Pret A Manger Service Secrets REVEALED

Pret A Manger’s strict Mystery Shopper scheme.

 

Introduction

This is a very detailed account on Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper scheme and why staff everywhere always smile so much and give freebies etc. I walk the reader through the steps in how staff are drilled to perform to perfection for low pay, and why they do it. If you don’t have time to read, please scroll down to the large red writing (about halfway down this post) on the 30+ questions Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on every week. A current staff member sent me a recent Mystery Shopper report, and I want to post the whole report here. I write so detailed and extensive to show the public how micromanaging, brainwashing, exhausting and patronizing Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme is.

I touched on this already in other blog posts, but also on a YouTube slide I made from excerpts of real Mystery Shopper reports. But I only used about 4 – 6 questions that Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers every week to test staff on. I concentrated mainly on the smiley service part and speed of service. In this post I want to put a current and FULL Mystery Shopper report, to highlight the micromanaging scheme that stresses staff every minute, as they anticipate Mystery Shoppers for cash incentives and to avoid getting fear managed.

A brief YouTube slide on real Mystery Shopper reports I combined from several years:

 

Pret makes no secret that they have Mystery Shoppers (MS), but they portray themselves to be such a happy place, when in reality staff are checked on over 30 (thirty!) micromanaging questions every week.

If you want to skip this long intro, please just scroll down to the 30+ questions from current Mystery Shopper reports.

But as a taster, here are the 32 questions without the answers. I posted the answers further below. Out of these 32 questions, 28 are “scoring” questions, meaning the results affect Managers and Team bonuses. Halfway through this post the answer from the Mystery Shopper are posted under the Qs. But here first of all just the questions, which span over 8 pages with the MS answers. When I worked at Pret it used to be 4 – 5 pages max.

NOTE: categories 1 – 6, Style, Selection etc. are the “6 steps of Service” that I explain further below that affect the whole Team bonus.
Category 7 is about an individual staff member’s service and their individual cash reward, even when the Team bonus is lost.
Category 8 is about the Government Value Added Tax (VAT), which currently is Pret’s “focus question” since about 2012-ish when the Government increased pressure on companies (I explain further in the post).
And in Category 9 are the 4 “non-scoring” questions that don’t affect bonus, and are just for market research.
The numbers in brackets i.e. (16 out of 20) is 16 points reached out of 20.

Quick rundown of the 32 questions:

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

6 – How well presented were team members?

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7 – 1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

8 – 2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

9 – 3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

10 – 4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11 – 1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

12 – 2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13 – 1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

14 – 2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

15 – 4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16 – 1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

17 – 2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

18 – 3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19 – 1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?


 

When breaking down the questions, these reports are very complex as you will see with the answers the MS gives further below. Any tiny issue can penalize the whole shop team. Staff HAVE TO smile, HAVE TO chat, HAVE TO make eye contact and are drilled to give freebies, as every shop has a weekly marketing budget. For space and to keep the post as short as possible (yeah right!), I just mention a few of the many, many ways shop teams can lose or gain bonus, and individual Team Members, including Managers, can earn an extra cash reward called an “outstanding card” (OC) of £100 or a “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £200 per week / Mystery Shopper visit. An outstanding card is not a literal card, it’s just the name of the cash reward. This reward can be earned ON TOP of the wages AND on top of the Team bonus. Sounds, generous? No, if you experienced the daily stress, headache, depression, tinnitus, anxiety, physical pain, rude customers, bullying … this is 1. peanuts, and 2. even if the reward was higher, it’s not worth what your mental and physical health goes through on a prolonged period of time, every day, having to bend backwards for a little more money and small recognition.

Also, the following week this reward is forgotten, especially if you fail on a Mystery Shopper visit. It is never be good enough.

A recent review from LAX, that was just opened in the summer of 2019, shows as well the bullying culture and how the reviewer doesn’t care if they get $15.25 per hour. Even a higher amount of wages isn’t worth the abuse they’re subjected to. Also, in a New Shop Opening (NSOs), they pay a little more and usually have a lot of staff, as the first year of the NSO, the store doesn’t have targets to reach, as they first want to build a customer base. After about a year the pressure really starts on the targets, profits, cutting labour etc.

LAX

Link

The “outstanding card” (OC) used to be a £50 reward for an individual staff member, or “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £100 if the shop scores were perfect. And even if the whole shop lost the bonus on an issue I explain below, an individual staff member can still get the extra £50 (now £100) cash reward. So, it used to be £50 OC or £100 SOC if perfect scores were reached. And now it is £100 OC or £200 SOC with perfect scores.

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card Prets Response

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The irony is, I gave suggestions to an OPs (area) Manager, who asked me for my input on how Mystery Shopper scores can be improved company wide, as our shop was always very successful. And one of the suggestions I made was to double the MS reward from £50 or £100 to £100 or £200! Thank me later Pret staff! 😀 – I still have the email with the suggestions to the OPs!

No, I’m not floating my own boat here, but as a Team Leader I was responsible for “team engagement”, and everywhere I worked, I helped improve the scores by organizing the teams and encouraging them, NOT blaming them. I worked to lift them up, not put them down. And that showed in the Mystery Shopper reports. But my Managers never encouraged me, in fact one OPs tried to use one Mystery Shopper report that had bad scores (when I was in bereavement) to target me. I then collected all Mystery Shopper reports where I / we succeeded, just for my protection. Sad, but reality! And that’s how I was able to put above “Misery” Shopper YouTube slide together.

NOTE: I have been asked by some Journalists on the Mystery Shopper requirements, one Journo asked me if a staff member ever got fired for making mistakes with the MS scores. But that will never happen in an open way. I know of a Team Member who received what they used to call a “file note”, now called “note of concern”, when he didn’t smile and that lost us the bonus. A “note of concern” is NOT a disciplinary / written warning, but it is a first step to get a person towards a disciplinary and out of the company. If the management is looking for something to pin on the employee, they will find it fast. And Mystery Shopper result is the perfect way in that direction.

Many insecure Managers who work a lot with fear management, hand out “note of concerns” like staff hand out napkins. It’s always a clear sign to see which Manager is scared themselves by the amount of “notes” they “motivate” staff with. In my 10 years I only received 1 “note of concern” on a stupid thing. But I was the recipient of a lot of verbal fear management and unfavourably shift times etc.

Quick Sack

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Also, on a more serious issue, Andrej Stopa was fired in 2012 for having started a Union under the pretense of allegedly having made homophobic remarks TEN months prior. If Pret or Managers want to find something to get rid of a person, they will, also like in my case and many others. Andrej confronted Pret back in 2012 on the reason, two videos on YouTube.

I have been targeted by an Area Manager when we lost points, NOT bonus, but points as I didn’t smile. The Area Manager KNEW that I just lost my brother 6 months before. I have this as evidence if anyone doubts this. I was invited for a meeting and was presented with a list of (silly!) things I was doing wrong, including the non-smiling when I served the Mystery Shopper.

And I was often spoken to in a manipulative way when I didn’t achieve the highest points or some stupid remark the MS made about my service. I know of Team Members where the Manager would say something like, “maybe this job is not for you”… or “maybe you would do better in the kitchen” … etc. And I know of people who have been placed in the kitchen as a penalty to get them off the shop floor into the kitchen like Cinderella separating peas! And especially when staff are younger or new to Pret, they are very quickly manipulated with subtle undertones of fear management.

What the Managers didn’t know was, that I as the Team Leader took the Team Member aside later and told them not to be afraid, and I put in a good word for them, and that I know how well they do their job etc. The relieve on their faces, and at times calming their tears, was more worth to me than any effing Mystery Shopper reward! I also told my colleagues when they are harsh with the person who lost us the bonus, the day will come when they also lose the bonus and will be treated with the same measure! 

My message always was: We ALL make mistakes, let’s look after each other and not let the big guns upstairs throw crumbs at us to fight over!

As I was the shop Team Leader, responsible to “engage” the Team (to kiss butt all day!), one Manager took me aside in the beginning of me working in his shop and he said to me, “I close my eye to everything but the Mystery Shopper”. In other words, I can mess up on everything including Health and Safety issues, cutting corners everywhere, but if I mess up on the Mystery Shopper, he won’t close his eyes. I made clear to him, that he shouldn’t close his eyes on ANYTHING. I just came from a previous shop where I was targeted for small things, so I was not going to get sabotaged on ANYTHING! And I was still angry and distraught about what happened in the other shop, so I clearly spoke my mind! But this was also due to me being traumatized and in great anxiety to make the smallest mistake that could be used against me.

Pret cannot and would not openly fire someone on the grounds of having messed up the Mystery Shopper. But the targeting and bullying with the help of Mystery Shopper reports is very vast, subtle and extensive. If the Manager doesn’t like you or is angry with you for messing up the Mystery Shopper, they will arrange for you to fail further in other areas to get you fired or in the “least” transfer you out to another shop. Anyone who has been through systematic (and systemic) workplace bullying, knows what I’m talking about.

On a side note, I really recommend watching the 3-part mini-series “Sticks and Stones” from ITV, regarding subtle and systematic workplace bullying that was screened in December 2019. In this case a Team Leader is bullied and sabotaged by his Team for his position. And as the company has announced redundancies, he is put through an ordeal that is throwing him off and leads to a breakdown, that makes him look like the bad guy, incapable to do his job, out of control. Oh, how I can relate to that!!! This was another part where Pret HR gaslighted me after I raised grievances. They turned it around and used a breakdown I had after my line manager bullied me in December 2015. I broke down, sobbed and became erratic in front of my team and boss, two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death. And Pret made me look like an angry person who causes trouble. In reality I had a breakdown similar to the breakdown the actor has in below “Sticks and Stones” Trailer.

Unfortunately the series is offline now, as ITV.com just screened it until the end of December 2019, but in case you see it on Netflix & Co. please watch! It is really well portrayed how subtle bullying happens, and how hard it is to proof without solid evidence! I watched this twice back to back and cried as I was triggered, even though Pret shops are not an office environment and I was bullied and targeted by my superiors, not by my Teams. But the principles are the same.

The Trailer on YouTube:

 

So, I can only suggest for Journalists to go undercover into Pret for AT LEAST 4 weeks, best in the mornings, where the pressure is the most intense and where the Mystery Shopper requirements are felt hard every single moment of the day! Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover only for a week in the evening shift where it’s quieter. Amy made a good start, but to really feel the Pret “blow”, people need to work in the mornings from 5AM in both the shop and the kitchen. The most poignant review by a staff member who jumped between the kitchen and the shop, is this:

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

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link I spend 6 months racing all day and barely spoke 3-5 words a day on my shifts if I’m not on till where you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth…”

 

Brainwash

Now, what I explain here may sound harsh, and of course it is commendable when a business looks nice, friendly, clean and fully stocked etc. But the price low-wage workers have to pay, so that company leaders reap their millions, is ridiculously high and damages a lot of people physically, mentally and even financially.

£30m

Daily Mail

Pret Mystery Shopper requirements are very militant and what Timothy Noah even called “Stasi” like, quote: “Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi”. From his excellent article Labor of Love: The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger. And I totally underline his article. More about the exploitation via strict Mystery Shopper emotional labour demands, I cover extensively in: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Side note: For any person wanting to criticize me on silly spelling because you have no other arguments to defend Pret, I write from England on WordPress that uses American spell-check. I also respect American and British spelling, so when I write “labor” it’s because an American author wrote it, vs. “labour” from a British or European writer. Also, English is NOT my first language, and I think I’m doing pretty good so far. So, before you criticize me on silliness like this, click away and watch a film or something.

Having said that, I welcome genuine corrections on typo, spelling mistakes.

Pret has a lot of brainwashing slogans in place that staff have to memorize and follow. The most appalling wordings I always found while working at Pret is on their packaging: “Lovingly handmade in this shop today”! When you work at Pret, this particular slogan can make you puke, and the many staff reviews at the very bottom page slideshow explain why!

 

The 6 Steps of Service

In the shop there is what Pret developed as the “6 Steps of Service”, which all start with an “S”. In the kitchen Pret has the “6 Steps of Production” which all start with a “P”. A lot of psychology went into developing those. But I will just concentrate on the shop 6 steps of service here, and can cover the kitchen another time. The kitchen concentrates on the speed of production (productivity), while the shop concentrates on appearance (happy facade), yet also speed.

These 6 steps are in a particular order for Mystery Shoppers to check every week. Mystery Shoppers basically work their way in, from the entrance to the food display/fridges to the counter to the seat and out again, via a D-tour to check the toilets. The 6 steps are:

1. Style (atmosphere of the shop, this is in their own discretion. What one MS likes, another MS dislikes the next week)

2. Selection (clear rules the MS has to follow)

3. Speed of service (also called “SOS”)

4. Service (if staff always smile, chat, are attentive, efficient etc. Giving freebies always helps and often gets the Team Member the extra £100 or £200 “outstanding card” reward)

5. Seating (if seats / tables etc. are cleaned within 1 minute of customers leaving, sometimes even crumbs are a big problem)

6. Say Thank you and See you again (a departing remark of some kind)

And then some non-scoring questions at the end, which even though are not scored, still fear manage especially the shop Managers.

The questions and some answers below are self-explanatory, but I want to highlight the stress and peer-pressure Pret puts on Teams and the Mystery Shopper reports being used as a tool to bully staff to always perform with a fake front, no matter what. Smile, chat, eye contact etc. to achieve maximum scores, to appear as such a happy and efficient company, while in reality it is VERY stressful and depressing!

One person on Twitter has put it in simple, but poignant words on how Pret penalize the whole Team if ONE person makes a mistake. I have experienced this countless times. And this is done on purpose where hard-working staff lose their bonus and effort after ONE person messed up. This one person is then shunned or dealt with the silent treatment. As a Team Leader I went the opposite and encouraged the one person, instead of putting them down, as this is counter productive and hurting them. I signaled that we all make mistakes and not to let others pressure them! But Pret wants peer pressure… to always appear happy… to draw people in… to increase profit:

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

Bonus is £1 per hour worked for hourly paid staff in shops. So, if I worked 40 hours that week and as a Team we receive the bonus, I get an extra £40 on top of my weekly wages. Sounds great, but is very, very stressful for the peanuts you get extra! If I am sick even just for one day, I automatically get my bonus cut and don’t receive it. Also, there’s no bonus when you are on holiday which is fair. But if I am late, even 5 minutes, the Manager in their own discretion can cut my bonus. As in Pret there is a lot of favouritism, which can also be seen in the many staff reviews I collected, some staff members make friends with the Manager, and then get away with a lot of sh!t. And those who work their butts off, who are very reliant, but are not the Manager’s favourite, come late ONE time for 5 minutes, and bam! – get their bonus cut! The bonus is used for a lot of abuse by Management.

Managers, Assistant Managers and upper area Managers (OPs) get their bonuses not every week, like hourly paid shop staff, but every quarter which are huge amounts of money! Managers’ bonuses are based on many things, like profit, how little waste the shops have, how little labour costs (that’s why Pret under-staffs), health and safety checks and other things. But the biggest chunk of Managers’ and upper Managers’ bonuses are the Mystery Shopper scores. That’s why Managers stress a lot about the Mystery Shopper and the point system that is VERY important to Managers to compete in their area of 10 – 14 shops, and company-wide.

So, it’s the typical greed of the few to squeeze the many. Pret cuts staff, so that the few Managers on top get a lot of bonus, instead of staffing appropriately, giving everyone a piece of the cake, value and respect workers, lowering their stress, and with an adequate amount of staff also giving customers a much better and calmer service.

 

Examples on how a shop can lose or gain bonus

On product selection for example, Pret demands a certain amount of selection during certain business hours. The Mystery Shopper is also tasked to count the “lines” of products. Any product is a line. The Tuna Cucumber Baguette is a line. The Egg-Mayo Sandwich is a line. The Tomato Soup is a line in the hot food section. Every different product is a line.

Usually between 12 noon and 2:00 or 2:30PM (depending on the area) Pret wants FULL selection of all products they offer in that particular shop. But Pret changes that at times. But from my experience it was between 12 noon and 2:30PM. Staff are NOT allowed to run out of a product (line) at that certain time. Staff are also not allowed to take the product label off the shelf if they run out of a product (line). If a Manager or Leader is caught taking out the label, they risk getting a disciplinary. This is to stress staff to ALWAYS have products available or MAKE them on demand to increase profit. At the same time, Managers and Leaders are stressed by OPs Managers when they have too much waste. It’s an absolute nightmare to balance without a lot of pain! And beyond the charity PR is daily food-waste in plastic packaging to landfill because of over-production to have the shelves full and the money rolling in!

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

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Waste

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2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Link etc.

For a longer list of customer photos and complaints on wasted food, please see: Pret A Manger Food Waste. I had to waste countless bin bags like this over the years due to overproduction and under-staffing to manage the waste properly. And Pret now use increasingly NON-transparent bin bags to hide the food-waste in the streets.

Before 12 noon and after 2:30PM Pret demands a certain amount of products. This may vary from shop to shop and area. But in a nutshell, let’s say Pret wants 15 different products (lines) after 2:30PM on the shelves, but my shop has only 14 different lines, and if the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time (they have to count the lines), and if 1 line is missing, the whole Team lose the bonus.

This means, if I worked in the morning in the kitchen, worked my butt off to get the products on the shelf, then at 2PM I go home and at 5PM the shop is missing 1 line because the afternoon Team is understaffed to make more products, the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time and counts the lines. I then, who have already left hours ago, and can contribute NOTHING more, I lose my bonus for that week! Or even if I was off that day, working 5 out of 7 days, and this was my off-day, I lose my bonus if ONE person messes up in any way on the day I was off! And I can do nothing about it. My efforts went down the drain. And THAT is what Pret wants, colleagues to get mad at that one person or shift that made a mistake, even if it wasn’t their fault due to under-staffing!

 

Pret even goes a step further

Each product line HAS TO have at least 2 items behind its label. So, if the MS counts 15 lines of products, but ONE line only has 1 item, instead of 2, it means it is 14 lines. If the fridge has 15 different products (lines) but out of these 15 lines I only have 1 Cucumber Baguette (in its line) instead of 2 baguettes, I am “out of selection” and we as a Team lose the bonus!

Managers often find ways to “cheat” by taking a label out until they fill the shelf with the product. But this can get them a disciplinary as Pret wants the machinery to run perfectly at all times. Another way to cheat, and this is when it gets dangerous, is when they take a DIFFERENT baguette from a different line that looks similar to the Cucumber Baguette, and place this baguette behind the Cucumber Baguette to make it look like they have TWO. This way they avoid losing Mystery Shopper bonus, as the MS doesn’t have time to check all products perfectly but often just scans and counts the lines quickly. 

This is also not allowed, but because Pret under-staffs and workers are stressed to the max, it forces Managers to cheat! One recent review by a Manager highlights this, and the danger it brings as customers take the WRONG item behind a label. Managers cheat in many ways to make the numbers look good, so as not to get bullied by their superiors, the OPs Managers. I was never promoted, because I refused to risk my job for Managers and OPs Managers bonuses! But this Manager’s (GM) review is very brave, as they even mention their city. But also in regards to the “fear culture” mentioned at the bottom of this review, this is not only in Edinburgh. I worked in over a dozen shops and it is systemic and everywhere:

GM cheat

Link Quote:Managers are forced to cheat on results and break standards just so that the area manager looks good on paper, though he stays at home most of the days whilst the shops collapse.

I often said to my Teams and bosses, who were frustrated at Pret, I always said that Pret is like a company that binds our feet together in a tight rope, and then demands from us to run! Any way you turn, you have to make constant decisions if to cheat and risk getting caught, losing your job  – or if to lose bonus and get fear managed by the OPs Managers. OPs Managers who often sit in the pub at lunch time (I’ve seen it), or are at home as the above review states. I didn’t see an OPs for 3 – 4 months at a time. Once an OPs “visited” a shop for a few minutes to let their bossy attitude scare Managers and Teams, you knew immediately when they were there, as everyone was always talking about it in fear or annoyance the next day. So, OPs Managers get a shit-load of money, while having a laugh in the pub or at home during busy lunch-time rushes. And the only “presence” they show is via Emails stressing the shops for higher numbers! Typical Pret “leadership”.

This also shows in a recent review by a Team Leader from Chicago of the bullying environment:

GM cry

Link

Las Vegas

Link

 

Coming to the full Mystery Shopper report

The below Mystery Shopper visited shortly after 11AM when the shops are quiet and Team Members have more time to “kiss butt” to receive the cash rewards, as Mystery Shoppers come mainly before and after the busy morning and lunchtime rushes. In this case the Team Member got the “outstanding card”, the £100 even though the shop lost bonus on selection. The “outstanding” service described below wouldn’t be possible during intense coffee or lunch time rushes. Most rewards are received at quiet times, not so much at peek times, as Mystery Shoppers visit more quieter periods to properly check everything they can’t check during manic busy times. But I want to also say that Team Members LOVE to give freebies and good customer service if they are not stressed and have the time, BUT even if they have a bad day, they have to function like smiley robots or get fear managed and peer pressured. 

My favourite thing to do was to give freebies, which is Pret’s number 1 marketing tool that I write extensively about in Free Coffees at Pret and why Pret doesn’t do a loyalty card system. But when I was ill, and especially going through traumatic bereavement and being bullied by my superiors under HR, it was HELL having to perform like an emotional prostitute for a few more peanuts. And I smiled, not for money, but to get my bosses off my back suffering in anxiety! 

What always bothered me was when some Team Members only lingered around the till area for a chance to serve a potential Mystery Shopper. So, they love-bomb customers letting their colleagues work their butts off, do the cleaning and stocking up, while “sliming” customers. And while those who try to get the cash rewards, love-bombing customers, they are being rude to their colleagues behind the scenes. I was always disgusted at this and made sure there was a good rotation of staff doing a variety of tasks, not the same people cleaning or the same people being stuck on the tills trying to get rewards, while others made the shop look good. And it worked, because it improved team-work and encouraged the shy ones to have some success without always doing the dirty work.

So, dear reader, get yourself a cuppa, maybe even while you’re in Pret reading this, because this will take a while! Know WHY staff are always so attentive, cheery, chatty, even if they are not well or are depressed or bereaved or ill or pregnant or bullied etc. Read the DETAIL and micromanaging actions, that Mystery Shoppers are expected to test staff on to perform like acrobatic clowns, stretching themselves like octopuses in all directions for low pay and some small recognition! Know the high emotional, mental and physical price they pay for little return!

And no, don’t make it so easy on yourself by saying that staff can just look for another job! Oh no! Don’t assume that people can just switch jobs, especially when they are so exhausted and burnt out, unable to look for another job! Pret keeps them busy, even wanting staff to “never stand still”.

Many employees left their countries to find work and a better life, have kids to feed, Uni tuition to pay, and so on. Many even have degrees, but their degree is not accepted in the UK, or their English is still improving. Staff are brain-washed and promised a lot (see next reviews here below), not realizing the intense work and stress they will be subjected to. Pret hangs a carrot in front of employees, and staff always hope for that breakthrough that never comes, because the price for it is too high. And by the time they do reach that goal, they are embittered, exhausted, discouraged. It is my experience, and also from many staff reviews, that if you make friends with upper Managers (sometimes even in the bedroom!), and are willing to do anything expected, even if it’s wrong, you will make it far in Pret! And what’s so disgusting about it is, that you’d expect this in a law firm, and certainly in politics and Hollywood, but a sandwich chain? Very sad!
(Also, pay attention to the amount of “Yes” vs. “No” votes on the reviews!)

A recent Manager review and I can underline this from experience:

Step on others

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A recent review on HEAD OFFICE:

HQ Bullies

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Another Manager from 2016:

Kiss bum

 

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

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And a recent Manager review:

GM Horrible

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etc. etc. etc. …

In some of the below Mystery Shopper comments I make a remark in blue and italics to briefly explain further. I also changed names of Team Members into italics “Name of Team Member” etc.

Also, regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers. But once a Mystery Shopper has visited one particular shop to do a job, they are NOT send back to that shop to do a job for 3 months, so as not to be spotted as MS by staff. They can of course visit privately, but as Mystery Shoppers not for 3 months after a job.

 

The 30 questions Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers to test staff on every week:

This is a real recent Mystery Shopper report:

MS scrores

 

MS scrores2

 

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The outside signage, windows, and door frame were reasonably clear and clean. There is no outside seating at this site.”

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The entrance area and door mat were reasonably tidy with no visible debris or litter.”

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

Friendly (5)

“There was a good buzz of energy at the entrance. The team members were not close enough to acknowledge people entering the shop.”

(These kinds of comments from Mystery Shoppers always upset the Teams, as the MS expects staff to kiss butt from the get go at the entrance, not taking into consideration that shops are understaffed and workers get in trouble when they don’t finish all the cleaning, stocking up etc. It’s that thing again of having ones feet bound together in a tight rope and expected to run or stretch in all directions like an octopus!)

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

Well presented (5)

“All food and drink displays were tidy and well organised.”

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

Well presented (5)

“The bakery display looked attractive and well arranged. There was no mess on the till counter. ”

6 – How well presented were team members?

Very smart (5)

“The team members that I saw were well groomed and wearing clean pressed uniforms.”

 

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7

1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

4 or more tickets had less than 2 items (1)

“A baguette, a sandwich, a flat wrap and a salad.”

(THIS is where this shop lost their bonus.)

8

2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

No tickets without stock (5)

(…psst, unless the Manager or Leader took the label off 😉 )

9

3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were no labels without products.”

(Here the “lines” don’t need to be at least 2).

10

4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were bakery items for each label.”

 

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11

1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

Perfect (5)

“I was served immediately.”

(Because it was at the quiet period after 11AM and before the 12noon lunch rush).

12

2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

Perfect (5)

“My hot drink was ready within 30 seconds.”

(Pret changed their question now, as they also read my blog where I mention the 60 seconds rule as featured in the first YouTube video at the top of this post. It used to be that staff had to serve within 1 minute from the time payment was made. So, Pret changed the wording as this high pace expectation adds to a lot of mistakes with the non-dairy milks, allergen issues etc. A recent interview of the new CEO Pano Christou still mentions the 60 second rule. A current staff member told me that Pret briefly changed the 60 seconds to 90 seconds after a staff member died. But now they changed it back to 1 minute:
“We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of tills open, please rate the time it took to be served?”
~and ~

“We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was, did you received your correct hot
drink in a reasonable time?”

Here is an excerpt on the 60 seconds rule from 2017).

1 min

 

I got confirmed by a current Pret staff that this 1 minute rule still applies to the Mystery Shopper.

Back to the current 2020 MS report:

MS scrores3

 

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13

1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

Friendly (5)

“Both Name of Team Member A and Name of Team Member B were welcoming, making eye contact, smiling and interacting in a cheerful manner.”

(Pret change the wording here. It used to be worded:
“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.” – screenshot of MS excerpt from 2015, but this question was still worded like this at least till 2018).

Every customer

14

2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

All correct (5)

“The items were clearly stated, charged, and served, exactly as ordered.”

(Because of the allergen deaths, staff have to name the items, in case the customer took the wrong one).

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

“No comments are required for this question.”

(Again: since the customer deaths, Mystery Shoppers have to ask staff about a product, for example on allergen, or calories etc. to test how well staff can answer the question. Staff are supposed to call the Manager to take over, but that’s not always possible).

15

4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

N/A

(The Mystery Shopper chose NOT to ask any allergen related questions, which used to be mandatory straight after the customer deaths became public).

Friendly (5)

“I approached a manager who was checking stock at the fridge. I asked him about identifying low fat products. Manager’s Name said that he could bring the allergy guide, or we could use the electronic wall mounted screen for more information. He showed me the display label detail of fat content per 100gm and encouraged me to ask for any further assistance if required.”

(If the Manager wasn’t helpful or not knowledgeable, this would have consequences for him and the Team).

 

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16

1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The bin stations were very tidy and clean.”

17

2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

Presentable (4)

“There was a large seating area that was clean and clear of debris and litter. The table tops that I could see needed a full wipe as there was some very small residue of crumbs.”

(Some “very small” residue!)

18

3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

Presentable (4)

“The toilet I visited had adequate toilet roll, hand soap and a working hand dryer. There was some paper litter on the floor.”

 

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19

1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

Friendly (5)

Name of Team Member A thanked me and wished me a good day.”

 

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

Yes

Name of Team Member B was preparing the hot drinks and heard me talking to Name of Team Member A about trying a new variety. She asked if I liked coffee and said that she would be happy to make me another drink for me to taste. Name of Team Member B explained the drink and prepared it for me, making helpful comments and encouraging me to let her know if I liked it. The drink was amazing, absolutely delicious, and something I would never have known about without her taking the initiative. It added value to my visit and I savoured the drink with pleasure.”

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

N/A

Name of Team Member

(This Team Member received the £100 reward. £100 because the scores weren’t perfect and the shop lost bonus. If the shop had perfect scores which also would have won the Team bonus, this Team Member would have gotten £200 reward.)

 

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

Asked & Charged Correctly Correctly

Name of Team Member A carefully asked me and charged accordingly.”

(It used to be between about 2012 and 2017-ish that the Government put pressure on companies as they realized there isn’t as much VAT payment coming through. So, the Mystery Shopper was tasked to eat inside the shop. And when the Pret server, who rung up the Mystery Shopper order, did 1. not ASK “eat in or take away” OR 2. did not CHARGE the eat-in price, forgetting to press the eat-in button even when they asked, the whole Team lost the bonus! Pret tried to avoid getting fined by the Government for not having a certain amount of VAT payments to pay these Government taxes. So, Pret turned around as usual, and put that burden on low-wage workers, penalizing them if they didn’t charge the eat-in VAT price.
I once lost my Team the bonus because I gave the wrong receipt from the SHARED receipt machine, where we took receipts in a hurry having to serve fast. Mystery Shopper ask for receipts 1. to proof they visited the shop – also have to take a photo from outside the shop, 2. they need the receipt to get reimbursed, 3. the server’s name is on the receipt for the reward or critique).

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

Yes

Name of Manager was the manager and during my visit was concentrating on filling stock for a full display. ”

(Here again, Pret uses the Mystery Shopper to even check on management, while OPs Managers, who could come by more often sit in the pub or at home! This again is the constant “surveillance” staff go through).

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

No

“N/A”

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

Yes

“There was a yellow soy sticker on my cup.”

(Mystery Shoppers HAVE TO purchase a hot drink to also time baristas the 1 minute rule)

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

N/A N/A

“I did not buy a hot item.”

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

Yes

“The wrap and baguette contents were as described on the shelf and package labels.”

 

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

10 10

“The service was excellent and the food and especially drink were very enjoyable.”

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

Other

“I was disappointed not to find any breakfast products when I arrived a few minutes after 11 on a Saturday morning.”

(This disappointment by the MS can also put pressure on staff to have more breakfast items on display at a quiet time after 11AM, and thus increase the waste. These unnecessary expectations put extra pressure on staff. I once had a Mystery Shopper comment that I didn’t ask them “Anything else?” After that comment, my Manager pressured me to say this! I remember feeling humiliated and stunned at this stupid thing! This is why the former staff member who was fired for starting a Union rightly tweeted to Pret and its former CEO:)

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

Service

“No comments are required for this question.”

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?

Pret a Manger

“It is interesting to try different food and drink at a new Pret site.”

 


 

If any current Pret staff has read this and found that I missed something important, or some things have changed, feel free to contact me anonymously and add to it via my contact page.

In September 2019 Clive Schlee “retired” but let the new CEO, Pano Christou aleady take over on Glassdoor in mid July to avoid further poor scoring. Schlee retired with quite a legacy, as Pret staff always spill the beans in anonymity, away from the fear management. Yet, he remains in the background as a non-executive director. But this is his legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2020-01-22 Pano 39 34

 

Finally,

JOIN A UNION!

On Twitter and online check: BFAWU who are the best informed on Pret and have helped Pret staff already. The BFAWU have been instrumental on the first ever McDonald’s strikes in the UK. Also check, The McStrike Union, GMB Union, Unite The Union, PAMSU (though, not very active) and many others. Just DON’T stay alone!

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 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.

Hypocrisy in Society (Racism in Pret)

 

I know there is nothing new under the sun, but I still want to point something out, as the solidarity towards PEOPLE is separated in a class system. On Twitter there’s an outcry regarding racism in Pret, and rightly so, but the hypocrisy is obvious.

I touched on this already in another blog post: “Shocking Comments“, after a customer raised a much needed question on the systemic bullying in Pret. I explained why the public for the most part doesn’t care:

2020-01-09 Shocking comments

Link

I also re-published an older news article on “Racism in Pret A Manger“:

 

2012 Pret accused of racism

Photo: The Voice

I have witnessed racism towards staff, and this racism was also from certain European countries towards another country, especially when the shop Manager was from Country A, employed mostly from country A, and if ONE employee was from country B, they were not treated well. But this was very hard to proof, as the bullying and discrimination is subtle. It’s not only a question of black and white, but a general system of favouritism, that especially Pret staff in the USA complain about towards British Management.

Only few of the many reviews on favourisitm and racism:

2019-03-08 TL - Rasism Racism - RVW25061701

Link

An Italian review on racism:

Italian review racism

Link

2013 Racism Review

Link

2019-06-11 Corporate hell on earth - RVW27190460

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

 

2013 Review racist

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

AM - Pure Misery

Link Assistant Manager: “This place is what hell must be like.”

 

There is RACISM, favouritism, bullying, discrimination towards low-wage EMPLOYEES at Pret A Manger.

But there is NO outcry from the public whatsoever! Mainstream media knows, but there’s silence! 

And this is throughout the board at Pret in the UK, USA etc.

I’ve been writing for almost 2 years on the bullying environment in Pret, with my own story at the bottom audio player interview on a podcast based in California. Yet, only very few people even comment, let alone are outraged.

The moment a customer shares their experience of racism or mistreatment of any kind, ESPECIALLY if this customer has a certain stand in society (in this case is a playwright, screenwriter, artist etc.) the outcry is great, and a boycott of Pret is called for.

Pret staff can be bullied, depressed, even suicidal, and in my case bullied during bereavement, it does not bother hardly anyone!

I write extensively about the systemic bullying in Pret in Caught in the Act where a customer witnessed a classical bullying incident in Pret. I have even tweeted a link in the following feed, but apart from one person, no one is bothered. I argued that if the same Winsome Pinnock was an employee, a low-wage worker in Pret, no one would bother to even read her experience:

 

2020-01-17 Customer

Link to Twitter feed

So, the outcry is huge in above feed, and rightly so, YET low-wage workers are of no concern to these same people who are appalled. Nothing new under the sun in society. And Winsome Pinnock is called a “goddess”, but if the same Winsome Pinnock was a low-wage Pret worker with a racist experience, all the people who commented their concern wouldn’t give a sh!t.

 

Racism

Link

The hypocrisy is great here with all these people’s outcry and seeming concern, almost worshiping someone because of their occupation or stance in society. Their outcry is NOT because of racism, they don’t care if staff are discriminated on race, gender, illness, disability etc. And not only is there NO anti-bullying policy in Pret, the environment is one of bullying as long as profits increase. Racism, discrimination, targeting staff if they don’t fit in is rampant and often subtle. Again, I put plenty of screenshots and links about the systemic bullying in Caught in the Act.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 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.

Shocking Comments

 

A Pret customer on Twitter responded to the blog post on the bullying environment in Pret that I tweeted, where a Manager was “Caught in the Act” bullying a Team Member right in front of customers. I posted many Pret staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTube, Twitter etc. on the systemic bullying environment of Pret, including in Head Office.

I get many responses, mostly of shock, as people have been presented with a clean, ethical image of Pret. I also get a lot of “hate”. I get blocked, cussed out, reported, ignored etc. And that is expected. And at times in my drunken state I have lashed out at people and received appropriate responses. My apologies again to all who were at the receiving end of my drunken Tweets. It’s a trauma thing I do, but it’s not an excuse! So, when people hit back, it’s completely understandable and I accept it.

But the “hate” I get most of the time is when I tweet in a normal or neutral way just raising awareness on Pret. And the opposition of course is expected.

But one person responded, who seems to really care, and asked a question I have asked myself many times:

»These comments are shocking.
Why isn’t the public aware of this mistreatment?«

 

2020-01-09 Shocking comments

Link

I explained a little bit in 3 Tweets, but want to put this into a blog post to not be limited in characters or get shadow banned.

My take on this, after over a year of hitting my head against a wall, is several reasons. I believe the following as a mix of reasons, in no particular order:

  • Most or many don’t care, like in real life, they are bystanders or show indifference. I literally had people tell me that they don’t care after I pointed Pret work environment out to them.

 

  • Also, many people flock to success, they are drawn to big shiny things and great stories. It’s human nature to want to believe a fairy-tale and what a company, organization or person “sells” to us as ethical, “natural” and good. Some people were so shocked about the reviews that I linked to, that they wrote things like: “I wish I never mentioned Pret” after I gave them a peek behind the facade. Or another Tweeter said, “Why are you doing this to me?” – as if I was ripping their illusions apart. We all have seen people or comedy where one person tells another person a truth, but the listener in a silly way holds their ears closed and starts talking or singing loud, so as not to have to hear the truth that is being told, like in this brief scene with Jim Carrey in >>> Dumb & Dumber. And this is how it sometimes comes across with Pret’s work practices that I post and the responses by people on social media.
    A great quote by Nietzsche sums this up well:

Illusion

 

  • I have several accounts on social media as my Tweets are censored (hidden from the public) which then hides my writings from Twitter in general and can’t even be found in search. Only when people go directly onto my Twitter feed are Tweets visible during a shadow ban. But who would do that, especially when not knowing about my account?! And Twitter knows that, denies that they shadow ban, yet even said that people “may have to do more work to find” Tweets. I responded to their right out lying about this in a Tweet over Christmas 2018 after I just became aware of shadow banning. More on shadow banning, which is modern-day secret censorship, and how they do it, please watch this undercover report on YouTube.

 

  • Mainstream media KNOWS my blog, but is in Pret’s pocket. I have contacted HUNDREDS of media people! Sure, they are worried of getting sued, but there are other journalists who wrote about Pret’s emotional labour practices. I collect their writings here: The Dangers of Emotional Labour. So, it IS possible to write about Pret without any repercussions. My writings are the most comprehensive, and if I can do it, anyone can, especially telling my own story AND pulling info from other Pret staff into one place, cross-referencing from other publications as well. 

 

  • Unions want to unionize staff, but I don’t know where this is at and I know that Pret staff are scared, often even too scared to leave, like I was. This recent review, marked in red, by a Manager I can absolutely relate to as Pret steeps employees in fear and brainwashing them. And this is not only in Scotland, as I worked in over a dozen Pret shops in London with my own horrific story with even Pret’s top leadership:

GM

Link

  • The majority of people are followers, not leaders taking risks. So, for example I myself as this “little” person raising awareness, I am unknown, unpopular, have 30 followers here, 2 there etc. Nothing “special”. If ONE person clicks like or RT on my Tweet or even goes a step further and comments in support, even though I am “nobody”, unknown, out of my mind in trauma at times etc. this person is a leader. If I was a known or famous person with 3 million followers and would write exactly the same thing, or even something banal, I would get thousand of likes, RT’s, would probably start a revolution! So, a person who shows their support on my Tweets is a leader, because they don’t go with the flow, but with what THEY value and stand for, regardless what others believe. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything I say or tweet is right, and everyone who agrees with me is right, but my point here is that people who “dare” to agree or support an unknown person is a leader who takes risks against the flow. In society, and especially on social media, it’s not about WHAT you post or stand for, but how many followers and likes you have, regardless what BS you may post.

 

be-careful-when-blindly-following-the-masses-sometimes-the-m-26295700

 

  • As the bullying in Pret is systemic it seems like such a big mountain to overcome. The number one “argument” I get on social media is, “well, this is everywhere in the world with all big companies”. My response is always that just because this seems (not is!) everywhere, doesn’t mean I have to settle for it! Also, that was exactly the complacency that people have and had before the #metoo movement grew and started kicking butt! “Well, that’s just what men do!” Nopes! Unacceptable! After what I’ve been through (my story with Pret is in the audio player and articles at the bottom of this post), I have come to the conclusion that life is just way too short to be exploited, stepped upon and thrown away like garbage!

 

  • I also asked health organizations like the Health and Safety Executive from the government, and other organisations and charities, for independent investigation into Pret staff deaths, particularly suicides. I wrote emails with detailed accounts to these health bodies, but they only investigate physical accidents at work that lead to death and investigate if they are work-related. I then continued to contact the press. I even contacted newspapers that I don’t like at all, just to call out for help like I’m drowning in despair! But apart from a handful of Journalists who cover the subject of emotional labour, there is not much interest, and those who showed interest seem to just want a quick story, but this subject needs thorough investigation and back-up. I was contacted by a Sunday Mirror reporter just soon after the first customer death from a Pret product became public. But at the time I wasn’t ready for the press and the journalist was apprehensive about getting sued by Pret for covering my story. But I suggested to the Journalist to go undercover into Pret, and I was proud to learn that she did! I commented on her experience in “Undercover Under Pressure“.

 

  • My take also is, that the public frankly doesn’t care about low-wage workers in the fast-food industry or service work. I put a blog post together on suicides in companies and the toxic environment of Amnesty International: “Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?
    I mention the recent court case in France where 35 employees died by suicide. I followed this when it first broke in the news 10 years ago, then disappeared and now the former bosses have been convicted. At the time of my blog entry the case just started.
    Also, an independent investigation has been done after TWO Amnesty International staff members died by suicide and their detailed findings of Amnesty’s toxic work environment. In Pret I know of also TWO staff members who died by suicide, plus one who became suicidal, went to court against Pret, but lost. Plus myself having survived after having had close calls. Yet, no-one seems to be interested, as I believe fast-food workers are not a priority, compared to human rights activists or the sheer high number of suicides that cannot be ignored.

In Pret there were two suicides that I know of, plus two suicidal people (the man who lost his case against Pret and myself), plus the many staff reviews on depression, bullying etc. There must be more.

And with this, I want to keep this blog post short, compared to the long explanations I usually make. I want to thank Marina Lambrou for caring enough to ask this question! And I want to thank all the people who have liked, RT’d, commented, DM’d and emailed me. I have had some amazing encouraging words from customers and staff alike. I will not out them of course, but one email from a customer made my day a while ago. This customer tweeted to Pret about having received their first free coffee and how exciting this give-away scheme is etc. I just posted the Mystery Shopper YouTube slide to them, where I put excerpts of real Mystery Shopper reports. But in the video I concentrated on the smiley service and posted only about 5 – 6 questions out of the 30 (THIRTY!) that Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on every week! I said nothing more and just let the video do the “talking” where staff are tested if they smile, give eye contact, chat, give freebies etc. These Mystery Shopper reports show how staff “have to” be so cheery and efficient NON-STOP in a high stress workplace to not lose bonus. So, the public thinks that Pret is such a friendly and happy workplace, while in reality it’s fear managed and driven by cash incentives.

About an hour later, I already forgot about their Tweet, as I move on quickly to post to other people, not having a big platform to reach the “masses”. The person emailed me via my contact form and said these very simple, brief, but touching words that had me in tears:

»Hey, I just posted thanking Pret for a free coffee. Thank you for raising attention to this, I had no idea. I shall let others know too. And of course I’ve taken down that tweet. I’m sorry that you had such an awful time at Pret.«

I checked, and the person really took down their Tweet. These kind of responses and feedback keep me going! I read many times on people’s Twitter profile things like, “changing the world, one tweet at a time”. And the thought that if what I post would reach more people quicker, instead of painstakingly contacting individuals one by one, what opportunity and change may actually come! But it’s worth the slow progress, one Tweet at a time, one more shadow ban, and one more time getting blocked and reported. It’s worth it.

Thank you for reading.

 

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Face ANOTHER Trial 2020

 

In another allergy case regarding unlabelled sesame, after another student, Isobel Colnaghi, allegedly suffered a reaction to a Pret product in 2017, Pret face another trial in Bristol Crown Court on 02. November 2020:

 

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020

Evening Standard

 

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020 2

Daily Mail

Another Trial started on 06. December 2019 in Bath, after Celia Marsh died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap in 2017:

LINK: >>>Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut will go on trial after allergy death <<<

0 Trial

 

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<< Via TheGrocer.co.uk

£10m

£10 million is quite a joke compared to the £30 million BONUS that Clive Schlee alone pocketed after the JAB purchase.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Head Office Reviews

 

London Victoria HQ reviews from various departments, as well as some corporate reviews from New York.

 

HQ Bullies

Link People don’t seem to get promoted unless you are a bully or belittle your team members. The place is toxic.

 

2019-01-23 Great Brand Poor Management - RVW24352473 marked

Link

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

 

NEW

2020-01-05 HQ Customer Service Team review

Link  The company doesn’t support their employees and think that it is okay for their employees to belittle, bully and intimidate team members as well as ostracise them from the entire team. … the actual manager of the CS Team was lovely but everything was out of her hands…

 

Las Vegas

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

17 Odd

Review by former purchasing Director, NY

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link “This place is what hell must be like.”

 

My own experience with Pret’s HQ was when HR used a Development Manager to gaslight me. She supposedly had a brother who died and was not discovered for 10 days in his flat, like my brother died and was 6 days not discovered.

Link to article: Lila Tighilt Warren and her Brother Zain ~~~ and ~~~ Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee. My full story with Pret is in an interview at the bottom audio player on a podcast based in California.

In a nutshell: Pret A Manger is a very toxic, corrupt and bullying company behind that “happy” facade.

 

Former CEO Clive Schlee’s legacy, Glassdoor:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2020-01-05 Pano 40 36

Link

 

The following Unions cover the food industry (links to Twitter):

BFAWU1McStrike (UK) — Fast Food Forward (USA) — GMB UnionUnitePret Staff Union (UK, not as active) and others. The BFAWU is very active with McDonald’s strikes and are very informed about Pret A Manger issues.

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

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 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.

How Twitter Censorship Looks Like

 

Here is a VERY common occurrence of Twitter’s censorship, called “shadow banning”:

Links to Tweets underneath the screenshots

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets1

Tweets are hidden behind “Show more replies” to not be immediately visible to viewers who are too busy and rushed to spot Tweets. In my case, Pret does not want my writings visible.

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets2

Link to above screenshots: 1st Tweet will be visible.

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets3

2nd Tweet is HIDDEN from the public on that feed, but visible via @XpretXpert’s Tweets & Replies feed.

3rd Tweet is behind “1 more reply”:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets4

3rd Tweet LINK is visible at first, but will not be seen when clicking on “Show more replies”. Twitter RIPS the feed apart which is explained on the Shadowban.eu site as, quote: “threads are completely ripped apart by hiding reply tweets of the affected user to others”. So, when you click on “show more” etc. you seem to hit a brick wall, you can a “1” reply, but you can’t get to it. The feed starts back from the top, but you can’t get to the hidden Tweet.

Here is the 2nd Tweet that has been hidden in the name of no “public interest”:

2019-12-27 HIDDEN Tweet

2nd Tweet LINK via @XpretXpert’s Tweets & Replies feed. These Tweets are from years of experience as a Team Leader during the Christmas Season where items are NOT ordered by shops, but Pret as usual blames the supplier in response to customers’ queries why certain items are not available.

Behind the “This Tweet is unavailable – Learn more”, Twitter gives this explanation, quote:

Placing a Tweet in violation behind an interstitial: We may allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability. When this happens, we limit engagement with the Tweet and add a notice to clarify that the Tweet violates our rules, but we believe it should be left up to serve this purpose. You can read more on how we review Tweets that may be in the legitimate public interest.”

So, Twitter defines what is of “public interest” and what not. But BECAUSE this would be of “public interest” to see the reality beyond the dishonesty, Pret tries to avoid this getting out. My experience of 10 years in Pret shops, with about 8 years as a Team Leader. I worked 8 Christmases doing the ordering for various Pret shops.

Ladies and Gents, THIS is modern-day censorship called “shadow banning”.

And in this case it looks like this, which will be partly in the red (shadow banned / some Tweets hidden) for about 24 – 48 hours from the time of the ban:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets5

From: Shadowban.eu/XpretXpert

On Twitter is OPEN PORNOGRAPHY, where people can tweet their bits and boobs, and explicit language. But my Tweet has been censored by Twitter on Pret’s behalf.

And here’s a similar message I posted to his initial post:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets0

Link to my post on the opening Tweet

An undercover report on Twitter shadow banning and how HUMANS, not only bots shadow ban on purpose and choose Tweets they don’t want to be seen. Most banned Tweets are regarding Trump, political propaganda etc. I am not for Trump and right-wing politics, but it is censoring free speech and is completely up to the Twitter people what they want to see or not. And the nasty thing about this is that most people who are secretly censored / shadow banned don’t even know they are! The video explains and I also explain how this works in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page. The video starts with a Twitter staff member saying on hidden camera regarding hiding Tweets and accounts they don’t like or disagree with: “We’re trying to get the shitty people not to show up …”

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

Day 24: The 3 Vice Men – Kneeling at Pret A Manger

 

Day 24 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Merry Christmas, if you can!

Let the Fools NOT be with you!

 

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

What Managers and Corporate employees, including Head Office staff, say about Pret throughout the years and in various cities/countries (only few of many reviews and comments):

Go back Pret

Link

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Blogspot –  4 years after Bridgepoint took over.

Mafia

Link

HQ

HQ London 2017

HQ BulliesHQ London 2019

Managers cry

Leader Review on abusive Area Manager – Shop Managers crying in the office.

I could go and on with countless more reviews along those lines, but I want to put only one more that broke my heart. I was actually crying when I read this because it triggered so much pain I’ve been through and seen colleagues go through. For a longer, but not exhaustive list of staff reviews and complains: >>>

GM slavery

Manager review London, October 2019

Ruin

Manager Review 2014 – 6 years after Bridgepoint took over.

So, who are the 3 Vice Men?

  • Pano Christupido (Current Fool who deleted his Twitter account after my blog entry on Clive Schlee’s “retirement” in July 2019)
  • Clive Leech (Former Fool who, with full steam ahead ran the Titanic into an iceberg, but continues to present himself as CEO of Pret. Pscht! He’s in denial!)
  • David Cartel (The Fixer – he’s out and about on behalf of the CEO putting out fires and seeing to it that hardworking people get fired)

 

Pret_Dwarfs

Pano Christo (left), Clive Schlee

David Cartel

David Carter, HR Fixer

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words! Those are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee, who “retired” in September 2019!

 

My wife always would say, ‘any damn fool can run Pret

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

The problem with companies that have fools running it is, they may endanger their clients’ and employees’ lives. God forbid customers number 1. die, number 2. the company doesn’t do anything until these fatalities become public, and 3. get away with it!

And God forbid that this company gets away with not one, but two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, and numerous hospitalized …

And God forbid even further that staff struggle and suffer, some dying, even by suicide.

Of course who would think that a CEO would sneak out quietly into early retirement, remaining a non-executive Director in the background, working on fixing his reputation with some more charity work and finally reaching out to low-paid workers?

What company would have a fool running its business and ruin a lot of people’s lives?

Good thing the facade of Pret is still in tact! Let the free coffees flow to put the public back to sleep!

That’s all that counts these days. Cheap freebies people settle for.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«. Sure. And certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

I want to say again that Pret A Manger is NOT what they portray to the public!

 

2016 Review.jpg

Link “the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth”

 

2019 Review GM

Link Manager Review

 

Legacy of a Fool: 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

One of my many articles about and to Clive Schlee, one of which I dedicate to his farewell gift:

Foot-In-Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

New CEO, Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management. But Clive Schlee remains in the background as Non-executive Director pulling the strings under JAB Holdings.

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

Smile Pano! Smile!

 

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

I continue to ask for independent investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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 Rosa Parks Stood Up

 

she did so by sitting down

at the right spot

 

Her sitting down was a silent and dangerous protest in the face of insecurity

manifested as hate

 

But she birthed love

 

Today,

we struggle against a different mask

We are told that our concerns a taken “very seriously”

and that it will be dealt with immediately

We face faces of smiles

and leave with a dozen knives sticking out our backs

Rosa Parks had a face that I envy.

 

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

 

 

 

Day 22: Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl – Articles

 

Day 22 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl’s” Writings.

For any new reader, my full story in an interview at the bottom of this page on the audio player.

For a comprehensive list of writings about Pret A Manger, please visit:
>>> The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

Since Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret labelled me his “late night girl”, I return the favour and call him Clive Leech. This label was inspired by a recent staff review, plus all the many other reviews and my experience of Pret being exploitative and sucking the life-blood out of employees. Review: >>> Leeches <<<

I said in early 2019 to a Union person that Clive Schlee will probably sneak out of Pret. And days ago I wrote to another person that he is very quiet lately and either on a Sabbatical or leaving.

 


 

My blog entry on the 01. July 2019:

I tweeted to the press this morning, and of course now they have “breaking” news 😉 He since has now tweeted his announcement himself AFTER I contacted the press and they “broke” the news.

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 


 

To Clive Schlee,

unfortunately your early retirement you chose not to announce and I had to tweet again for the press to pick this up. Sure, Pano Christou will take over, having come from McDonald’s management (nobody’s perfect!) he will continue where you left off. Pano became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker “left”. Andrew Walker then became EAT’s CEO which is now swallowed by JAB via Pret. What a cold cold business! It may be good for the press to properly investigate on the Andrew Walker issue!

Pano will do some changes of course, but from his emails years ago, he wasn’t straight forward with me either, and I’m afraid Pret will continue business as usual with a lot of the chaos behind the scenes.

I’m sure you’ve done a lot of good things and many will sing your praises. But for me and many others this PR[et] facade and the reality behind the scenes has been a terrible “ride” and the worst, traumatic experience I have ever had in any workplace! Only my brother’s untimely death supersedes this trauma in an even greater nightmare!

I always shuddered when as a shop Team Leader, working in the office doing the ordering or whatever I had to do, when an email from HQ came in. And that email was sent out naming, blaming and shaming shops that had poor scoring in Health & Safety or other issues. This fear management, also to your low-paid workers via Mystery Shoppers, was always a terrible experience to read and witness.

And you think you can just sneak out of Pret, not taking any responsibility?

I worked in the catering industry all my life, in 3 countries. I never shied away from hard work and was self-sufficient since my teenage years. I lived and worked with integrity, principle and care. And what I received in return was humiliation, trauma, and discrimination. You need to understand that Pret A Manger under your leadership has almost destroyed my life, literally almost killed me!

I survived Pret, which I experienced as toxic, corrupt and exploitative.

You can count yourself very lucky, Mr. Schlee, that my mental health is too low to see through to court without a lawyer and my father having died in the middle of preparation for the Tribunal claim I had to withdraw!

And this is YOUR legacy, sir. And I can never write any other story-line, as much as I miss my old life of writing with encouragement and positivity, having given the benefit of the doubt to you one too many times. Those days are gone when it comes to Pret A Manger!

I’m sure by now with all my writings that you have read (you still haven’t blocked me on Twitter as you collect for a potential court case or to ruin my future further! Pano Christou blocked me and today he closed his @christoupano account!), but I’m sure by now you have learned of amazing CEOs like Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, or Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani who revolutionize the business world. I hope you learn from them, not just for the typical Pret facade and fake smile you are so known for. But a full turn around to make a true difference in the LIVES of HUMAN BEINGS that labour and give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions!

I am proud to have declined four settlement offers in turn for silence! I have many regrets, but not this one!

Wishing you good luck?

I wish that you would for once take responsibility, sir!

I wish that you would be taken to court for what people have suffered under you!

Regards,

Your “Late Night Girl” – 01. July 2019


Clive Schlee’s Legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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

 

LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 


 

 

21. Sep. 2019
Pret A Manger has a New Fool

23. Sep. 2019
Smile, Fool!

01. Sep. 2019
Foot-in-Mouth Disease at Pret

08. July 2019
Any Damn Fool can run Pret

 


 

While the Press was fast asleep:

01. July 2019 approx. 3am post
Clive Schlee’s Legacy

 

30. June 2019
The Captain of the Ship

 

20. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?

 

18. June 2019
Clive Schlee’s Soldiers – My suspicion that he would be leaving!

 

03. April 2019
The Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

16. Nov. 2018
Clive Schlee’s Crocodile Tears – His negligence on customer warnings regarding allergen labelling

 

08. Dec. 2018
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: to Clive Schlee

 

17. Feb, 2019
Pret’s Unprofessional Twitter Staff incl. Clive Schlee

 

02. Apr. 2019
Clive Schlee, Pano Christou

 

08. Aug. 2018
An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger

 

UPDATE:
01. July 2019
Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

and so on…


 

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«
 – by @minmilyjung

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 21: Pret A Manger’s Rip-Off Wrap

 

Day 21 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

A very light airy wrap with lots of room for imagination…

Get the popcorn out, put the kettle on… this will take a while!

Arrow

(Recent updates not included here, but some are added underneath the slideshow, there is more which is not included on this page)

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For a full visual list: Pret A Manger Misleading Packaging and the Class Action vs Pret for Deceptive Packaging settled in New York February 2019, and a Tweet to a customer that Pret deleted after seeing my blog entry on the misleading packaging issue.

UPDATE:

New complaints keep coming that are not featured in above slideshow. And keep in mind, not everyone complains on Twitter about it or makes photos:

To save space and scrolling time, a little collage (links underneath):

Air Wrap Collage

05. Dec. 2019

29. Nov. 2019

27. Nov. 2019 Boston, USA

27. Nov. 2019 Also USA, but Pret didn’t respond this time

15. Nov. 2019

21. Oct. 2019

19. Oct. 2019

10. Oct. 2019

… and still more underneath Lawsuit article:

Settled

Link

2019-12-20 Air Wrap

20. December 2019

2019-12-18 Air Wrap

18. Dec. 2019

 

2019-10-01 Air Wrap


TWO on 18.09.2019

2019-09-18 Air Wrap Victoria

Victoria

2019-09-18 Air Wrap

#Shrinkflation

 

2019-09-11 Air Wrap USA

 

2019-08-27 Air Wrap

27. Aug. 2019 USA

 

2019-08-21 Air Wrap

21. Aug. 2019

 

2019-09-09 Air Wrap

09. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-07 Air Wrap

07. Aug. 2019

 

Since having settled the lawsuit, Pret’s having a laugh with a customer who helps them; the wrap looks like having been a little stretched out here:

2019-08-07 Air Wrap taking mick

Also 07. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-06 Air Wrap

06. August 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-29 Air Wrap USA

29. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-26 Air Wrap

26. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-24 Air Wrap

24. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-10 Air Flat Wrap

10. July 2019

 

Some from 2014 that I missed 😉

2014-04-16 Air Wrap

16. Apr. 2014

 

2014-03-10 Air Wrap

10. Mar. 2014

 

to be continued unfortunately …

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

This is why Pret wants you to DM them

I have tweeted this before several times for people to not get lured into DM, mainly to keep the conversation public, but also because Pret want customers’ data.

Pret sends little freebies in return for addresses.

Don’t believe me if you don’t want to.

If you want to unsubscribe from a website/newsletter but can’t find the feature, press F3 and enter into search “unsubscribe”.

Here is an eagle eye after my own heart:

2019-12-19 Pret hides unsubscribe1

Link

You’ll need to read the WHOLE text to spot it:

2019-12-19 Pret hides unsubscribe2

I write about the reality behind Pret’s “happy” facade and collect staff reviews. This slideshow is just a small selection of a long list. There is a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co. If a multi-billion pound/dollar company under private equity looks too good to be true, just take a closer look.

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO even briefly mentioned the data base their building when asked in an interview on “Teddy Talks” (no, not TED Talks!). Mario Bauer noticed that for the first time people are asked to enter their email addresses. I took that interview apart on another blog post: Clive Schlee: A Case Study on the Fun Factory. And it’s notable to say that Clive Schlee at the end of the interview mentions that he’s getting his priorities changed from profit driven to more important things in what we leave behind. Well, now he’s thinking about his own legacy after having driven the company full steam ahead, ignoring warning on allergen, two customers died and he STILL didn’t act UNTIL the deaths became public. NOW he’s thinking about his legacy.

Schlee still remains in the background pulling the strings as a non-executive Director. He “retired” with this legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

… handing over to the new CEO, his prodigee Pano Christou. Part of the reason for their scores is in the below slideshow.

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer:
—>>> Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 19: Secrets To Outstanding Customer Service

 

Day 19 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

How to guarantee a return to the business with vibrant, consistent service and a generous approach.

As recommendations of Pret A Manger customer service has increased lately, with praise for the great staff who with smiles, helpfulness and generosity are impressing customers, after I spilled the beans on why staff are so “happy”, I want to put into one blog entry the secrets for this. Why are staff who earn £8.25 an hour, always seemingly so “happy”, chatty and smiley in a highly intense, noisy, hot and stressful work environment for 8 – 10 hours daily?

In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management.

I put a YouTube slide together with some of the questions weekly Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked by Pret to test staff on in every shop. In the slide I concentrate on the smiley service.

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A customer witnessed a bullying incident that usually happens behind closed doors! In this post, scroll down to the screenshots of reviews and Tweets on what many staff experience behind the scenes:

Link: → “Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

 


 

When the MS visit has been successful, all the staff in the shop receive their weekly bonus, which is £1 extra per hour worked that week. BUT, those who are sick that week, even just for one day, and those who come to work late, will not receive the bonus. Many Managers use this for fear management. If a Manager doesn’t like a particular Team Member, and that TM is late even just 5 minutes while usually being on time mostly, the boss cuts their bonus. No mercy. I worked with colleagues who even got their bonus cut when they came to work unshaven. Or I myself was threatened with a bonus cut when I forgot something banal. So, if a staff member received bonus and worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on top of their wages.

Additionally, if an individual staff member, including the manager do “outstanding” service and impress the MS, for example by giving free coffees or other items, this individual employee can get an extra £100 or even £200 if all the scores are perfect.

I write extensively about the free coffee “myth” in Pret and why many customers never get a free coffee in years, while others receive free items weekly, some even daily:

—>>> Free Coffees in Pret A Manger

Managers receive their bonuses each quarter on a variety of issues like profit, how much/little waste they have, how much they managed to save on labour, cutting hours (Pret under-staffs throughout the board to maximize profit and Manager’s bonus), routine health and safety checks etc.

A Tweet from a customer just today:

2019-10-16 Understaffed

Link

And a few days ago:

2019-10-12 Understaffed

Link

There’s more, but I want to keep it as short as possible.

A recent of the many staff reviews on chronically understaffed shops:

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

But the biggest chunk of Managers, upper Managers and regional Leaders bonuses is the Mystery Shopper results. That’s why staff are stressed intensely about this.

I had one Manager take me aside as I was the Team Leader and say to me: “I close my eyes to everything, but not the Mystery Shopper”. Meaning, if I made mistakes or even did dodgy things with health and safety, the cashing up, the Team etc. he would close his eyes and not get me in trouble. But if the Mystery Shopper results were poor, I would get in trouble, as part of Team Leader’s responsibility is to “engage” the Team to always smile etc. Like a cheer-leader. The above YouTube slide shows this clearly.

Not floating my own boat, but I had most of the time excellent MS results and still even kept the MS reports for my protection as one Area Manager targeted me alleging I didn’t engage the Team, while Mystery Shopper after Mystery Shopper and even regular customers said otherwise and constantly commended my Teams. Quite sad that I had to keep those reports for my protection. But for me, even if Pret would have scrapped the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have still worked the way I worked as I love people and customers pay a lot of money for products.

I did not “push” my colleagues to smile, be friendly etc. I encouraged my Teams, I asked them how they were, I gave them extra breaks if they were exhausted, sick or depressed, I supported them and cared about them. And that reflected on their service and in interacting with each others and the customers. But the general tone in Pret is to “force” staff to smile, at times threatening them with disciplinary and even job loss. I’ve seen, heard and witnessed it all and had to console many many times Team Members crying in the staff room or on their way home.

Only two of the many Mystery Shopper comments below. The MS commented on both individual Staff Members and all the Teams as a whole in our service.

Excerpts from two different Mystery Shopper and shops/team: (Ctrl & + to zoom in)

MS Best Team

 

MS Best

So, shops are tested on if they have a certain amount of selection set for a certain time of the business times, are tested on cleanliness, how the overall atmosphere of the shop is, if the service doesn’t take longer than 1 (one) minute etc.etc. etc.

But the most important thing that shops are tested on is customer service. Are individual and all staff smiling, seem happy, chatty etc. The above YouTube slide goes into detail on this. Pret does not care how staff feel, if they are bereaved, depressed etc. I was traumatically bereaved and was bullied and targeted when the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile. I did smile most of the time and have that in black and white (sad to say!), but there is no mercy, no empathy as profits are more important.

An excellent article about this I found and commented on: “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” is about the increasing competition in the service industry and how low-wage workers are forced to perform emotional labour and a big hype to create the impression they are so happy in the company.

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/emotional-labour-statesman-article.jpg?w=755&h=421

 

So, people seem to have been “recruited”, even on the Pret USA Twitter feed, to tweet about the smiley and great staff calling them by name and the shop. All these Tweets sound similar and seem to have been organized. It’s also easy to see that they are recruited because hardly anyone responds to my Tweets, so they know about my writings 😀 . But my response is important as new readers find these Tweets who don’t know about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme.

These “recruited” Tweets have massively increased since the beginning of October 2019 like I’ve never seen before, since I read Pret Tweets from 2018. These customer Tweets started at about the second week of October 2019, after I increasingly blog and tweet about the Mystery Shopper in Pret. It’s also clear they have been recruited as hardly anyone responds to my Tweets about the Emotional Labour and Mystery Shopper incentives, meaning these people who tweet know about me and my writings.

Also, knowing Pret and how they “respond” indirectly to my writings, they will NOW (compared to before) pass on these Tweets to the shops, so that staff think Pret cares. Pret has lost lots of staff, of course many apply for jobs, but my blog and others is a sore in Pret’s sight. So, the idea is now to encourage staff, which is good, but work conditions remain the same while staff continue to get brain-washed.

And here’s the first Tweet on 20. November 2019, in this case by Pret’s USA Twitter account of the “recruited” customer Tweets. Pret again steals what I’ve been doing, keep on keeping Pret! 😀

2019-11-20 Pret Recruited Tweets

Link

Of course it is better that customers go on Twitter & Co to commend staff (many wordings are similar 😀 … come on people, at least make an effort and get more creative!), than to complain about low-wage workers publicly, who in turn cannot defend themselves as they are unaware that they were just negatively called out, even by name on Twitter.

Yet, I respond as a former Team Leader having survived this abuse and fear management, that the reason why staff, some of whom are depressed, even suicidal, seem so happy, is the reality of Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management. People need their jobs, have kids to raise and Uni tuition to pay. And the staff reviews on Glassdoor and Co including YouTube, Twitter etc. give a grim reality how depressing it is to work like this.

One such review is THE most poignant report on behind the scenes in Pret. It’s from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to do customer service with fake smiles, as shops are always understaffed.

The review is the one that starts with the large red letters in below slide show:
“This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.”
and ends:
“You will lose everything that makes you human.”

Direct Link to the Indeed review.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi

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Slideshow can be paused

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

So, dear Pret Customer, if you have been recruited to leave recommendations of Pret staff or not, only you know, but I am writing to make people aware of WHY low-paid employees in a high intense, stressful work environment, with often bullying managers (NEW incident caught by customer), smile so much against their true emotions. I was recommended many many times by customers and Mystery Shoppers on my professional, friendly, generous and smiley service. But no-one knew that at times I left my shift headed for the bridge. My story is in the below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California. 

There’s a reason why CEO Clive Schlee “retired” with such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co and the general Pret staff scores, as staff dare to speak out anonymous more than on the often rigged annual Pret questionnaires.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

A collection of writings on Emotional Labour with links to articles:
The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 18: An Imaginary Interview with Pret

 

Day 18 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Pixabay_interview-2071228__340

 

LNG: Thank you for your time and agreeing to do an imaginary but honest and transparent interview, this has been a long time in the making and I am grateful you finally agree to give us an unprecedented look into your business, especially staff treatment, and what makes you stand out on the high street.

PAM: Oh, no problem at all. Sorry it took so long to agree to an imaginary yet open and honest interview, but we’ve been really busy with our success as you know.

LNG: Yes, well done! May I call you Pret?

PAM: Sure, we love to be on first name basis here. We are family.

LNG: Thank you, you can call me what your CEO calls me.

PAM: Great! Okay Late Night Girl, what do you want to know about our company?

LNG: My first question….

PAM: (interrupts) Oh, would you like a coffee? On the house? The first hit is always free! 😉

LNG: No, thank you, I got my own! 🙂

 

Coffee paper cups

 

 

LNG: So, my first question is, what is the secret ingredient to your success?

PAM: Well, if we stay on the first name we have a secret spelling system here, we love to work with acronyms to really emphasize that we mean business when it comes to motivating our staff. Pret is French for “ready”. So, Pret A Manger means “ready to eat”. Fast food, from already cooked and processed products that arrive daily and are then assembled in the kitchens on the premises. But it is not just food ready to eat, we want our staff to always be “ready to work” come rain come shine, in good days and in bad days, till FS do us part.

L: What’s FS?

P: That’s another meaning, “FS” is the Firing Squad, but officially they are called “HR”, meaning Human Resources, of course. Our HR department have a really great slogan to sell their mission as, “Doing the right thing naturally”, and people buy into this slogan without questioning it, as PC is too common. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? HR don’t do the dismissing themselves, no, they like others to execute this nitty-gritty muddy business. They…

L: (interrupts) What’s PC now?

P: Oh, common’?!

L: Ah, yeah, right. Sorry.

P: Tztz, you didn’t do your homework when preparing for this interview?! You don’t know our 6 P’s?!

L: No, no, yes, uhm, I know them all! (nods, while getting a first glimpse into the intimidation tactics) It’s just a lot to remember what you give your staff to memorize.

P: Yes, that is how brainwashing works, repeated bombardment of silly word games.

L: Sure.

P: So, where were we?

L: With HR not doing the dirty work.

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

P: Ah yeah, so they fire indirectly using their operational side of the business, managers who are tasked to hold hearings that are “fundamentally flawed” as one Tribunal Judge called it, they are unfair and only impartial if we need to cover ourselves.

L: Ah! So, it’s a lot to do with fear management?

P: You got it.

 

L: And how does the fear management work exactly? Talk me through a typical day in a Pret shop.

P: No problem. First of all, we don’t like to be known as a sandwich “factory”, even though we are hundreds of little sandwich factories. So, we put intensive incentives in place, pay a little bit more here, give a little more holidays there, put on elaborate parties, let the kitchens play loud and fast music to speed up their work pace and avoid them talking too much with each other wasting our precious time, no matter if they get a head ache or a tinnitus etc. etc.

In reality we have no choice but give a little here and there as the job is way too harsh, stressful and non-rewarding. So we apply psychology where we call our sandwich makers “chefs”, let them go through patronizing “graduation” so they assume they achieved something and won’t leave as easily.

 

L: Ah, clever!

P: Yes, it’s all psychology. We have slogans on our packaging saying “Lovingly made in this kitchen today”, we’re having a laugh with our staff because in this high-paced and stressful environment making something “lovingly” would only be to resign!

But our real main ingredient and the real spelling behind our acronym as already hinted early on is, Pret really is a four letter F-word spelled F E A R. It means Fire Early At Request or with the nickname of “Fret” to make it more appealing. Fear management is the main motivator for our lovely and hard working people, but we facade this in the perfect packaging of “Good Jobs for Good People”. We have a lot of good people, but after a while they get so burned out, feel devalued and dehumanized that they are not “good” anymore, and there are plenty of young people lining up for the job. We give out disciplinaries like napkins, we make sure that our staff always worry about their job security, and we don’t tolerate people being vulnerable (takes a sip from the organic coffee).

L: What do you mean by “vulnerable”?

P: Well, simply inconvenient occasions like bereavement or even mental illness of our staff. We feel that especially bereavement is “imposed” on us. That’s not nice.

L: (looking confused) So, it would be best to not be vulnerable, as staff wouldn’t be safe in their jobs?

P: That’s right.

 

L: So, if staff are bereaved, or suffer from a mental illness or disability that might affect their day-to-day work, and even if they work still really good while in bereavement, there is no policy in place to protect them from potentially being bullied by superiors?

P: Yes, something like that. We have a large HR department, larger than the IT or even food team. But it isn’t large enough yet, as one of our former employees has exhausted our HR department after being bullied during bereavement and being held low in shops. So we want to expand our HR staff to not let this happen again.

L: Wow! Must have been hard work. But at least you learned from this and won’t let the bullying happen again. That’s great.

P: No, we won’t let it happen again that anyone approaches HR with their concern about bereavement and bullying like this anymore, even though we advised that person (whom the CEO called his “late night girl”) to raise grievances, as we didn’t want to interfere with how the managers were mistreating her. As we don’t have an anti-bullying policy in place to protect the bereaved, we aim to divert to the grievance procedure as we don’t want to admit that we have a huge problem. A grievance procedure often deters the employee to raise the issue formally, as this is quite stressful to have to come up with all the evidence, not to mention becoming a target after speaking up.

For other issues like sexual orientation, pregnant women, physical disabilities, religious beliefs, equal opportunities etc. we have a strong and clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination, because there are laws in place and we would get into trouble if we’d let those groups be bullied. Sometimes we even use any of the above groups in discrimination to get rid of other inconvenient employees, the laws for the protection of the above groups really come in handy here, even if we have to tweak our reason for dismissal a little.

And our luck is that there are no laws to protect the bereaved, we can openly and even in writing express that this is “imposed” on us without any problems. We just don’t really want to bother with grief and mental issues, even while we know that we all will die, and 1 in 4 of us will at one point or another suffer from a mental health condition. Death and illness can happen to any person at any time for any reason. But we don’t want to think about it and want to just concentrate on the material world with all the money that can be made. If you work for us, your mind needs to be of steel and you better have “Metal” Health.

L: Just like a machine or a robot?

P: Exactly!

L: I see. Hm…

P: You’re catching on fast, I like that.

L: Oh, thank you, I feel honoured! *blushing*

 

flick2

 

P: So, to finish the thought, we pride ourselves in our HR department. They are super busy with all the grievances raised and disciplinaries issued, and of course the firing squad, ready to fire anytime for any and no reason (checking the phone as a text message comes in).

L: Sounds quite efficient. I’m impressed.

P: Thank you. Yes, could we speed this up a little? I have to attend to some business.

L: Sure, just finally I’d like to throw some questions out that you cannot skip, but have to answer honestly.

P: Uuuh, I’m intrigued, fire away!

 

L: Who was the first one you ever kissed?

P: Oh, I’ll never forget my first kiss! It was McDonald’s. We even got married so I can get a green card to the U.S. But we are divorced now, as I gotten my green card and dual citizenship now and won’t need McD anymore. But we are still friends.

L: Any kids?

P: Naa, we were always married more to our jobs, and our different tastes in food finally split us up! Career is more important, and as soon as I had my foot in the door to the U.S. our divorce was imminent.

L: It was a “marriage of convenience” then?

P: You got it!

L: I see. Okay, while on the subject of super mergers, what super powers would you like to have?

P: To fire all the shop staff in one go and exchange them with perfect smiley robots that are so real looking to customers unlike the current prototypes, fooling them, and so increase our profits even more. That way we won’t have to deal with staff not being as productive when they go through personal issues like bereavement or illness. We also won’t have to deal with any human being thinking for themselves. But mostly that way we can truly “man” all the tills at all times and have enough staff, almost more than customers. We could even place a human looking robot with each and every customer, raising sales going through the roof. We would also scrap the Misery Shopper, as we won’t need them anymore since we have perfect robots. Can you imagine the amount this would slice off our labour costs and bring out the maximum? (sigh, what a dream!) But it also means that we would need to rethink the HR department, maybe turning them into mechanics fixing the robots when they break. (ponder ponder)

 

L: Sorry, what did you say, the what? The “Misery” Shopper?? What’s that?

P: Did I say that??

L: Uhm, that’s what I heard.

P: Sorry, I meant the Mystery Shopper *smile*

L: Maybe I just misheard as I had a miserable coffee this morning! The competition hey. Should have gone to Pret instead!

P: Yes, that’s it, it’s all your fault! You misheard, it was your mistake, not mine! It’s one of our important Pret attributes, always blame downwards, never take responsibility. As long as we can smile, we’re fine!

robot-916284__340

 

L: Okay back to my questions. What time period would you like to visit, past, present or future?

P: The future, always the future as the present is a blur and the past is done with and not worth keeping fond memories of. We move on quickly, whoever can’t keep up with the pace will be left behind.

L: No regrets then, huh?

P: Hello? We are Pret we don’t regret!

L: I see. Who would you like to collaborate with in business?

P: Anyone and No one. Anyone who could pour more money into us, so that we can squeeze even more out of our workers to repay the investors. We don’t like to share the spoils except only with our HQ people and high up leaders. But if we do have a moment of generosity with our shops, it is mainly to try and keep them before they leave or our aim to win new ones (whispers: Brexit’s advancing fast now).

 

L: What is your greatest accomplishment?

P: Okay, that’s another tough one, as we have so many. But I would say… (looking up at the ceiling, tapping with the fingers on the coffee cup) I’d say it really is our HR department with that ever impressive slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally”.

L: What do you value so much that you would put your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak?

P: Again, investing in our HR department, making them bigger, even though they are already bigger than any of the other departments. We’d like them to give more disciplinaries, neglecting the bereaved and mentally ill, and fire faster. Any support that is in place, most are just Pret-ense for our own fear of the Tribunal, as we like to live up to our name.

L: Which was what again?

P: F E A R.

L: Ah yeah, that’s right.

 

L: What was the moment when you felt you’ve made it?

P: When our staff bought into fear management and unnecessary pressure.

 

robot-3486900__340

 

L: What was the scariest encounter you’ve ever had?

P: Tribunal Judges at first, but when we lose our case in court, we just pay the peanuts the Judges order us to pay in compensation and then go back to business as usual. Our most scariest encounter will always be the customers and public pressure, not to mention the Unions!

L: And the greatest?

P: All our hard working people in the shops, especially those with integrity and longevity during hard times. We really feel intimidated by them, as they show real passion which we only Pret-end to have for them. But don’t tell them, they need to think that they are not valued and their work is never good enough, so they work harder until they burn out and are exchanged with “fresh blood”. It’s like one of our main acronyms: FIFO, First In First Out or our internal acronym BPOFBI: Black Pudding Out Fresh Blood In. If they find out our tactics, it would also be the most embarrassing encounter, but that’s between us.

L: Of course! You do love your acronyms and slogans, don’t you?

P: (Smiling) It’s what makes Pret PRet!

L: Yes, Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR.

P: That’s right, we are especially successful in this by employing former homeless people to confirm this when the pressure on us gets high to explain why we treat our staff so poorly. The CEO invites a group once a year to his private Austrian property, and that way we win them for our reputation to speak up for us should we reap criticism from the public regarding staff treatment. We also aim to not integrate them too much into regular Pret shops, but are working on having shops run entirely by former homeless people, as they won’t cope in the long-run in a regular mainstream Pret shop, with all the bullying and high stress environment. It wouldn’t look good on our PR.

 

L: Makes sense. To continue with the questions, which food item are you currently working on to be the best selling of all time, not only in Pret but in the world.

P: Well, now you want to know some secrets here, what food item our food team is working on. I can’t let you in on that one, even though I agreed to do an open and honest interview. But I will say this much: it has to do with the Hearts of our staff.

L: Interesting! Similar to dishes like Liver Mousse or Kidney Pâté, but only with Hearts? Like Hearts on a Platter? Are some Minds part of the new stew as well? Oooh, I can’t wait for the new product launch!!

P: (motions with a gesture of sealed lips)

L: What, if any, is your hidden talent?

P: Doing the wrong thing naturally.

 

People-who-are-dishonest-are-perceived-as-incompetent-

 

L: On a personal level, which instrument would you like to play?

P: Hearts and Minds.

L: You can only choose one!

P: That’s not fair! I can’t choose! *biting on the coffee lid*

L: Well, strive for perfection here, a little extra mile will go a long way.

P: Okay Minds, as Hearts are often broken already and useless therefor. The Mind still needs tuning and somewhat breaking like a wild horse that is thinking on its feet too much. We are not in the horse whispering business, we break them!

 

L: Starbucks or Caffee Nero?

P: Pret!

L: Prosciutto or Posh Cheddar?

P: Well, since we go towards more Vegan, it would be Hearts. Organic Hearts of course!

L: Of course!

L: Mystery Shopper visits or Senior Management visits.

P: (regaining posture after the Heart vs Mind decision) Senior Management visits of course, we love to see the nervousness and fear on the faces of our managers and teams when we walk into shops.

L: Makes sense, that F E A R thing again, I really get to know you now and how consistent you are, very reliable.

P: (lifting the head with pride) Thank you. Now I am almost blushing.

L: Comedy or Drama?

P: Since we have too much Drama already, I’d choose Comedy, although they both go very close together in our company.

 

stressed-woman-3309731__340

 

L: Which micromanaging rule are you most proud of and why?

P: Letting our staff sign countless training rules without having the time to really train. We just like to cover our backs.

L: Which other countries would you like to conquer for Pret?

P: The whole world of course, even jungles where the monkeys live.

 

L: While on the subject of monkeys, if you were an animal, what would you be?

P: A Pret-Bull.

L: Why?

P: We like to look intimidating to our staff, but they don’t know that barking dogs don’t bite. We only bite together in groups and when we smell fear, which brings us back to fear management.

L: All well thought out then.

P: Yes. Are you sure you don’t want that coffee? It’s free!

L: No, thank you.

 

L: Final question, what was the best advise you’ve ever received?

P: Hire fast and fire even faster. Made today, gone today.

L: Thank you.

P: Well, that was fun!

L: Yeah, wasn’t that bad, was it? It must feel good to be honest.

P: Absolutely, never thought it would feel so relieving. I’ve learned a lot about myself today. Well, unfortunately, since it is lunch time I have to get back to the pub with my OPs managers for a few pints while our good and hard working people make it happen for us.

L: Of course, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. And thank you for this imaginary but honest and open interview.

P: Any time! And let me know whenever you want that free coffee 😉

L: Thank you. But no thank you. I am on my way to interview Sainsbury’s, one of the big ones to have signed up for the Disability Confident employer scheme, I want to avoid too many toilet breaks during this important interview.

P: Disability what?

 

L: Never mind, you wouldn’t be interested in that.

P: I guess you’re right. We need to keep that fear thing going.

L: That’s what I meant. Thanks again. See you again soon. *not*

P: Yes, oh while you are with them, could you ask them if they would be keen to have a Pret shop inside their supermarkets, like Costa does with Tesco with those rather unhygienic automates? That way at least we could Pret-end again to be part of this Disability thing you talk about without really being part of it of course. 😉

L: I see what I can do… *not*

 

Late Night Girl2

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 17: The Pret A Manger Brainwash

 

Day 17 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Pret’s Values and Behaviours are not a set of rules staff have to follow, but a little booklet of brainwash the staff are subjected to. Pret has changed the wording in 2015. Where it now says:
“Needs Work” — “Good” — “Great”

Pret loosened up from the previous wording:
“Don’t want to see” — “Want to see” — “Pret Perfect”

I was reminded to post these Pret “values and behaviours” from an article by Timothy Noah on the emotional labour, the enforced happiness in Pret. Noah contacted Pret, but did not get any response and mentioned Pret’s values and behaviours that Pret had posted on their website, but after Noah’s article deleted from the site.

I was given this little booklet by David Carter, then Head of HR, when I contacted Clive Schlee, then CEO of Pret after my almost year long ordeal with management. I share my full story on this at the bottom audio player interview. David Carter, whose HR department ignored my plea for help and even were involved in my turmoil, was tasked to meet with me a few times as grievances were raised. In hindsight I understand that Carter met with me to brainwash me away from going to court. He later made 3 settlement offers for me to resign and be silent about what I went through. The fourth offer came via the court process when I raised a Tribunal claim, but withdrew as my dad died at the time and I had no lawyer.

I was extremely traumatized at the time with the loss of my brother and the bullying from Pret management under the watchful eye of HR. So, Carter’s aim was to gaslight me, and he succeeded of course, because I was so out of my mind and in trauma, I could not see left from right. But one thing he said puzzled me at first. After our first meeting he asked me at the end to tell him on a scale of 1 – 10 how meeting with him is for me. Later I realized he seemed to needed his ego strokes, as I wasn’t impressed to be meeting a “big cheese” from head office. My concern was my immediate line managers, Mr. Carter in case you’re reading this! My concern was not to stroke his ego or whatever else he wanted scratching!

He “promised” me to bring this little booklet for our next catch-up meeting. And at the second meeting he reminded me of his promise to bring this little booklet to show me something. Again, by then I knew what bullshit this is he’s doing. A “promise” woohoooo, to show me something, oooohhhh, aaaaahhh! What a big deal.

I did realize fast as well after he showed me a sentence in the booklet that they updated because of my situation. And I was supposed to go wooooohhhhoooo, aaaahhhh… that after he showed this to me. Pret tried to bullshit me that they are putting “policy” in place for bereaved staff. In reality this booklet is just a set of suggestions and brainwash that puts the ball back into the court of the shop management.

Shop management were ALL, except for one, overwhelmed with my situation. Not only did managers not have the tools and guidance from Pret to deal with bereaved employees, upper management under the watchful eye of HR bullied me, using a host of other people, managers, colleagues, even supposed customer complaints in emails about my service.

I found a description on Twitter of what EXACTLY was happening to me at the time, I just didn’t realize while in grief and trauma. But this is word for word what I went through in Pret;

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell

 

My situation went all the way to the top and infiltrated Head Office. Pret tried everything to get rid of me, as bereaved employees are an inconvenience for Pret, even long-term staff. I highlight later which sentence David Carter showed me, that was updated because of my situation. Yet, in reality this change was just another sentence of suggestion, and one that was supposed to show how caring Pret is. But again, no change in company policy on how to manage bereavement in the workplace.

I sent Pret management and HR several times a link to the ACAS guide of Bereavement at Work. Everytime they ignored the guide. In fact one HR People Business Partner even admitted that Pret could improve in supporting bereaved employees. I have his email because I applied for my file after the bullying.

The HR note taker wrote to a People Business Partner about my complaints when I was bullied by managers. 1. Pret never wanted to admit that I was bullied, and they worked all together to prevent this from being admitted. 2. the People Business Partner admitted that Pret can improve on this etc. A few months later this PBP was the note taker of yet another grievance appeal hearing that I raised against his colleague, another PBP who was in the background supporting the bully managers against me. I showed him this email of what he wrote, and he then said, “Well, in hindsight he might have been wrong.”

The email of the note taker in yellow and the response of the PBP in red:

 

No support from Pret

 

Yet, nothing changed. Again, for new readers, my story on how Pret not only NOT improved, but continued to bully me, including now former CEO Clive Schlee patronizing me, is in the interview at the bottom audio player.

A review I stumbled across from a Pret worker in New York who got penalized for going to a funeral:

Personal Issues1

Link

And a recent review of no support when having personal issues:

Personal Issues2

Link

Here are the Pret Values and Brainwash … uhm Behaviours in their typical psychology and wordplay:

img291

The brainwash in wordplay here is simple: Pret claims to give shops a “hand”, while in reality these suggestions are just something people can follow if they want to kiss butt to be promoted. Pret values, in fact are spread all over my blog, on Glassdoor and Indeed etc. (Slideshow at the bottom).

 

img292

 

The above is more for regular Team Members and all staff. The “Strives for perfection” part was always a stomach turner! But it is a very typical Pret thing. Pret expects staff to be perfect while themselves having a laugh.

 

Las Vegas

Link

And only a few recent Manager and Head Office reviews that are not only heart-breaking, but show Pret Senior Managers’ true faces:

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

Link

2019-11-10 GM Horrible

Link

Head Office Reviews

HQ Bullies

Link

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

Those reviews are only a hint of the many on the sites and the ones I collected. Staff spill the beans in anonymity on how reality is behind the “happy” facade. There’s a reason why Pret and its “leadership” have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co.

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

 

img293

This part is now moving into leadership roles.

 

img296

 

This section is now for Leaders and Managers. And this is the part that David Carter “promised” to show me. On the “Great” column, the 6th point. The part he showed me: “Tackles people issues early and sensitively, showing great compassion.”

 

Mittelfinger

This is an x-ray of my left middle-finger after an injury. This is for the blank page.

The tackling early and sensitively, showing great compassion Pret shows AGAIN in the end when they tasked a Development Manager, who supposedly had a brother as well who died alone in his apartment and wasn’t discovered for days. I share this in my interview at the bottom audio player and wrote about it here:

Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee

and

Lila Tighilt Warren and “her brother” Zain

 

Some reviews on the brainwash in Pret:

 

2013-07-30 Brainwashed Sandwich Making - RVW2875416

Link

2015 People Cry

Link

2015-12-04 TM - Brain Wash Brainwash - RVW8825267 marked

Link

Brainwash

Link

 

Brainwashed scared

Link

etc. etc. etc. … more on this Slideshow:

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

 

How Pret took over the British High Street – Response

 

Every journo wants a shot at Pret, but I still want to take this article apart. Why, because it is a piece that came by invitation into HQ. Today a new article was published, and as usual, I want to comment on it with a behind the scenes perspective. I’m sure the author has had a look at my blog, as I am spread on Twitter and other social media, hard to miss. But also especially because they cover issues like the Mystery Shopper which I write extensively on. But political correctness and a journalist career keeps most reporters just writing sweet pieces about Pret. There is nothing critical here, except copy and paste sentences on critical voices.

I have asked undercover journos like James Bloodworth and others to send someone into Pret undercover, not only into shops, but HQ. Amy Sharpe went already into a shop, but only for a week in the evening. The media for most part is in Pret’s pocket and just reports about Pret’s success, not what’s going on behind the facade. We just love success, no matter who’s paying the price.

HQ Bullies

Link

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

But the main issue I have with articles like this is that journalists stubbornly refuse to listen to front-line staff themselves! Even when staff suicides are dropped on their lap, they don’t want to know about it.

The photo at the header is from a Facebook group: “I hate Pret” facebook.com/preth8ers

And another former Pret staff member who got fired for starting a Union: twitter.com/__PAMSU__

 


 

The article: How Pret Took Over the British High Street by Phoebe Hurst for VICE.

Quotes from the article are in bold:

»Much of Pret’s success is down to its promise of “freshly prepared food” – an alternative to rival chains that ship their sandwiches in from faceless catering suppliers.«

Yes, Pret’s workers have a face, a smiley face, and behind that smile is a typical bullying company that increased with private equity, but existed already before. I explain more below, but I know that the media knows my blog already and that I write extensively on the “emotional labour” forced on staff, so this is for new readers who are not from the media.

»Exactly how wholesome Pret’s menu items are is up for debate. In 2018, the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the chain could not advertise its sandwiches as “natural”, due to the presence of E-numbers, while critics point out that many of its products also contain artificial additives and preservatives to improve shelf life.«

Unfortunately again most journalists fail to mention the current class-action suit in New York on the “natural” claim that Pret is trying to get thrown out. I write about this extensively in: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

»Still, the freshly made tagline remains an incredibly effective marketing tool. “I think they have a very specific customer value proposition, which is ‘fresh on the day’,” says John Colley, a professor of practice at Warwick Business School. “There’s not so many others who actually have that, whereby sandwiches are made on the day, pastries are produced on the day.”«

Again, homework hasn’t been done well here. I quote directly from the “Regulation 28: Report to prevent furutre deaths” of the Natasha Ednan-Laperouse Inquest. Quote from Page 2, Point 1 (I added the bold):

»Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulation«

Yes. I worked in Pret kitchens and was a Team Leader in shops. I checked the delivery from factories many times of items that came in to be “assembled”. Everything is ready cooked apart from the raw eggs that come sealed in plastic pouches and are heated in water baths for the “poached” egg and bean pots.

Pret’s products are as fresh as when you go to the supermarket, buy some ham, cheese and a loaf of bread. Then you go home, put the items in your fridge, and make a sandwich the next day or the day after next. It’s as “fresh” as that. The ham and cheese are already God knows how many days or weeks old and are stored in fridges for days after they are taken in from factories. 

And the croissants/pastry come in from factories FROZEN and are days/weeks old with a year expiry date. From the frozen state they are then “freshley” baked. But they are NOT frehsly “produced” pastries.

That’s why the title of the Guardian article that journalist Felicity Lawrence uses and linked here is so fitting: The brilliant Pret a Manger marketing con we want to fall for

One of many Pret staff reviews on this:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Food not fresh stop being evil RVW27190460

Link

People still want to fall for it. No matter how many point out, including staff, that the food is not fresh and no matter how many customers die.

»I’m pre-warned about exactly how small the space is before I visit, but its size still surprises me: a slim room with an island table and fridges along one wall, then a squat back kitchen with containers of ingredients packed tightly on every shelf. “It’s set up like a shop kitchen,” Dolan explains. “Every shop has its benches, ovens, microwaves and toasting machines, and then we have a walk-in fridge and freezer that everything is kept in. It all happens in here.”«

Yes, it’s great that Pret let’s the test kitchen be small, so they find ways to know how to work. Yet, instead of doing this, Pret should ENLARGE the kitchens for several reasons. Enlarged customer area is to increase profit, while staff are squeezed like sardines having to work in high stress, without daylight and in cramped spaces. This not only leads to staff’s mental and physical health issues, but it continues dangerous mislabelling, mixing up ingredients, cross-contamination etc. endangering customers’ lives.

I write about this in: Vegans Eat Meat at Pret and put some photos of cramped work spaces.

»Dolan, along with five “innovation managers”, develops menu items for Pret shops in the UK, as well as its overseas outposts. Every one of these products – from sandwiches to vegetable crisps to chia puddings – is divided into five categories.
“One is ‘classic’, so things like the tuna baguette or Posh Cheddar or Chef’s Italian,” Dolan explains. “Then we have ‘health’, so not necessarily super-healthy, but perceived health – things like juices and breakfast pots. Then ‘warmth’ – so all-around comfort, like soups – and then ‘quirky’ is one of our other things.”«

Yep, those “perceived” health! That’s why people should check the sugar levels on all the juices and smoothies, including the green juices.

»Sandwiches, salads and wraps are made fresh each day in Pret shops, so the recipes Dolan and her team come up with must be achievable within a small kitchen space, with a method and ingredients list short enough to fit on a recipe card. “You need to get the guys in shops to be making it consistently every time,” Dolan explains.«

No, it’s not so much about consistency as it is about the pace. Kitchen staff have a certain amount of minutes to assemble a certain amount of products, shop staff have 1 minute to serve a customer and serve a coffee. If they “consistently” fail to be fast, they are threatened with their job security. Also, if the products are not brought out fast and the shelves filled at certain times, the WHOLE shop team risk losing Mystery Shopper bonus if items are missing. This Pret does to show customers that their shelves are always filled and the tills ringing!

»There are Prets everywhere in London. This ubiquity must have something to do with the company’s success over the last decade. Accessibility is obviously one thing, but equally: if customers are exposed to your branding multiple times, they are more likely to buy from you – it’s a classic business strategy. Either that, or they feel mentally bludgeoned by the endless maroon stars and stop in for a latte out of sheer exhaustion.«

Again, would have wished for some more homework here. Obviously, being confronted with Pret on every corner lures people in, making the choice easy and comfortable. What most journalists miss again is the private equity reality that The Times journo Sathnam Sanghera quoted a veteran private equity investor on in “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it” quote:

“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”

I started at Pret in 2008 when private equity firm Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set a high target to open at least 15 shops per year. And already in 2009 and certainly 2010 I saw Prets pop up everywhere. When JAB Holdings purchased Pret 10 years later, now former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone.

»This has allowed the business to grow in spite of the widespread downturn of the high street that claimed fellow food chains like Jamie’s Italian and Carluccio’s.«

Hm, to compare Jamie’s 22 restaurants where they COOK in pots and pans quality food to a 500+ sandwich chain, with low-wage sandwich makers, that Pret psychologically calls “chefs” isn’t the best example.

»Pret CEO Pano Christou boils the company’s success down to two things. “Two important aspects of Pret have been critical to growing our business in the past decade: our business model and launch of Veggie Pret,” he tells me.«

Yes, here’s the business model: exploitation of low-wage employees. And there is a reason why 1. Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and 2. why Clive Schlee then let Pano Christou already take over on Glassdoor in July 2019, even though Schlee’s retirement was set for September 2019.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor scores

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

»Alongside its dependable food offerings and the sheer number of outlets, Pret is notorious for its cheery – and very human – customer service. Staff are trained to create the “Pret Buzz”: smiling as they call out coffee orders, making smalltalk with regulars and giving freebies to customers they like the look of. Former CEO Clive Schlee said the first thing he looked for in shops was “whether staff are touching each other. Are they smiling, reacting to each other, happy, engaged?”«

Yes, of course, Pret fails to mention that the “cheery” human customer service is driven by fear management and cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. If staff are not smiley enough they lose bonus and are fear managed, even threatened to lose their job.

I write about this emotional labour and collect articles by journalists, researchers and service workers: The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I particularly can highly recommend two articles apart from my own first hand experience in Pret: Timothy Noah’s “Enforced Happiness in Pretand Sophie McBain’sHow Emotional Labour Harms us all”. Both also linked on the above site with other really good articles on the subject of emotional labour.

I made a brief slide show of only a few of the questions Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on. There are more questions like how clean the shop was, how many product lines were on the shelves etc. I concentrated mainly on the smiley part and used comments from real Mystery Shopper reports.

 

»Pret became the nation’s favourite sandwich shop not for its food or customer service, but its dependability. It is easier to go to Pret than not to go to Pret. In this turbulent decade of political uncertainty and an escalating climate crisis, it’s nice to have something as knowable as a place where the staff smile at you, and you can always get a good egg mayo sandwich.«

Yes, where it’s easier to go to Pret as it is on every corner. And where staff always smile because they want to earn the extra £200 reward, or if they lose bonus don’t want to get fear managed.

For any journo who cares, just go undercover for more than a week in the mornings into kitchens and shops, and even Head Office and care to take a closer look.

I also continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and an extensive article with staff reviews about the systemic bullying culture in Pret that a customer witnessed: Caught in the Act at Pret

 


 

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 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 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: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

 

Day 16: Pret A Manger Soup Rota

 

Day 16 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

The soup rota for the week goes as follows:

Monday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without chicken
Tuesday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without rice
Wednesday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without broccoli
Thursday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without a label
Friday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with a veggie label
Saturday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with a flat wooden spoon
Sunday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with vegan turkey
Any other day – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without chicken, broccoli and rice. Water-detox soup!

 

2018-12-10 Chick BrocRice Soup Nooooo

Link

 

Sure, no problem:

 

2018-10-17 Chick BrocRice Soup NEVER any chicken

17. Oct. 2018

 

2019-05-12 Chick BrocRice Soup

12. May 2019

 

2019-05-01 Chick BrocRice Soup

01. May 2019

 

2019-04-24 Chick BrocRice Soup

24. April 2019

 

2019-04-19 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. March 2019

 

I love this “etc” soup 😀

2019-04-13 Chick BrocRice etc Soup

13. March 2019

 

2019-04-11 Chick BrocRice Soup

11. March 2019

 

2019-04-10 Chick BrocRice Soup2

10. March 2019

 

2019-04-07 Chick BrocRice Soup

07. March 2019

 

2019-04-05 Chick BrocRice Soup

05. March 2019

 

2019-02-27 Chick BrocRice Soup

27. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-23-chick-brocrice-soup-1.jpg

23. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-20 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-08 Chick BrocRice Soup

08. Feb. 2019<