Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

 

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat
“Organic Coffee NaturalGood… Glyphosate Food”

 

Even while I worked at Pret I always wondered how Pret’s claim to be certified Organic and Fair Trade regarding their coffee can even be valid. Not making any allegations, just raising questions! To get certified as being organic is super expensive for companies.

The mistake most people make, and why companies employ expensive marketing and psychology is, when looking at the signage that is being fazed out now after the class action suits on the natural claim, it says in a round logo: “Organic Coffee Natural Food”. Or now the new signs “Organic Coffee Good Food”. Clever marketing knows “eye-level, buy-level” and in most countries we read and write from left to right and from the top down. And many times I read it on Twitter especially that people recommend Pret to others as this “organic food” chain…

But even if Pret would claim to sell organic food, the ingredients that are delivered from factories every morning are PERFECT, the eggs are all the same size and often the same bleak yellow colour, the bananas are perfect etc. But Pret claims their coffee is organic, okay, we have to “swallow” that until someone can prove otherwise. I just raise the question as I know how much the coffee costs having had to do the ordering for the day-to-day running of shops. If customers knew how much it costs for Pret to produce a cup of latte, including the coffee, milk, cup, lid and labour… people would get sick at the profit margin. That’s why Pret can afford to give so many free coffees and then turn around, raise the price as someone has to pay for all the freebies. And it won’t be Pret!
On the Free Coffee marketing I write extensively on Free Coffees in Pret A Manger.

Back to the “Natural” issue. The round logo gives us the impression of “Organic Food” as our brains move automatically from left to right and top down. But Pret will say they never claimed to have organic food, but organic coffee. They “throw” the perception back at the customer again and I wonder if anyone is looking closer into the organic coffee claim.

Pret has been sued for their claim to be natural while the food contains glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, currently has more than 13,000 lawsuits on their neck. With three major lawsuits lost in the billions, due to denial that their main product Roundup causes cancer, which has not had a warning label on the product. Bayer upon purchasing Monsanto in 2018 set aside $250 Million for the expected lawsuits, but has bitten out a bigger chunk than they can chew in legal bills, and the shares have tumbled towards the basement since the verdicts. Bayer never expected that the jury would now draw the line, as the fake laboratory tests Monsanto conducted saying that Roundup is safe, coming to light. But that’s another story altogether.

So, if the public has been paying attention regarding Pret’s signage, I have seen it more lately even in London that Pret signs are changing due to the successful vs. “natural” claim lawsuits. More and more it says “Organic Coffee Good Food” now. How about changing it to “Organic Coffee Labelled Food”!!

 

2018-12-10 Pret froced to remove Natural from sign

Link

 

From the above familiar signage where the “natural” is now being replaced with “good”.

Even on Pret.com, the word “natural” seems to have completely disappeared.

 

good-food-new-sign.jpg

Link to Pret USA Twitter as the U.S. shops have to act fast

 

A customer on Twitter posted the below pictures confused on why the word “natural” was covered over at LAX airport that is getting ready for its first Pret on the West Coast, as JAB / Reimanns are on a mission to expand fast, trying to restore Pret’s reputation and divert from all the scandals, especially the TWO customer deaths. They divert with swamping first airports and busy train stations in new areas. In the U.S. Pret has to act on the “natural” signage while in the UK everything is lenient again.

Two customers died from hidden allergen in Pret products, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized and Pret did not act after numerous warnings before and even after the deaths occurred. Pret only started acting slowly after the deaths became public.

Same with the “natural” food claim.

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over2

 

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over3

Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet

 

Pret to remove Natural

Link to Daily Mail article

 

Watching the developments on how fast Pret has to change the signage and packaging in the UK and Europe…

 

UPDATE: New Classaction in NY vs Pret on the natural claim.

The court document lists all the chemicals Pret is sued for while claiming to have natural food: >>> Filed March 2019 – Document. Scrolling down to the list of chemicals in Pret food.

From page 10 onward are listed:

Maltodextrin
Citric Acid
Malic Acid
Lactic Acid
Ascorbic Acid
Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides
Mono- and diglycerides
GMOs
Glyphosate

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

When a Star became Sliced Pret

 

Sliced Pret

 

Okay okay, I know, I keep butchering Pret A Manger’s name, and it’s silly, I just like to return the favour after having been emotionally and mentally dismantled.

I don’t do much advertisement but I want to point out an article. It is disappointing that the Press only now starts to wake up. If any occupation should know about PR facades, than it should be the Press, but not even reporters catch on until catastrophic events happen and they start to take a closer look.

But regardless, I want to point to a brilliant Times UK article by Sathnam Sanghera and just quote a few things that are worth repeating. Some of my readers may not be on Twitter where I re-posted this article all over the place after I found it first on 03. Nov. 2018, so you can go straight to the link to read. Unfortunately you need to register with The Times to read, but it’s very simple and fast.

 




 

The only little “house keeping” I want to mention for your own inbox, that I already posted in the summer, read the small print carefully otherwise you find yourself with junk mail very quick. It really annoyed me and I ended up not registering at the time. I just registered on 3rd Nov. when I discovered Mr. Sanghera’s well worth article to register.

When you sign up, be careful how to click:

 

NaughtyTimes_crop

 

First box:

“We’ll send you information on products and services from The Times and The Sunday Times that you may be interested in. If you would prefer not to receive these then click here. ”

The little word “not” is here.

 

Second box:

“We would like to send you exclusive promotions, competitions, and content from selected partners. If you would like to receive these then please click here.”

The little word “not” is NOT here.

 

In short, if you do NOT want to receive any junk mail whatsoever, CLICK the first box and leave the second box UNclicked. Pretty naughty what The Times is doing here, as many people are in a hurry and assume after they clicked the first box, the second applies to the same 😉 But other than that registering is quite simple and fast.

 




 

 

Some things from this article I want to highlight:

 

“Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it”

 

 — Sathnam Sanghera

 

 

First of all, Pret was always difficult. I started in Pret in 2008 just when Bridgepoint purchased and set a high target to open all over the place, especially on seemingly every corner in London. But former colleagues, including one former manager who worked with the competition next door to the Pret I worked in, told me that it was always a “club” at the top where you only were part of if you played the game well, and the hard workers at the bottom did all the work. But since 2008 it became hellish as I collected many staff complaints from various Employment Review sites, Twitter, YouTube etc. as well as my own traumatic experience in Pret.

I also cleaned up the comprehensive list and explained the positions in the recent post I wrote “Pret Poets Society“, as writing helps me cope.

Briefly, three of the many reviews that I can underline all the way. The first comes from a New York City former Pret employee just “freshly” reviewed on 30. Oct. 2018 and hits this home again what I have experienced and survived:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

One former Manager’s review from 2012, 4 years after the Bridgepoint purchase:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Link

 

And this person that keeps appearing on YouTube regarding Pret like I keep posting on Twitter:

Horrible Company Pret

Scrolling down on the YouTube comments

 

 

Some Quotes from the article:

I’d like to say I’ve not been influenced by what other people have been saying, but I have: the fallout from the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after a severe allergic reaction to one of the company’s baguettes, and the company’s woeful response, has brought home just how much Pret has changed under private equity owners, the most recent of which is JAB Holdings, which also owns Krispy Kreme. More specifically, all the things I once admired Pret for are no longer true.

 

My response to this is, that the truth only now comes out but it has been like this for years. And devastatingly it takes deaths for the public to drop their jaw in disbelief. I was writing since May 2018 about Pret and how poorly their top leadership is dealing with serious issues. I have at times written all over the place, addressed all kinds of people especially when I was extremely distressed and virtually crying out for the public to open their eyes as people are getting hurt, especially staff.

But the majority of the time I was met with silence, sometimes with anger because people just don’t want to know that their beloved Pret is not what they thought it is. The only people who believed me immediately and were/are supportive are of course the Unions and activists in general, people who deal with dishonest companies and organizations on a daily basis and are not surprised anymore.

One person’s support helped me greatly, just in the fact that she believed me and gave me a dose of reality that most people don’t give a toss. Thank you to Rebecca again:

 

Rebecca

 

 

But it is sad that even the Press is not interested to look deeper until the ultimate catastrophic event happens: death prematurely and unnecessarily. And if the press gets interested, they are intimidated, fearing by legal ramifications. I don’t blame them. But at the end of the day no one who read my publications will be able to say they didn’t know how it is in Pret. I’m satisfied that even 1 person reads and believes me.

 

 

Quote:

“Depressingly, this weekend The Sunday Times reported that Pret had been hit with a bill of almost $1 million (£780,000) to settle claims that it underpaid staff in its New York sandwich bars.”

 

Again, I posted this all over the place already back in August (in red at the start of this post) where I was even followed on Twitter by several news reporters including one from the Guardian. I have since kicked everyone off my following, that I did at times in a drunken stupor and distress. For the reader to understand I became like this since the traumatic death of my brother added with what I went through in Pret. But I am slowly recovering and working hard, including with Therapy not to act on impulse. But I keep writing about how staff in the UK are not paid accordingly, which I also have experienced countless times having to chase my correct pay.

 

 

Quote:

“…in recent years the company has been attacked as a prominent proponent of “affective labour”, aimed at giving customers a positive feeling, with the British journalist Paul Myerscough reporting in The London Review of Books that staff are required to master…”

 

This article can be found here and speaks about Andrej who was fired from Pret after he started a Union. I gave Andrej his own spot on my website: Andrej Stopa Ex-Pret.

And I will add again and again that this affective emotional labour hurts people to the point of suicide. And for those who know my story and keep reading this repeat, I’m sorry, but new readers find my website every day and I have to repeat over and over that I was bullied during bereavement with all the manipulative traumas that happened to me under Pret’s toxic HR department. My website/blog is filled with the majority of the story and will eventually turn into a chronological book.

But because I became suicidal, I had to just write as much as possible in case I wouldn’t survive. And if this is all that I had left to do, and no matter what Pret does to me again, my story is out and I hope people open their eyes. Last year an assistant manager died by suicide and I keep confronting Pret about it. Of course they wouldn’t respond. But again, the truth will one day always come out!

 

 

Quote:

“The recent claim made by chief executive Clive Schlee that “Pret looks like a huge company but in fact it’s 500 little kitchens”, and marketing material that implies that Pret is still a local store selling healthy products to customers it knows intimately, just doesn’t wash anymore. It’s obvious what the owners are trying to do. As one veteran private equity investor put it recently: “We buy a business, work out how many restaurants you can get away with in an area until it’s become saturated, then try to convince a new buyer that there is plenty more runway”.”

 

Yes, I started to be bothered with the amount of Prets popping up all over the place since 2008, and while working in Pret then I felt “invaded” even in my private time when mingling around London that in my personal time I couldn’t escape the view of a Pret.

 

 

Quote:

“There has been a barrage of negative stories in recent years: tabloid claims that Pret’s “freshly baked bread” is in fact imported part-baked and frozen from France; tales of a vegetarian customer finding sausages in their breakfast pot…”

 

It’s not just “tales” it’s fact, and in my 10 years the amount of complaints I had to deal with in shops and had to refund and fix mistake is a book on its own. Several serious issues from just recently: Meat soup for vegetarian, dairy instead of soya in coffee, plastic socket cover in a wrap, metal piece in a wrap, piece of ham in veggie sandwich, repeatedly wrong soups / wrong labels…

 

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

 

 

Quote:

“It’s ironic that when the founders sold a third of the business to McDonald’s for £50 million in 2001 it was deemed a disaster but nowadays McDonald’s feels like it is trying harder to change than Pret.”

 

I am a permanent and life-long “boycotter” or avoider of McDonald’s and the like, but this is a great statement! It always bothered me when I first learned that Pret did this marriage of convenience to McD to get their foot into the U.S. I learned this in my first year in Pret and couldn’t believe how a food company that prides itself in freshness and paying staff better, then teaming up with McDonald’s. That already is a dead give away what’s behind the motive anyway.

 

Yes, a star may have been fallen while Pret painstakingly keeps up the smile and now push hard with patronizing former homeless people as “Rising Stars” … and what is behind this I wrote in this article… But PR[et} keeps shouting loud and diverting away from its troubles and readjusts its make up for the public.

 

Word PR.Isolated on white background.3d rendered illustration.

 

 

I hope more quality journalists like Sathnam Sanghera will take a closer look and interest into the facade of Pret and also staff treatment. Pret deserves a host of undercover reporters on different locations/countries invading them and reporting from the inside, like James Bloodworth did with Amazon. But I guess, even deaths in Pret are falling on the wayside again now and the public woohoos about free coffees and cookies. Just business as usual …

My thoughts are often with the Ednan-Laperouse and Marsh families. I cannot stop thinking about their trauma. The first couple of years are the worst, and now especially during Christmas, the first Christmas that 5 daughters and a widow will be without their mum and wife…

 


 

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 now “retired” former 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:

 

©2017 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.

Quote of the Day #60 – Pret A Modern-day Slavery

 

UPDATE:

I posted this Quote of the Day which I have been doing on and off since around May 2018, but today’s “quote” I posted a few hours before I learned today’s news of a second death from a Pret A Manger product. Even though I am not surprised at Pret’s negligence and slow reaction until this became public, I am utterly shaken at these news. Devastated and shocked!

 


 

 

 

pressure-62283_960_720

 

 

They expect you to follow six key points of production and have passion in making items. When you follow this they then moan that you are to slow and need to hurry up as everyone in a Pret kitchen says choppy choppy which is the worst thing because it only makes you less motivated.

 

My comment: Yes, this is very true, and the reason for this is that leaders in the shop, but especially in the kitchen under harsh management are pushing people to their limits to then be promoted themselves. A typical “kissing upwards, and kicking downwards” bullying behaviour in large companies. In Pret this is rampant as can be seen in the Staff Complaints via the link on the bottom, but Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR and the public is lulled in to believe Pret is kind to their staff. Well …

 

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Former TM 2nd Oct. 2018

 

I also want to highlight the “Cons” in this review, quote:

“Cons

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

I can absolutely underline this statement of the mentally unhealthy environment in Pret.

 

Featured in the selected “Quotes of the Day“.

Comprehensive, but not exhaustive Pret Staff Complaints.

Why I collected these after having survived Pret.

 

 

 

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.

©2017 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Quote of the Day #55 – Pret A Exploitation

 

Zahnrad Machine

 

Can’t help but appreciating this reviewer having some much needed humour!

 

“Why you was in the fridge for more than 45 seconds?
If you work in Pret you have to know how to deal with a lot of pressure, they will repeat 10-15 times per hour(I’m not exaggerating) to be faster at all team members, the supervisors ask motivation for everything, either if you are just fixing your pants.”

NOTE: True, this reviewer is not exaggerating, micromanagement, control, pressure non-stop.

 

Quote of the Day:

“You should probably consider buying industrial machines to make sandwiches instead of focusing on exploitation East-European employees.”

 

Nothing more to add!

 

2018-08-26 Comedy

TM from London on 16. Aug. 2018

 

 

Substantial list of Staff Complaints from various Employment Review sites and YouTube.

Concise list of chosen “Quotes of the Day” taken from the Staff Complaints to highlight the common thread of the problem in all of Pret in different countries and cities.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Open Letter to James Hoffmann

Dear James Hoffmann,

first of all, thank you for responding to my comment on your video, unfortunately my comments and your response are hidden from the public, and I re-checked via different browsers and devises, my initial comments are not there, but it’s not important anymore. Please forgive me that I made a screenshot and am publishing it here. I do so because I suffered greatly, became ill and almost lost my life.

You seem a sensible person trying to look at business news objectively. And if I was looking from the outside in myself without my inside experience, I would even like your take on this. The problem though is, you as most people looking in from the outside seem very easily blinded by the brilliant PR that Pret is so good in.

I’d like to post your thoughts on the JAB purchase of Pret A Manger here and respond with my experience and real “insights”, having worked in Pret for close to 10 years helping with their success. I also tried to improve work conditions internally to no avail, while becoming out-of-sync after my brother died and being mistreated on top of it, making many mistakes and sliding into ill behaviour. But having spent 10 years of my life working for Pret is my biggest regret with my future unclear and my mental health in shambles.

There are many good things in Pret, but the bottom line is that the senior leadership and HR are far removed from the painful reality on the shop floor. And yet, they do know very very well how brutal it is, that’s why most staff (mainly British) are aiming for jobs in HQ, away from the “front lines” of the business. Yes, they do what they call “Buddy Days” where once a year a staff member from HQ works in a Pret shop and kitchen for a day, BUT when they do, the management and teams in the shops are well behaved like this is their dream job. When the “buddy” is gone, it’s back to business as usual. I’ve always disliked this hypocrisy. And also with the HQ staff coming in at 8 or 9am, often being late and starting their “shift” with breakfast. Whereas if I would have been the manager, I would have explained to them to start their shift at 5am sharp, or whichever time a particular shop starts the shift as this varies from shop to shop. But they would have needed to be ready in uniform on the dot! If they would have been late, I would have send them home or have a serious talk, just like shop leaders do with a new person, no mercy! Welcome to reality in a Pret shop! Now, enter the “fun”.

But unfortunately as a Team Leader the only thing I was able to do, was asking the HQ staff to do the dirty work of changing the bins, checking the toilets for cleanliness, smiling at customers non-stop, having the shop in an immaculate state at all times, stop using their mobile phones on the shop floor and putting it in the locker like the rest of the team was required to, get their fingernails dirty and cracked, and their feet hurt with their backs “broken”… I’m sure they hated my gut, but I loved and cared for my team who worked their hearts out oftentimes in pain and sometimes in tears. So, an HQ staff surely can pass a few hours a year doing just that.

Stress

I typed up a transcript on your thoughts: JAB Holdings Buys Pret A Manger and included it here word for word. Please bear with any mistakes as I am not a professional in typing transcripts, I type with 2 fingers only.

Transcript – I highlighted a few things which I am commenting on at the bottom of this open letter:

“What I wanna try today is something a little bit different, a short, sweet response to a piece of news in our industry.

Today I want to talk about JAB buying Pret A Manger, which is both interesting and incredibly, incredibly boring.

What makes it interesting? They (JAB) paid or is going to pay £1.5 Billion for Pret A Manger, which is a lot for a business that makes “only” a £100 Million in profit a year. They’re paying 15 times that, it’s a 15x multiple. Which implies there’s gonna be really, really fantastic growth coming.

Now, Pret kind of have about 500 locations, most of which are in the UK, most of which, most of that profit is actually in London. And while they’ve expanded in the U.S., that hasn’t gone quite as well as you’d think.

So, if they struggle to expand, well, why is there this huge potential?

Pret makes about £880,000,000 a year as a business, and if you work this out, this is kind of interesting: Each Pret location on average makes £1.75 million a year. Now, for the kind of business they have, where they sell questionable coffee and sad little triangles, called sandwiches, that seems like an enormous amount of money! Considering what they sell is not particularly expensive.

And this is the thing that’s interesting, this is the thing where we don’t give Pret enough credit and enough attention. Yeah, I don’t really like the product in terms of its coffee, for sure! But, they’re all about speed! Pret values their customers’ time. Perhaps in a way not many businesses do. They have a publicly stated goal of serving you within 60 seconds of you walking in the door. And I think they do a pretty good job of getting there.

And that is hugely important to an enormous number of people. That’s how they’re able to process as many people as they do. Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit, they’re still making 11-12% each year in terms of Net profit. So, their business model is pretty sound. But they value people’s time.

And if you have a coffee shop and you’re looking at this deal and you’re thinking, how is that happening? Why would you buy this business? It’s because the model is actually pretty interesting. In the world of specialty we haven’t really, really valued our customers’ time. We’ve been very product focused. And as a result, I think we haven’t valued people’s time adequately. We’ve made people wait, often wait just far too long for what they’re ultimately getting. And in doing so, I think we’ve excluded a large number of people, who either value their time very highly or just aren’t willing to invest that kind of time that we ask of them. And I think if we took a little bit of that from Pret, it would allow us to access a much larger community of people who’d be interested in what we’re doing.

And right now one of the biggest challenges specialty faces is growing its audience. Right now the audience isn’t really growing but the number of Cafes is. We’re all competing for the same customers instead of finding new customers. And I think embracing a little bit of what makes Pret so incredibly valuable, a multi-billion pound company, embracing, valuing our customers’ time, will be extremely worthwhile.

So, that is a little bit of business talk for today…”

END of transcript.

——————————————————————————

Here is the screenshot of my comment and your response which I can only see when I am logged into my YouTube channel:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1

Close-up:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

I also pointed you to another comment further below your video from a YouTuber called RPQ who left this comment in the beginning of July 2018:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

My response to your thoughts from the transcript:

“What makes it interesting? They (JAB) paid or is going to pay £1.5 Billion for Pret A Manger, which is a lot for a business that makes “only” a £100 Million in profit a year. They’re paying 15 times that, it’s a 15x multiple. Which implies there’s gonna be really, really fantastic growth coming.”

Yes, it means that the shop and kitchen staff will be squeezed even worse now than they already are. They made and will make this growth happen at a high personal price with their mental and physical health. I have a roaring tinnitus myself still and can only reduce it by seeking quiet places. And the price I paid with my mental health you have already read on my blog here. I have no illusion anymore and know that my way to recovery will be a very long one. And just in case I won’t make it, you and many more people now will not be able to say that you didn’t know what and who made this “fantastic growth” happen!

Quote: “And this is the thing that’s interesting, this is the thing where we don’t give Pret enough credit and enough attention. Yeah, I don’t really like the product in terms of its coffee, for sure! But, they’re all about speed! Pret values their customers’ time. Perhaps in a way not many businesses do. They have a publicly stated goal of serving you within 60 seconds of you walking in the door. And I think they do a pretty good job of getting there.”

I want to give credit to my countless ex-colleagues with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder, day-in day-out, in an intensely stressful, bullying, discriminating and ungrateful work environment, all my colleagues and myself who made this success and the wealth of the few at the top happen.

Pret does not value customers’ time, Pret, as most businesses, value customers’ pockets! And it is disheartening that you and most people seem blinded by the age-old reality in business, that time is money, and the quicker you get customers in and out the store, the more money flow is happening … faster! But who makes that happen? Who pays the price? If a company has NO regard for the health and value of their staff who are human beings but driven like machines, valuable humans as much as their customers are, than I question the motif of their business.

Sure Pret pays a little more, gives more holiday, puts on elaborate parties etc. and now even giving £1000 incentive to retain and gain staff, but if Pret wouldn’t give more incentives and benefits they would hardly have anyone working for them, as the job is WAY too stressful and harsh. Even if you are bereaved, you are not safe and are tricked and trapped as you have learned my story. I used to be an enthusiastic person, working highly motivated, and I am not an old person, but I feel like I am in my 70s, ready to call it a day. My old self is gone after my brother died with the added turmoil in Pret.

Quote: “And that is hugely important to an enormous number of people. That’s how they’re able to process as many people as they do. Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit, they’re still making 11-12% each year in terms of Net profit. So, their business model is pretty sound. But they value people’s time.”

Again, they value people’s money, and time IS money, as you word it perfectly: “they’re able to PROCESS as many people as they do…” Why do I have to think of cattle being lead to mass slaughter when I read the word “process”?!

Quote: “Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit”

No, they don’t have “a lot of people” at anyone time, 10 years of working understaffed to maximize profits has had me never ever wanting to work fast again, not to mention not being able to work currently. You may ask, why did you stay so long? Simple, I had a life outside of Pret where I had friends and projects I was passionate about. I was healthy, strong and able to mostly leave the stress at work. My life and personal projects were overriding the stress from work. And in a nutshell I and many people are like frogs that are sitting in a pot of warm water by being lulled in by good PR and where Pret’s CEO calls the company “family”. The PR is the warm water and very slowly the heat is turned up where we don’t realize that we are being cooked alive! I certainly am well over cooked, chewy and tasteless like rubber now. And just like a used and stained Pret paper cup that is of no use anymore, I landed on a pile of rubbish! When my brother died and I was mistreated on top of it, tricked and trapped by HR, they crossed a line, and I was turning ill.

Rubbish Paper Cups2

Quote: “In the world of specialty we haven’t really, really valued our customers’ time. We’ve been very product focused. And as a result, I think we haven’t valued people’s time adequately.

Okay, here is the challenge and my plea: please could you STOP only valuing customers’ pockets and being product focus, and start valuing the staff who make all the products and who are the ones serving customers? Employees who are left behind in this cut throat greedy multi-millionaire business!

Someone please stop this modern-day slavery and stop closing your eyes to what is REALLY behind successful businesses. As a rule of thumb: if it sound too good to be true… it isn’t! Someone, somewhere is always paying the price for this business model you so admire, and it is the majority who pay for the rewards of the few on the top. And if the few only reap the rewards that the many make happen, ask yourself if you really want this kind of business model. If you are on the side of greed, this indeed is very good for you. If you are on the side of most human beings, seeking a fair share in life by contributing with an honest hard working job, this indeed is too good to be true and the cost, the bill will come later. And we all know who’s paying for it.

Quote: “And in doing so, I think we’ve excluded a large number of people, who either value their time very highly or just aren’t willing to invest that kind of time that we ask of them.”

Well, you exclude an even larger number of people who are the staff making this happen, oftentimes at their physical and mental costs.

Quote: “And right now one of the biggest challenges specialty faces is growing its audience. Right now the audience isn’t really growing but the number of Cafes is.”

Yes, unfortunately every business wants a slice of the cake, and the crumbs are dished up by those who break their backs to make that cake.

The biggest challenge is to find a way to stop the greedy ways of the few and to really make their workforce part of the success and with it really leave behind a legacy that shows that businesses can indeed go the right way. As Gandhi so poignantly said: “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

I can only say that when Pret fired me in my ill conduct out of trauma, with their HR tricks while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma, Pret fired me right into activism. My dad has died now and I would have preferred to write a blog on how amazing the company I worked for has treated me in my bereavement and trauma.

Mr. Hoffmann, could you look deeper, please, on what really is behind a successful business model?

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

———-

Edit, 22.07.2018: I can imagine that either you have been contacted by Pret or you contacted Pret for an explanation. I can tell you how Pret responds. Pret responds by sweet talking their way out of this and victimizing me into the corner of mental illness (which happened to me while working in Pret during mistreatment in bereavement).

They will lull you in with numbers and their annual staff questionnaire and awards, which is a flawed system because shops cheat by Pret-ending (pardon my word-game, couldn’t help it) to be team members, partaking in the questionnaire answering questions positive. I have declined doing the questionnaire and yet my shop’s result was a 100% participation, even though I didn’t participate in this voluntary questionnaire.

They will have advised you to not respond in the hopes this goes away.

If you or the public want to be lulled in by good PR that is your prerogative. But you and the public won’t be able to say in the future that you didn’t know about the tactics and work conditions in Pret.

I still suffer and at times hold on to mere life not trying to give up, and many others struggle, no matter how sweet the words of Pret’s leadership and HR will be trying to talk their way out of this.

Bullying, and especially bullying bereaved employees is unacceptable and dangerous to people’s lives. I will never be silent again.

Thank you for reading.

————-

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Case Study – Pret

Published on Scribd.com Highlighting by me.

“Problem Analysis:
– …
Bridgepoint has set a challenging expansion goal of increasing the number of shops by 15 about 15% each year.
– But for doing so, they need to open more and more ‘twin stores’ where there will be no kitchen and hence, they will go against what Pet A Manger is known for.

In order to achieve its expansion target of 15%, Pret a Manger would necessarily have to twin. However, this could potentially damage the reputation of the brand, whose Unique Value Proposition is that it sells freshly-made sandwiches.”

This doesn’t really damage the reputation as much as mistreating staff to work even more under intense pressure with a bullying tactic to get more money into the business to achieve the 15% target.

Just the thought that I “helped” for 10 years to make these numbers happen, while being mistreated and seeing my colleagues been mistreated makes me sick to my stomach!!

 

PAMSU Tweet Bridgepoint

Pret Staff Union Tweet

 


 

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 now “retired” former 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.