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I want to link to several posts I wrote from a behind the scenes perspective having worked at Pret A Manger when two customers died. The first fatality was 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from unlabelled sesame in a baguette. The second customer was mother of 5 Celia Marsh who died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap.
It is still not clear whose responsibility Celia Marsh’s death was, if the non-dairy yogurt supplier or Pret.
I know from experience that it is super easy to hastily grab the wrong products in Pret as shops have always been under-staffed to maximize profit, and many are foreign workers who can take the wrong ingredient in a hurry. Staff are penalized if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the speed of assembling sandwiches.
I want to keep this short here and only link to the posts with certain issues I have experienced first hand. I continue to highlight that under-staffing shops is dangerous. And Pret continue to do so to maximize profit, even before the pandemic. Burnt-out staff are bound to make dangerous mistakes.
Some people say that I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived as staff, and that’s why I write on all sorts of issues. My response to this is, it takes immense wrong doing for someone to speak out extensively and “whistle-blow” on wrong doing. If I was “just” a disgruntled former employee, I would have never started a blog. This is not about being disgruntled, this is about my own survival from this company and why Pret remain dangerous to people’s health.
I need to stress that I was a Team Leader of the shop floor responsible for a host of things like running the shops (opening or closing), ordering stock, counting money at the end of the day, checking temperature of cooling equipment, looking after the staff, striving that we had high scores in Mystery Shopper visits etc. etc.
A Team Leader in Pret is really like a mini-manager! they do EVERYTHING except hiring and firing. They are the true managers who run the shops. Same with kitchen Team Leaders, they run the kitchens.
But one of the responsibilities and job description of Team Leaders is health and safety. I myself took that extremely serious as I had many years experience in the hospitality industry in three countries.
I was known by colleagues to get on their nerves when I saw spillage on the floor and I stressed to first grab the yellow caution sign before getting the mop. Or the emergency exits even having the slightest item blocking it. Or the emergency calling cord that’s hanging to the floor in toilets and was tangled up. I always untangled it and re-trained everyone to keep checking that the chord is always loosely hanging on the floor easy to pull should someone be lying on the floor etc. etc.
This was not my managers training me to keep an eye on, this from my experience outside of Pret where I was TRULY trained!
I stress the Team Leader health & safety responsibility because Pret is extremely strict with many issues, but also with a lot of unimportant issues. But Pret did not only NOT tell us, especially Team Leaders, that not one, but two customers died and several got injured, there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious with labelling and allergen. Absolutely nothing! I am still very angry about this because Pret left us basically in the Wild West that if something happened, it’s our fault because they basically didn’t break the law at the time.
A list of issues I expand on in great detail:
Be Honest, Kind, Generous – Seminar on Customer Service. I start with a seminar that Pret did at the Barbican in spring 2017, a year AFTER Natasha died. But the seminar was NOT about allergen or labelling, it was about how to lure customers further to keep coming back spending money.
Vegans and Vegetarians Eat MEat at Pret with many photos by customers. Pret shops still mislabel products even in 2022 due to under-staffed, stressed out workers having to rush. Picture in the heading is a pot of mayonnaise sold as Bircher muesli. A stressed, rushed staff took the MAYONNAISE bucket instead of the dairy yogurt bucket. EASILY done!
A staff could have grabbed the dairy yogurt instead of the non-dairy yogurt for the vegan wrap that Celia Marsh died from.
Pret’s labelling Committment? How staff easily mistake products due to under-staffing and rushing.
Pret do not label food in Dubai and Paris in 2021 and maybe other countries where there are insufficient labelling laws. Customers complain to Pret on social media with photos. Most likely there are no laws like the UK law “Natasha’s Law” since October 2021. Should a customer die in Dubai or Paris, Pret will again blame the local laws.
Pret Hygiene Rating 2/5. Many customers complain on filthy shops and London City Airport has scored 2 out of 5 in a December 2021 EHO visit on pest and hygiene issues. Again, under-staffed shops where staff are pushed to work fast to get products out but have no time to clean. Pret has never paid overtime while giving staff purposely very little time to do the job, then forcing them to work for free. Many staff walked out of Pret now.
Photos and videos of flies, maggots, rat droppings etc. in Pret food, as well as mice and ants running around including on food etc. Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot via YouTube:
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Please also see the MEDIA page for more.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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