside Employment Review websites, YouTube, Twitter etc. as well as what I survived in Pret.

 


 

Horrible Company Pret

 

2019-03-02 Team Leader Never Again

 

01. June 2019 “Exhausting work, slave labour”

2019-06-01 Sanish exhausting slave labour

Link

UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 

2019-03-01 Paris horrible

 

2019-02-09 Response to Homeless House Tweet2

 

Italian: Exploitation, racism …

Rough translation: Not very professional company and very low paid, little social life. And too long shifts, bullying and racism was everyday routine

2018-11-21 Italian Exploitation Racism

 

2019-02-28 I hate work in Pret

 

A customer in Chicago commenting on a deceased Pret staff and Pret itself:

Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

Link

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

»Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. This place is what hell must be like.«

Link

 

A rare observation and acknowledgement from the outside of the forced happiness/friendliness of staff:

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

#EndTheMysteryShopper

 


 

When customers who are so impressed with Pret because they only see the outside, the facade through the PR[et] machine, they ask Pret about these complaints and then are too easily sweet-talked into believing that this is just an unfortunate exception. But the truth will always come to the surface, no matter how long it takes.

I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.

I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.

One major reason, but not the only one why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.

In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions to improve work conditions was an inconvenience. When nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager from HQ who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both that can be very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine and that way they used her to get to me, stepping on her as well as my dignity.

On a side note, she is governed under this therapy body who have a commitment right on their front page that I have not seen on other therapy sites: “Our accredited Register status helps to ensure the safety and protection of the public.” I find this  odd, as if they have therapists who are not working for the safety and protection of the public. This Development Manager who is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner certainly is not adhering to safety and protection.

I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR, and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. I declined 4 settlement offers not signing anything and survived to speak of the ordeal I went through. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department, and Pret in general claims.

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even recently on employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites in the long list below.

 

Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.

 


 

The first person ever to stand up publicly against Pret’s terrible work-conditions was Andrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.

Link

 

In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour to get away from the seriousness and pain, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people hidden behind the shiny PR(et) facade.

 

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything, but there may be fake reviews! And also the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out. Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.

True reviews will always continue be written on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.

 

One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”

Another review also from NY: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.

On the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.

Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!

You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay, discrimination etc.

 

I did not correct any mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.


 

Start of the long list
of staff complaints / reviews

 

Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
“Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.”


horrible managementmanagement is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.


Go back to the UK, PretI have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience


Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” Review from 27. June 2018


July 2019

Barista – “Not good – I always stay longer without pay. Change managers, treat your workers with respect! Pay more!

Team Member – “Stressful and unsocial – stressful, poor management, rude and unempathetic”

Team Member – “Very bad experience – Advice to Management: You don’t listen to us! Nothing more to say! Bad experience and company!!

Team Leader – “depressing workplace – quick money but depressing work place stop shouting

Team Member, London – “horrible company!
Pros: nothing at all, low pay for slave work
Cons: horrible manager and leaders. lies and discrimination. horrible company!
Advice to Management: get new managers”

 

Team Member, Gatwick, UK – “Awful, vile kitchen staff – Constant bullying and harassment by the Team Leaders and staff. Low pay Disregard for employee’s wage payments Unhelpful managers

Hot Chef, London – “Toxic, Stressful, chronically understaffed … baking over 200 pastries. Most of staff members are required to work over 45 hours a week. Staff members are being denied holidays booked with several months of notice.”

Team Member, London – “Aweful! Terrible work experience. Stressful and demanding for minimum pay. Not worth.

Barista, London – “Micromanaged slave work I expected slave work to be in the past but at Pret A Manger you are treated like dirt!!!”

Team Member, London – “I don’t recomment working for pret.”

Team Member, Manhattan NY – “Apply to this job if you want to work for a role and not get paid for that roleas a team member I was made to hot chef, be a team member trainer, and an A team member, and was only being paid minimum wage whereas those key roles get paid more money.

Barista, UK – “waste of time – very busy coffee shop, no work/life balance, staff calling sick every day so every day was short in staff, no pay for doing extra hours,unexperience and unprofesional managment

Team Member (TM) London – “abusive leaders and low pay for hard work”

Team Leader, Massachusetts, USA “don’t bother – Its a mess management is horrible and the higher ups are worst. all they care about is saving themselves from trouble and will throw anyone under the bus for their benefit

Team Member, New York – “Bad management, Always being “hounded”.”



May / June 2019

Team Member, New York – “supervisors dont care about you low pay for a lot of work

Kitchen Manager, New York – “Too much pressure Disorganize operations Asking for too much comparing to competitors

Barista, Stansted UK – “All the good management keep leaving

Team Leader, London – “too Stressful, too high standards”

Barista, Paris, France – “They accept anybody and pay the minimum possible in each role.”

Team Member Trainer (TMT) New York – “They don’t give you raises when its time. Inconsiderate and care more about gossip than why their stores are failing.

Pret A Manger bad place to work – “Biased management favouritism discrimination racist

Robotic, Repetitive, Stressful – “robotic work everyday same work. no time to learn and my leaders are horribel”

Barista, Philadelphia, PA – “A lot of drama and favoritism.”

Don’t work at Pret, slavery in 2019 – “They promise pay rise and promotion just to keep you slaving for hours and you have to remind manager to pay you the right amount of hours you work

Nightshift, St. Pancrass, LondonToxic environment – Unprofessional superiors that scream a lot and treat you like slaves; Managenent not present during the nightshifts; Training programme not delivered appropiately. Stop treating your staff like slaves and give them a proper training

Barista, Gatwick – “Stressful – Early hours To busy Stressful Hard to handle

11. June 2019 “Nightmare – If you want to feel like a slave, work here. All management who will not accept you if you aren’t one of them…All phonies with fake smiles. They look down on the workers with spite. This company is everything that is wrong with the world.”

11. June 2019First world slavery!! – There aren’t any positives the negatives are too many…You don’t need to leave the first world to experience slavery. Pret is a extremely harsh and rude place.”

09. June 2019 NY Barista: “Poor Management and FavoritismI had basically no work life balance for the almost two years I worked there just to have someone who was only there a few months get promoted to leader because she was friends with management.

08. June 2019 Barista, Oxford: “Worst place in my life
Cons: All! Everything is bad! Slave job! Bad managers who put always the blame on you… Learn to be more kind with the workers!

05. June 2019 Team Leader: “DON’T APPLYYou meet great coworkers that get you through the dayYou have disgusting managers that only worry about themselves and their pockets. Never threaten an employee. Be honest and upfront….”

05. June 2019 NY: “Nice people, tedious work – You are doing the job of three different positions because they are low on staff.
Pros: Money
Cons: Everything else

01. June 2019: “Just Ugh
Pros: Free food, that’s really it. Not much more
Cons: Everything else. You get worked like a slave for pennies – treat it like a VERY temporary job to put cash in your pocket”

01. June 2019 Spanish: “Exhausting work, Slave labour”

Rough Translation:
“Working in the kitchen is like slavery, they force you to make sandwiches in very little time under pressure, the supervisor/leader is always “screwing” up. When you finished your job you have to stay longer for free. It’s physically and emotionally draining/exhausting. You sweat for 8.65€ (£? as this reviewer is in Edingburgh and Pret’s wage is £8.65). Stop crushing people.
Pros: Free food and coffee
Cons: Slave Labour”


 

28. May 2019massive pressure on kitchen leaders, early hours, stressful environment”

28. May 2019Favoritism everywhere, all the hardworking people continuously got in trouble for the lack of job the favorites did.

27. May 2019Robots welcome, humans go work somewhere else!!

2019-05-27 Robots welcome depression

 

27. May 2019 General Manager (GM): “Pret is great place to work if you want to make some money – on management level. However pressure is so high you can’t rest when you’re off or even on holiday

27. May 2019 “Work politics, blame games, pressure to deliver highly set targets”

23. May 2019 “Not good – Bad manager and team leader is lazy in the office long hours little wage Not a good company to work for

23. May 2019I did not like working in Pret. My team leader is aggressive, I could not finish my bench in time.
Pros: going home at end of shift
Cons: horrible place

23. May 2019 Hot Chef: “Thank you, NEXT! Training for me and others mostly happens at home when we are not getting paid. There is no appreciation for those who actually are acting as team members because one tiny mistake and you’re on the chopping block… being made to feel like I don’t matter, daily new rules and expectations

22. May 2019 “Most Managers are super bad – Get more involved within the shop instead of sitting in the office. Learn to make better rotas.”

22. May 2019Do not work here – Management are rude and unreliable. Listen to ALL EMPLOYEES!”

21. May 2019 “-terrible managment -early start at 5:00am -long hours –rotas never ready can’t plan week -GM is stressing us all time -low pay -fake smiling even when feeling down -mistery shopper unfair -too much stress -no team work -manager stress and not available”

20. May 2019A lot of the raises that were given have been taken away. Not enough front of house workers

13. May 2019the mystery shopper pressure is too much – every little detail is a problem your hard work is lost by the smallest mistake.

13. May 2019very neurotic environmenteveryone is so afraid of little mistakes – management manipulate in fear and are always stressing us. very stressful not worth the pay.
Advise to management: get some psychological help – your leaders are neurotic – what do you do to them?

12. May 2019Don’t work at Pret, not recommended! – Huge stress and constant lack of staff. Very bad management. Terrible workplace. No point in giving advise, they don’t care.”

12. May 2019Pret A Manger is like the military and a cult!! If you work at Pret you go between brainwash and abuse. You get told nice things and given a few perks but for the peanuts you have to work like an animal

09. May 2019 NY: “robotic work that eats away at your soul one day at a time. The turnover rate was ridiculously high, and for good reason.”

07. May 2019 “Scrap the bonus and pay us the £1. We work reallly hard.”

04. May 2019Stress, discrimination, mental health problemsDo not work there, HR cannot be trusted. Worst place ever. Pret has gotten much worse over the years, cut benefits, even less staff as before. Terrible place.

02. May 2019 Barista: “Pret soldiersYou’re not a human in their eyes, more like a slave. The management rubbish, they doesn’t care for you. no opportunity, no life.
Pros: Non
Cons: everything

01. May 2019 “Most staff english is not there first language, so this is often confussing – To speak english and not shout



April 2019 …

If you want to know what depression is work at Pret a Manger.”

30. Apr. 2019  “False promises and chaos

30. Apr. 2019Dishonest and incapible managers, long hours, stress, noise, low pay, no room to grow and learn”

27. Apr. 2019Constantly understaffed – No one listens to staff members,your advertising ,that you care for people,but it’s often complete opposite-discrimination,abuse no equal rights,constant favorism,most of times managers are in their positions ,because of licking their way up ,not because of hard work or honesty.”

25. Apr. 2019Dishonest company

24. Apr. 2019Bad environment

22. Apr. 2019I don’t recommend Pret – What is your training for managers?? Why are many so careless and some so rude and bullying?? What is your problem???”

16. Apr. 2019Toxic work environment – very poor management, long hours, fake smiles, too high expectations … stop be racist

13. Apr. 2019bad place to work don’t go there – we give you lot of advise already you don’t listen. it’s only about profit and cutting corners to do all the jobs. not worth”

01. Apr. 2019Treated like a slave Rude to new staff Over working So much pressure”

07. Mar. 2019Modern slavery
Pros: it does not have anything good
Cons: modern slavery and bad manager

ToughBe careful not to fall in the trap of the happy family: it’s a brainwashing strategy to make you forget you’re just the piece of an engine to them.

man-320273__340

 

Getting harder to stay here – In the last 6 months everything has gone downhill, many new standards which make it difficult to focus on customer service and turns us into robots.

factory work with lot of pain – Advice to Management: why are you so mean and don’t care for team?”

Poor Management – If management sucks you’ll be overworked,treated unfairly,lose of standards due to negligence”

Don’t work for Pret – Discrimiation from managers – bad HR experience

not good culture, not clean

Wouldn’t recommend this job to anyone. – Too much work for too little pay – Rude and inconsiderate managers”

Always lacking team members, poorly managed”

Harrassment, emotional abuse, exploitation of young people – Bad management, non ethical HR, slavistic management of your time at work

Terrible workplace, very uncomfortable atmosphere, lazy managers”

Toxic environmentyou are just a number, everyone is pushing you like a slave

painful jobpret a manger is painful job. feel like a slave. no time for breath. depress. bad paid. anxiety bad boss.

 

cyborg-2765349__340

 

Not good for young peoplePhysically, emotionally and spiritually draining.

Never againPrêt a Manger is an appealing company from the outside, but once you get in you realise how rotten the sistem is.

Painful jobpret a manger is painful job. feel like a slave. no time for breath. depress. bad paid. anxiety bad boss. work so fast. loud and shouts. tired. lot of pain

Temporary job to get on your feet – Working for 8 months was easy at first then became very stressful and I couldn’t wait to leave that job. Managers lack management and pushes it off for employees to handle. They sit in the office all day. Play favoritism

Don’t even bother – The baristas for some reason act like management and hurl abuse at you. Horrible People

Worst company, dishonest, discrimination, lying to young people”

Would give 0 stars if I couldMost of the managers are also passive aggressive and just generally neurotic and stressed and have a go at you for every small detail.

NY: “This isn’t the workplace to get to comfortable – Pros: Free lunch traveled frequently benefits and pay – Cons: Most of it’s corporate staff and managers

Treated like a slave – Rude to new staff”

Team Leader: “A lot of favouritism, if you don’t lick butts it’s complicated to develop your career there, unless you don’t mind to work there for ages to become Assistant Manager.”

Exploitation!!! – there is never enough team members we have to work double and pick up the mess manager leaves behind.

Not enough staff on purpose – Pret always has low staff. every shop I go has not enough people. Manager is happy when they got big bonus but they got it by team members woking extra hard”

Tried for a week not goodOn my first day a guy got fired he was very upset in the staff room.

Didn’t stay long – I spend a few days but it’s not for me. Manager didnt like me. Very hard job. Dont believe the hype.”

Horrendous Place to Be – Hiring process is robust and Engaging. Sadly its terrible beyond this. Demotivating Team Leads.Grossly biased unless you are from their country/background. Floor was supposed to be cleaned with a Blue Role,By Hand.

Sugar-coated SlaveryThe worst company I’ve ever worked for. Dishonest. Exploitative. Discriminatory. The HR depertament is a joke and the general managers or operation managers are either highly psychopathic or incompetent.

Don’t care about where you are travelling from or change hours – Be more considerate we are not robots”

Very poorly run U.S. Company.”

USA “Treated like trashEmployees were treated like trash -Advice to Management: Treat employees better”

Nightmare!!too loud, too fast, too stressful, manager is shouting, not many team members, worked more then 50 hours all the time… The emotional labour of having to always smile and be super friendly is exhausting and also ridiculous. We are retail workers not customer’s friends.

Brexit saved me!!! Leaving London – …get training how to treat people nice and fair. terrible bossy attitude.”

Managers expect you to work like a robot and never get tired or worn out. Customers would get away with shouting at us and being abusive for no reason and the managers would just apologise and offer them some free food to avoid getting a complaint.”

Floor Leaderextreme pressure for minimal pay -company constantly changing rules and adding standards”

Team LeaderRasism, discrimination ,team leader favorism ,screaming at you on daily basis high expectations people working for 2-3 people”

Modern Slavery – Pros: it does not have anything good -Cons: modern slavery and bad manager”

“Finally found another job and resigned! Do some anger management classes and stop treating your team like slaves!

Team Leader: “Never again – very poor screening system when choosing management, lots of hr issue unsolved … reconsider the Happy Team, Happy Customer scenario and solve the hr issues from headoffice

Not for britishI felt like an outsider in my own country. Train your managers! They look unhappy and stressed. I kept a low key to not become a target and just left.”

Paris: Charge de travail horrible.Entreprise a fuir absolument, des rushs épouvantables parfois 7 jours de travails consécutifs sans repos.

Never left a job so fastI worked only a few week in Pret but fell used and stressed out. Expectations is high but no help from manager. Don’t recommend work there. Not helpful manager, stessful, not enough help, small team but lot of work

If I could give zero stars I wouldPret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there. Pret looks good from the front but once you work thete it’s a lot of stress and dushonest managers

Barista: “You can do betterI was stressed out nearly everyday. The manager was very unprofessional and disrespectful. All she cares about was the money and working hard. But the pay didn’t match up with the amount of work. You’re required to do so much and know so much yet no one is taught the correct way. It just began to get too crazy for me. Drama, poor management skills and attitudes everyday.
Toxic work environment

to much stress for little paybad managers in most shop I worked, dirty work kitchen don’t wash hands, no real training, blamed for everything, no support, bad paid

NoThe place was always dirty. People wouldn’t take the job seriously. Everyday people would call out. I wouldn’t recommend working at this company. Avoid.

Italian: Exploitation, racism:Sfruttamentoazienda poco seria e stipendi molto bassi, poca vita sociale e turni troppo lunghi, bullismo e razzismo erano all’ordine del giorno

Barista: “Horrible managementmanagement is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.(Note from me, this one is close to my heart as I was bullied during bereavement under HR and CEO’s knowledge and cover-up).

Intense and stressful environmentThe coworkers are very demanding and rude. The managers don’t fix issues with coworkers properly which causes a hostile work environment.

Barista AND Hot Chef: “HorriblePret A Manger is honestly a very unprofessional work environment. I’ve met great people at the job but the job itself is very stressful and not worth the pay. Cons: Horrible management, pay, hours

I hate work in Pret A MangerTreat all fair and don’t push so much. Boring job, learn nothing but have to work so fast. I hate working there!!!!”

Wouldn’t recommendThere are lot of slogans and promises of awards but when you do well there is no award. Manager is stressed and hectic no time to learn and make mistakes. ”

Discrimination and favouritism If you can play games Pret is perfect. Hard work doesn’t count but only when you push teams hard for bonus and not train them. ”

Unfriendly environment people were too mean”

Management don’t always train new members or keep up with experienced members”

Don’t work for Pret when you sickI have disability from doctor but manager don’t believe me. they push hard no matter when you sick or not.

General Manager review, London:
Not the best place to workNot much support to the management from the Operations Team. Had to work there at least 12 hours, as there was no other manager in the store, due to some HR issue, and hadn’t received the bonus, due to lack of staff which influenced my Family tree…
was left with quite a lot of food waste, instead of having an ability to increase sales.
As well, there was no charity collection, as they always use in their marketing

As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

It’s all gone downhill…”

“Other locations were filthy. Seriously… I worked at a relatively new location with staff that enjoyed themselves… but I was sent to a couple other locations at times if they needed help and ooooh was it a different story. There were some seriously gross violations, health and cleanliness wise, as well as duty and customer service wise.
Listen to employees if we say there is something wrong going on… there definitely is.”

Head Office: “Great brand poor management – Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever and constant office politics.”

Bad experience – don’t be racist

Neutral – There is too much tedious work.”

Employees made the place hell to work

They don’t pay leaders enough money. They transfer you from store to store if the gm don’t like you

Manager: “Standards have dropped in recent years, growing animosity between team members and even their managers, training new employees is very sporadic and not everyone is trained properly, management standards have also lowered, if you’re a manager, good luck trying to have a life. You guys really need to start training people by following a system, not however and whenever you feel like it. ”

Ehh not worth it at all – Unprofessional staff, youre not even trained properly they just throw you in there and if youre lucky someone who isnt BRAND NEW (btw literally had someone that got hired 4 days before me showing me the ropes) will notice you dont know what youre doing and assist you…not enough breaks…I do not recommend!”

If you are a team member you are a cleanerCons: management, shifts, salary, conditions, timetable”

“Very busy, mentally and physically exhausting – Care more about your employees.”

Greedy Company – Long hours, very repetitive tasks, Bad management”

Too stressing for no reason – Rude management – Too many rules”


 

February 2019 on Facebook regarding the new house for the homeless (marketing):

#68 Pret A Money Hungry Regarding doing charity for the homeless: “The help they do is just for public to bring more customers in. Behind is chaos.

#69 Pret Abuse of Team MembersTeam members are abused by work in terms of quantity of work and responsibilities”

Pret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there.

need to hire different managers, ones that respect staff. the ones there now, shout at staff, don’t understands there circumstances or disabilities


Review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

Same comment, new name:

2018-07-24 RPQ now Branzinotito comment on James Hoffmann video

 

I am an ex GM. I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.” (Full review in the picture below.)

The “certain venture capitalist firm” this Ex-GM is talking about is Bridgepoint who set the immense target since the 2008 purchase of increasing shops by 15% per year and were set to make a seven times return on their investment in 2018. It is “deal hungry” JAB’s turn now to take the baton from Bridgepoint and squeeze even further the life out of staff. Good luck Pret employees!

2012-07-23 Ex GM


Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had … lots of stress … under payed … long hours/ short brakes … terrible management … really unflexible schedule.”


My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

 

 

Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks. 

Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.

Dismissed for starting a Union.


 

A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!

Quote: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 


 

A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.

One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

2017-02-28 NYC ODD A Manger

 

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

Quote: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company…”

This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.

 

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

From YouTube ca. February 2018

 

Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by justineyouloulou

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.


The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”

Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!


“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”


If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for PretBeing made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.”


“fire the HR staff”

and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).


 

First review 4 months before this review underneath. 

“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”

My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.

— 4 months later: —

“Further to my previous comment [scrolling up above this review] about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”

Response to above review:

“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.

Alot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”

 

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“Please get the bullies outForced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination


“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.


Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”


“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthlessget down from that high horse you’re on”


“Poor … Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”

Poorly trained management Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

“”rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody)”

“Pure Misery … kitchen staff is treated like slavesThe upper management is a bunch of heartless

“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”

“If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”

“Workers are slave Very bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort

extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it.

Would not recommend … Managers do not care about they team. Never get 2 days off in a row. Practice favoritism”

“Hell job for minimum salary.”

Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly

“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!

do not give power to irresponsible people

“Stressful and dominating … Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave”

“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.

“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.”Favoritism with managementNo integrityA lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo.

“The brainwash is real”The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)

“Bad jobs for sometimes good people” “Advice to Management: Good luck with Brexit!” … (Well, that’s why this is happening: Pret is giving £1000 to each employee now)

“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!

“Managementhas no clue how to manage people

“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.

“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.” 

“Horrible training, too many lies” “Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Advice to Management: Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.

 

Robot sad crop

 

“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” really unprofessional and have very low management skills.

“Advice to Management: Treat people like human beings“”

“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”

“Slavery hasn’t been abolished!”

“Most of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from”, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”

“Worst company to work for”managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)

Very hard work … No support and respect from Manager

“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)

I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”

 

“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”

My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.

 

pexels-photo-278303

 

Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt

Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings

Pret A JokeYou have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.

Pret A Nothingdidn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.

Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

Pret A Unhappy If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently)”

Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops.Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”

Pret A ScreamOne of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.

Pret A Managerthe staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck

Pret A No RespetarLos managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”

“When the job takes over your life”

“Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. … Advise to Management: Respect your team…”

“Brainwashed sandwich making”

“Fun but stressful, not worht it”

“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)

“Too Much Pressure”

“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)

“Team Leader”

“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”

“too much work. Poor leadership

“Minimum Salary for everyday smiling”

My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!

 

emoji-happy-thumbs-upSIDE Down

 

“Good but not perfect”management should do their jobs

“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”

NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.

“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”

My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!

“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”

“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!

“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.

 

silhouette-2480321__340

 

“high rated company”

“Pret A Manger Reality”

“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!

“Will be leaving soon”

“Overworked environment”

“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.

“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”

“Favouratism”

“Barista” another

“Team Member”

“Cliquey environment…”

“Good jobs for idiots”

“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

“TMT”

“Not for British”

“Cool”

“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”

“Not the best place to work”

“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”

“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”

“Diverse place”

“place for foreigners young people”

“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”

“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!

Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”

“Very average”

“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”

“Horrible Experience”

“Some of the management are rude or never show up … They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work …”

“Disappointing”

“Barista” another one

“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

“Team Member” “Managers are pain”

“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”

“Less than 1 year…”

“No sick pay…”

“Disappointed” another

“Not a good company to work for…”

“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”

“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”

“Eh” “The management is terrible.”

“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”

“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”

“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”


The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

My response to this review: This person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it gotten worse.


unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff”

“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!

“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”

“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”

General Manager “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones. Advice to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”

“Takes advantage of your kindness”

“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)

“Advice to Management: Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves.”

“The management plays favorites more often than not”

“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”

“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”

“management talks to you with little respect.”

“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”

“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”

“just terrible”Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

“working at pret”Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)

“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…”Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”

“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them. Advice to Management:get over yourselves.”

I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….

Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave. Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”

DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

Retrain management

Horibble management

They expect perfection

Politics

They hire if you don’t know the language
(That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).

Horrible management … expecting perfection

Biased management

Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination.

Hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec.

Careless

most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second

Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience and diversity. Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites

Management is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations

Interior is very clumsy, depressing sometime.


Other review site “Indeed”

Avoid working there

Terrible

Unorganized management

Good benefits, poor management

You will lose everything that makes you human

Very little positive feedback

Rude lower management

Could be more human

Kitchen managers tend to pressure employees excessively

You get to know many different people but nobody really stands for the job.

Very stressful

Everything revolves around achieving the weekly bonus

Poor and terribel mangement

to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)

Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)

When they don’t need you, they make so many displinary needed for you left the job.

Bad Management

I assume this is a complaint with the 1 star 😉

Very disappointed … they never praised me

What the head office ask to us is more than 100% perfomance.

The culture overall was a very rude tone

unfortunate tradition on keeping a dynasty of friends in power while others that don’t make it into the friendly circle will perish.

manager was very rude to another member of staff in front of the rest of us which was very unprofessional

The management of the company seems to have no principle based.

Pret is now too productive and cost minimising company. Labour cost is the key, then customer satisfaction.

many Shop Manager they were very rude and unprofessional

Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.

Apply there, work for few months and run away a soon as you can.Managment and somemembers of staff were extremely rude and patronising, was often a lot of eye rolling and sighs (Bullying environment)

Crazy management , promoting people from their homeland only . overworking staffs

Harsh Environment. HR problems, employee is treated really badly

I felt like I was being patronised the entire time I was there.

Excessive control. Stress.

Little training was just pushed at the deep end as soon as I started the job

Micromanagement, too many rules

Not fun at all due to management approach

Robots

Fake people, cheat

for every shop the job was done by, let say 20 people. now it is done by 10

Managers treats you like poorly. they are racist and discriminating. if you want to get promotion you have to sleep with someone and kiss manager bum.

Management is trying to squeeze you like a lemon, there is no time to catch a breath, no weekends off, not even 2 days off together.

My own review with a former Senior Manager’s response to my review.

 

….. and so on.


 

In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.

@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

I take back what I wrote at the end of this “video” that Pret has a “good” heart after what I’ve been through and the customers’ deaths, but I leave the “video” as a reminder of Pret’s “legacy” with what I went through and the above list of staff complaints.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

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Pret A Manger Allergen Issues & Mislabelling Continues (UPDATED Mar. 2019)

Pret A Manger’s mislabelling and allergen issues continues.

 

Only two of the countless mislabelled soups in Pret. A major reason is Hot Chefs who are responsible for all hot food preparations are swamped with work, understaffed, overworked, often not trained properly and just thrown into the job for lack of staff. The Hot Chef position is the hardest job on the shop floor as they never stop going from the morning breakfast rush into the lunch rush, non-stop and often in cramped work spaces.

And while they are paid a few pennies more, but still under £10 an hour, they are brainwashed to believe they are paid more, while in reality they work double and triple the amount. I was thrust into the Hot Chef position when I started in Pret but stopped it after a few weeks as I didn’t get training, no pay-rise and started to have pain in my shoulders and arms. Horrendously hard work, non-rewarding and ridiculously underpaid, but staff are made to believe they are paid better… pennies better but have to work double and triple as hard.

If the below customers (which are only the tip of the iceberg) would have allergies with some of the products looking similar, I wonder how many injuries, even deaths have occurred the public doesn’t know about.

 

2019-02-07 Chicken in Veggie soup mislabelled

Link 7. Feb. 2019

 

2019-01-16 Wrong soup again

Link 16. Jan. 2019

 

The latest Hot Chef review from 1st March 2019 on Indeed:

2019-03-01 HotChef exhausting

Link

 

 

2018-01-21 Hot Chef

Link

 

Only 2 of many reviews collected on Pret Staff Complaints.

 

Below is a series of more customer complaints of half empty coffees, un-stirred hot chocolates, poor coffee quality, chicken instead of vegan soup, pork instead of veggie pot, stingy ingredients in wraps, wrongly labelled … These are just a small collection here of those people care to go on Twitter with photos. I stopped updating, but the issues continue.

To say upfront, the reason the coffees are often half empty, or the wrong milk was added, or no milk at all, is to a great deal because of the 1 minute demand to serve hot drinks from the time of payment.

The weekly Mystery Shopper even times it to the second which adds to the horrendous stress.

 

07 15 seconds

 

Pret: “We aim to serve out customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Were you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”

Mystery Shopper: “I was served very quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.” Yet, the MS gives 4 out of 5 points as if 1.5 seconds would have been more acceptable for a perfect score.

If the staff is successful in most things the whole team receives the bonus, if the MS marks them down on few things including getting the coffee in 2 minutes, the whole team loses bonus. But even if bonus is won or lost, and individual staff member can win an extra £100 or double up to £200 if they were extremely nice by giving free coffees and food, or be really chatty or outstanding where the Mystery Shopper is either served or witnesses this generosity and “happiness”. And customers are fooled to think Pret staff are so happy, while completely ignoring how intensely stressful, exhausting, loud and harsh the rush times are.

 

Not Outstanding

 

or if successful, then the team member received £100 extra or double £200 if everything was a perfect Mystery Shopper score.

 

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card

 

If bonus was lost or the points were low the team member or members were getting told off. It’s either win some extra money or get pressure and fear managed, but the whole work in between to serve the MS who’s only there 10-15 minutes or longer per week, is too much stress with the expectation to smile, be chatty and show a forced happiness for 6, 8 10+ hours everyday adds to the decline of mental health and dignity. I was expected to smile while traumatically bereaved.

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

Pret claims that staff have 1 minute to serve 1 customer. Apart from the 1 minute per customer service being already way too fast to do proper customer service, it is unrealistic. Most Prets have on average 7 – 10+ tills. Mostly there are only 3 on the tills and 1 – 2 baristas on the coffee machines, even during extreme morning rushes that I have worked like this. At busy periods the queue is to the door and even outside the door, but managers refuse to get more team members to man the tills as this would cut a slice out of their labour expenses and decreases their bonus.

So, reality is, Team Member are swamped and overworked in intense stress, but they conditioned and brainwashed to serve within a minute. The computer print-outs at the end of the day that showed exactly how many transactions at what times which team member did on which till shows the immense volume of customers that come through EACH staff member’s till.

I myself served on average 25 – 30 transactions within a 15 minute period. That is 2 transactions per minute. That is NOT 2 customers per minute as 1 transaction is a payment being registered through the till. So, 1 transaction is anything from 1 customer to a group of 3, 5, 8 people. If you were too slow, your boss was on your case. So, the 1 minute per customer is bogus as staff turn into robots and are constantly on electricity without stopping.

What is so ridiculous is that most customers neither open their eyes, nor care to know how stressful this is physically and mentally on employees.

Very rarely does a customer speak out:

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror who went undercover in Pret after having read my blog also points out the stress:

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags. I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.
All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.
One barista tells me the cramped service area is a ‘nightmare’.
He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad.
You’ve got to focus, stay calm.

Link

 

The cramped work areas are big problems in most Prets, be it front or back of house. Coffee makers have very little space to work, but are expected to make perfect coffees within 1 minute in an extreme stressful environment, often under harsh management, force to smile like an acrobat!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link

 

small barista coffee area

Link

Even a sink directly in front of the left coffee machine, no space to work properly.

This problem is also in the kitchen, stock rooms, changing rooms and other back of house areas:

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers = money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers lives as mistakes happen quickly as with labelling I collected in another post “Ongoing issues, hospitalization, mislabelling…“:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

One shop I worked in had only ONE multitask room: office, staff changing room with lockers, fridges, freezers, stock room, hot chef soup prep area, chemical room for cleaning materials etc and to top it all, illegally the rubbish room next to the food prep area! This shop was the worst shop I’ve worked in. This photo is from 2015 and after years like this, Pret was forced to expand the work space to separate the rubbish for health and safety reasons. This room was medium size and approx. 15 square meters max. A total nightmare.

 

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15

 

 

Here are just few of the results of the 1 minute pressure, fear management and the cramped working areas that customers care to go on Twitter:


2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

Link

 

2019-01-29 stingy latte coffee

Link

 

2019-02-05 Tea in Filter Coffee

Link

 

2019-02-01 half coffee

Link

 

2019-02-01 Coffee flat white worst ever

Link

 

2019-01-30 Half Empty Coffee

Link

 

2019-01-21 Low coffee stingy

Link

 

2018-12-19 half coffee

Link

 

 

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

 

2019-02-02 Bland Hot Chocolate Coffee stingy

 

 

2019-01-25 Wrong milk in latte gross

Link

 

 

Back of house issues:

 

 

Salmon stingy 2015-08-12

 

 

2019-01-28 Hong Kong stingy ham baguette

 

 

2019-01-25 Spicy Chicken Wrap stingy

 

 

2017-12-12 Stingy Wrap

 

 

2019-02-11 Stingy salad

 

 

2018-05-22 Wrap Air Stingy