NOTE upfront, in some of the Tweet screenshots I post below one can see that in some I have responded, but when you click to see the Tweet, my Tweet is gone. It is still there when I am logged IN, but while logged out no one can see it. It’s Twitters shadowbanning again on Pret’s behalf. My Main Twitter is @LateNightGirlMe which gets regularly shadowbanned. But traffic is flowing, so I’m not concerned.
As I wrote before that some reviews look fake and as insiders know that big companies use PR companies, as well as ask loyal employees to leave positive feedback mixed with a little bit of bearable negative. The latest series of feedback look a little fishy, dear Pret. Make an effort! I write this also because colleagues have lied in grievance investigation hearings in favour of my bullying superiors. The Development Manager who was tasked to sanction me has lied about not having had private contact with me. HR on several occasions have not been correct, having used questionable resources to get rid of me etc. etc.
One specific review was written days ago on the 1 minute demand for staff to serve customers and coffees.
Customers flock to Twitter with photos of half empty cappuccinos, wrong teas, luke-warm drinks. One of my several Tweet responses to this rip-off was on 11. Jan. 2019. I point out regarding the pressure teams have via the Mystery Shopper, to serve customers within 1 minute, to hand over the hot drinks within 1 minute etc. or the whole team loses bonus. This seemed to have been “answered” in a new review on 14. Jan. 2019
Mystery Shopper here counted to the second how fast the coffee came out and YET, only giving 4 out of 5 points which frustrates the managers and OPs managers as the points count towards managers bonuses. The Mystery Shopper is the largest chunk of managers bonuses, that’s why the pressure is the highest and teams are extra kissing customer butts for 1. the Mystery Shopper, and 2. fear of the angry manager when points and/or bonus are lost. A colleague once received a “file note” (first step towards a disciplinary) because we lost bonus where he didn’t smile. So, he lost bonus, got peer pressure as the whole team lost bonus and on top of that got a triple penalty by being given a file note for added pressure and fear management.
Mystery Shopper snippet:
As the picture is too small for the print I quote what the MS here commented:
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 quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”
Pret: We aim to serve out customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time?(Pret demands 1 minute and then turns it into a “reasonable” time) MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.” (yet, still gives 4 out of 5 points. Maybe 5 seconds would be better for a perfect coffee, dear MS?)
So, the quick service means quick customer and money flow.
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 only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.
So, after comments like this the team member is summoned into the office and receive a sermon from the manager. The most ridiculous telling off we combined as a team have ever received from our boss, was after we lost bonus because the MS commented that the shop felt “miserable”. It was a very straining shop, very busy, harsh boss who never smiled or even said good morning. All this reflected on the team. The manager summoned most of us during the quiet period into the kitchen and said: “Your smile is part of your uniform! You are expected to wear a smile like you wear your uniform…”
Some more bla bla and then he said to us with most of us having our eyes to the ground like little rebuked puppies, he said something like, “if anyone has anything to say to that (losing the bonus = not smiling) speak now, you can’t come later, as I won’t speak about this later…” etc. I said to him something like, “are you sure, because I would want to say something to you, but not openly here (as he was my boss, didn’t want to embarrass him)”.
He insisted and said, “No, speak now, later is no opportunity.” I then said, “But So-and-so, you never smile when you serve customers.” … He quickly said to let his boss tell him that, and I apologized having to hold back a chuckle! But since then he made an effort and at times even smiled!
One of my several Tweets regarding 1 minute expectation, 11. January:
New review on 14. Jan. 2019 (It’s all so much fun!)
This review tries to clear up something and explains that staff have 1 minute to serve ONE customer, but this is not true. Yes, 1 minute per customer on paper. But when you have between 3 to 5 Team Members working behind the counter in the morning coffee rush, including the barista and a coffee maker, with a customer queue to the door of about 20 – 30 customers lining up it is completely bonkers.
Most stores have a minimum of 7 – 10 tills, but in the coffee rush 3 manning the tills, 1 hot chef getting the croissants out and 1 – 2 on the coffee. The Mystery Shopper timing the staff, PLUS the manager pressuring the team to work faster… it’s one big load of bull-crap this review! If customer number 20 is the Mystery Shopper, they will wait over a minute from the time they join the queue. Boom! Bonus lost! If they are served within a minute and then receive their coffee within a minute, the coffee is often poor quality, half empty, not hot or too hot etc.
But customers expect their drinks fast and perfect. In what dreamland do people live in, they even SEE how crazy and chaotic it is. Once when we came out of an intensly busy coffee rush and it became quiet, I served a customer and just blew air like you do when you take a deep breath and just sigh for exhaustion. In no time the customer asked for the manager and complained, not even being bothered how I was, not realizing that we just came out of a mental coffee rush with only 3 of us while the manager sat in the office.
And if you are a regular customer in the morning, count the amount of tills and how many staff are behind the counter. The kitchen staff who are pressured for time to get products made are often called to help on the tills, and than they get in trouble for being late on their products! It’s a never-ending stressful “battlefield”. Managers like to cut staff to increase profit and their bonus and a big slap on the back by the CEO in their quarterly meetings. All on the backs of hardworking Teams.
One recent comment on YouTube of the many I collected in the Staff Complaints:
(Click Ctrl & + to enlarge)
Let’s have a look again to some real barista reviews, who are swamped working in cramped areas, which Amy Sharpe also pointed out in her article, quote:
»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.”«
Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show the tiny work counter in front of the coffee machines. But if one looks to the bottom right photo where the silver counter edge is and follow a line along the photo, one gets the picture how small the work stations are. I had to retrain teams shop after shop how to best organize the space to not be cluttered and then frustrated in the busy work period.
This photo is a better view. There is even a sink directly in front of the left coffee machine taking vital workspace away! And these cramped work stations are everywhere I have worked in and staff are always complaining about the lack of space to work, balancing every move they make while being forced to show a happiness and pressured via Mystery Shopper comments. All staff then do is switch to autopilot.
Even many kitchens are a nightmare in cramped working areas, not to mention the staff rooms. Customer space is maximized to maximize profit, staff area is minimized and a nightmare to work in.
This looks like a shelf next to a sink, with the storage of drinks next to it as many Prets don’t even have a stock room and items are stored under and on top of work benches, on shelves, even the tiny staff rooms are often used to store non-food items and boxes, taking away from the already small areas forcing staff to have their break in the loud shop, never really resting.
The following picture of a rubbish cart is from the worst shop I’ve worked, not only because the bullying was the heaviest there, but because there was NO space. There was only ONE toilet for customers AND staff alike. I had to go to the Costa next door at times as I didn’t have time to queue for the toilet! The back-room was an All-in-one room: Office, staff/changing room with lockers, Fridges and Freezers, Store room, the Hot Chef area where the soups were prepared, the Chemical room with all the cleaning materials etc., the Electrical Room and to top it all, the RUBBISH room.
Many times the rubbish was left over night after the collection already came. This photo is from September 2015 and Pret was then forced to expand the working area, decreasing the customer area as the rubbish was a health & safety issue. But this shop existed for at least 2-3 years with the rubbish included in the multi-task room.
Staff would even change their uniform in there next to the Hot Chef preparing food! It was a complete nightmare. And even when we complained about the lack of space and rubbish, Pret would not listen and only changed when prompted by health & safety people.
And rarely do customers point out the stress, chaos and upset they observe. Most just want their coffees and off they go:
And this is exactly what Amy Sharpe pointed out in her undercover report and I have experienced too many times: Understaffed to maximize profit, yet expected to do everything within the given time and not being paid overtime. So, teams stop caring and don’t clean anymore. In the U.S. 4000 Pret workers have successfully taken Pret to court for not paying overtime. UK staff need to do this as well.
Amy Sharpe’s findings that I can wholly underline from my experience, quote: “When the bustle dies down I clean the shop but a colleague urges me to skip certain tasks. “You’re supposed to sweep and mop every day but don’t do that or you’ll never leave on time,” he says.”
“I used to work for Pret as a main barista for about 2 years in London. It was a total nightmare apart from some nice customers and coworkers. Their system is utterly mess and they always force employees to work extra.” YouTube comment
“Act a little more like management and a little less like the employees.I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”
There is certainly an extra blog entry on the laziness of managers, in this case even the danger where the GM doesn’t change labels/signs after complaints:
“*managers dont care about standards (manager was too lazy to change the meatball and the falafel sign even though there were many complaints)
*manager told me how easy HIS “job” was (he’s mostly in his office so he gets paid to sit and do nothing because he has his leaders do majority of his work)”
Also, I pointed out sarcastically on Twitter that the percentage of recommendations are below the 50% mark having dropped:
And now today it’s risen, but still barely half the workforce (don’t) recommend to a friend. And the steady 70% didn’t even rise with the £1000 announcement.
So, they’re working quite hard to raise the percentage. And I’m sure after reading this blog entry the (fake) reviews continue. 😀
Here are some that don’t look real. I won’t point out on every review why they seem fake as Pret keeps learning from me. But with some I explain why, to really show why these look fake. Whoever may have been tasked to write these reviews, just cares for the % to rise and filling the top lines, bumping up the positive reviews so people stop scrolling down eventually to the terrible reviews:
10. Jan. 2019 “Waiter” (sounds like from the U.S.)
“I worked at Pret A Manger part-time
Pros: Very nice Team, Good salary.
Cons: Noise environment, can be very busy”
07. Jan. 2019 “Tim Member Star” (For having worked 8 YEARS in an airport which are the most stressful shops, calling the team “Tim” sounds like a fake reviewer pret-ending to be a foreigner! Or this is the proof that there is NO training, as Team Members across the board have to sign training records every 6 months, read information etc. The word “Team” is plastered all over the place in shops, not to mention their job role as a TEAM member star! While the rest of the review is mostly in accurate spelling. They can even spell complex words like: “specific”, “customers”, “interact”, and even “treat”, but 3x not Team??! Good try, try harder!)
“…the Tim is friendly… more than family Tim… For managers I don’t have specific advice, everyone has to treat the customers like that, that they want to be tried when we are like customers, more focus, attention, smail, chat and, with not interact and pushing, more regular training and short meting in a family-friendly way”
As Pret reads my blog (I won’t say how I know, but I know) another review from 30.01.2019 has been added, again with correct spelling, except the last words. I know how corrupt the top HR leadership is, where they did certain things they knew at the time would hurt me, in total discrimination. But I also know that people always will have to face what they did to others. This new fake looking review looks very strongly like a response to my above quote on “Tim” vs Team:
Yet, on the SAME day another review from a barista which is 100% reality in Pret!
“Busy and stressful environment whit no support from management Forget about contracted hours! You will be doing overtime most of the time, as there is a lack of staff nearly in every Pret” Link
Here several reviews days in succession and I won’t say what looks fake here, just read:
The following two reviews two days in a row look identical, also often pointing out parties as Pret is always looking for young people luring them in as they are paid less and are easier to mold without knowing their rights:
16. Dec. 2018 Team Member(the only con is “depends on the shop”) Pros: Weekly pay, good co-workers and food. Nice Pret Parties
Cons: Depends on the shop you’re assigned
15. Dec. 2018 Team member at Pret (“at this particular branch” – clever! Very fake looking review.) Pros: Weekly pay, flexible hours, great co-workers from all walks of life
Cons: The GM at this particular branch was impossible to work with
09. Dec. 2018 Team Member(“can feel like” very softly put for staff that can never plan their weeks because the rotas are rarely published in advance)
Cons: rotas need to be out more consistently and in advance can feel like you can’t plan ahead unless you have set hours
Advice to Management: Keep doing what you’re doing
05. Dec. 2018 Front of House Leader(Cons: A “little bit” of pressure… need to get up early “sometimes” – good one! This is a very clever review: it says that there is a “little bit” of pressure and they have to get up early “sometimes”. The reader reads this, applies for a job in Pret and works in a REGULAR Pret shop where EVERY Pret shop is ALWAYS busy, understaffed, start at 5am and earlier, unless they are on late shift. And the new team member then thinks they just happened to land in “a” busy shop not knowing that ALL shops are like this! And this supposedly is a team LEADER reviewing! You cheeky bugger reviewer, you! 😀 How much are these reviewers paid to fool people like this?! )
Pros: Great company to work for, paying well, you are getting the stuff food as well. Great staff parties.
Cons: A little bit of pressure if you are working in the busy shop, also you need to get up early sometimes.
28. Nov. 2018 Amazing Job(There is the “depends on which shop” again)
Pros: Flexible – very good employee training
Cons: Depends on which shop you get.
(This “very good employee training is a direct comment on my writings regarding no to poor training of staff.)
On Indeed. You, the reader tell me what looks dodgy in these reviews, mostly within days in succession. It isn’t hard to spot:
“hard working.team work.nice staff.good comunication.using the till.customers service.the hardes part of work is starting very early shift at 4.00am.i like work on weekend.”
Fun work place, great teamwork and ethos. Loved working here, great experience and lots of new skills learned. Would definitely recommend working for pret and I would happily work fro them again.
Fast and fun work place Great organizational culture, awesome training system. Everything is so standardized, structured and convenient. Great salary. Everyone is respectful and friendly. I loved working at Pret!
Fun and easy Pret a manger is a good company to work for but if you want improve your skills in other areas than retail you might have some problems with it.
Overall in my opinion it’s a great company for a first job
It teach you good customer service and organisation skills.
great people, great customer hard work ethic (Here the reviewer, supposedly a GM, is even having a laugh as the only Con “its addictive”. Also, for a manager to be writing all in small, no caps used. They’ll work on that one now.) amazing company, great people. loved every minute with Pret. made amazing friends and had great training and support, i have learnt alot from this company,a dn am sad to be wanting to leave.
TWO DAYS before: its ok it is an ok job to start with, i believe the best of the same kind you can see around, the best part is the free food, sometimes is a lot of work but bearable
Pret can counter that the negative reviews may be fake. No sir, the negative reviews are written with such passion and detail. I even met some of them on various platforms who wrote to me and I linked them to their own reviews when I recognized their experience from the reviews I collected.
And now the ones again that I can absolutely underline from my 10 years in Pret A Manger. The last 3 years extremely fogged up and traumatized. I was lied to by top leadership, gaslighted via HR with a Development Manager who was used to sanction me, instead of supporting each other in our common grief. I write extensively about this perversion of Pret in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department” under the leadership and knowledge of CEO Clive Schlee.
Pret’s “Rising Star” program is PR as regular staff are pushed and stressed, once they become bereaved they become an inconvenience. I write extensively about this on this blog. The best way to get to the most important blog entries to get a quick overview is via the “Mind Map” I created: “My Ordeal With Pret A Manger“. From there it links back to this website to the most important articles.
All these reviews I have experienced in all my 10 years, in over a dozen shops, in every shop:
Pret can try and counter those all day long, the truth will be told again and again. And Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror having gone undercover into Pret, I hope more journalists will go into Pret as several have also gone into Amazon. But the press needs to go into the kitchen, work for a month in the morning kitchen production! That’s when the Pret blow will be felt hard! It will be harder though now, as Pret will scrutinize their job application closer, but people behind the scenes suffer and hold under this because they have kids to feed and are lulled in with incentives. But mental health is suffering. I survived to tell my and others experience.
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.
UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one piece in this interview. Underneath the interview section are selected reviews from current and former Pret Staff.
This interview podcast can be listened to while scrolling through the below Staff Complaints on this page.
Links to the reviews open in a new window / tab.
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.
If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the redwriting, 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.
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.
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.
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 wasAndrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.
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.
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.
01. Nov. 2018 NY “horrible management … management 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.”
30. Oct. 2018 NY “Go back to the UK, Pret … I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience…
15. March 2019 “Sugar-coated Slavery – The 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.“
12. March 2019 “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.”
11. March 2019 “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.”
08. March 2019 “Floor Leader – extreme pressure for minimal pay -company constantly changing rules and adding standards”
08. March 2019 “Team Leader – Rasism, discrimination ,team leader favorism ,screaming at you on daily basis high expectations people working for 2-3 people”
07. March 2019 “Modern Slavery – Pros: it does not have anything good -Cons: modern slavery and bad manager”
“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 british – I 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 fast – I 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 would – Pret 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 better – I 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 pay – bad managers in most shop I worked, dirty work kitchen don’t wash hands, no real training, blamed for everything, no support, bad paid”
“No – 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.”
Italian: 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”
Barista: “Horrible management – management 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 environment – The 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: “Horrible – Pret 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 Manger – Treat all fair and don’t push so much. Boring job, learn nothing but have to work so fast. I hate working there!!!!”
“Wouldn’t recommend – There 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. ”
General Manager review, London:
“Not the best place to work – Not 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.”
“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.”
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!”
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:
Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks.
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.”
“One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.”
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.
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 rediculous – Most 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 Pret … Being 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.”
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).
“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.”
“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.”
“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!)
“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.”
“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!)
“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 shopsdue 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.
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 Joke “You 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 Nothing “didn’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.”
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!”
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.”
“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 !!!”
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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….
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.
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