Pret A Manger Customer Voices, Boycotts, Outrage

… just within the last 6 months alone!

Via YouTube.

Pret having abandoned burnt-out staff and loyal customers to increase profit:

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Boycott in support of minimum-wage staff:

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Recent new staff reviews on Pret having gone downhill and Loose Women Presenter Nadia Sawahla’s stern words to Pret:

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Customer complaints on hardly ever getting the expensive iced drinks that are advertised on the subscription since the sub started last year:

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Customers unable to cancel the subscription, and if they managed to cancel including receiving a cancellation email, Pret continues to withdraw money:

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To be continued unfortunately!

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger – “Corporate Mafia Company”

I start my post with the following concern:

As if Pret A Manger need more customers to die and get injured.

5 years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died:

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Link

I explain on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3 why Pret was and continues to NOT care. Please pay attention to a particular Barbican Centre seminar I mention.

From the bottome up: Part 01, Part 02, Allergy Trial 03

More customers and the public have and still are realizing now how bad Pret really are. I refer to Pret as plural, not singular (Pret are vs Pret is), because there is a core group of people behind this company who detached themselves from the suffering of shops and workers. And this detachment affects customers.

A recent Facebook comment in July 2022 to one of Pret’s posts says it all:

Link

For people and audio reading programs who can’t read screenshots, a person commented to Pret, quote: »So glad you haven’t managed to pollute the Middle East with your corporate mafia company.« End of quote.

Pret is also increasingly getting bad press since more journalists seem to wake up now instead of doing free advertising for Pret with all the “slimey” articles. I talk about it on my podcast episode: Pret CEO Pano Christou’s 2021 pay-rise & millions in bonus after cutting staff pay.

When I first started writing publicly about Pret in May 2018, even before the two customer deaths became public later that year, I discovered Glassdoor and Indeed review websites that I didn’t even know about while working in Pret. I couldn’t believe my eyes in how blunt and angry some reviewers wrote about Pret because I experienced the same, if not worse.

I became obsessed and sieved through Glassdoor, Indeed and the Internet in general, on a search for others who know Pret as a toxic company that fooled the public for decades with a caring and ethical facade, while the total opposite is the case.

My all-time favourite former customer tweet that needs no further explanation:

Link to @betty_de_brazil’s tweet where she responded to customers’ call to boycott Pret after Pret made temporary pay cuts permanent.

In 2018 there was hardly any critique from customers. But I became obsessed with staff reviews and wrote a DAILY “Quote of the Day” with a chosen review I found. I expanded on the reviews, explaining what the reviewer means. I now stopped since 2019, and rarely check reviews anymore as I’ve made my point now!

But a few reviews I found from recently which I want to put here, as work conditions have worsened to an unbelievable level of carelessness by Pret and current CEO Pano Christou. Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under bogus excuses, the second time during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend knowing that the public would be distracted and banks closed on bank holiday Monday.

One staff on Instagram in early June 2022 after Pret delayed paying them announced to sabotage Pret by reducing food and service quality.

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The result of this AND of hugely understaffed and stressed shops becomes more and more visible. This mouldy sandwich was posted just two days ago:

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And many more complaints.

Food quality has decreased a great deal already during the pandemic with customers flocking to social media posting photos of mouldy sandwiches, even rat dropping on a baguette. Reports on food poisoning has also increased. The latest even from today 01. August 2022. I posted more photos on Pret food is not fresh. Check the dates of the posts.

Not only are shop managers pressured to cut labour, sending staff home when there’s a hint of a quiet time, leaving whoever is left to work in shops completely overstretched and exhausted. In the meantime CEO Pano Christou cut their pay so he and shareholders can get a raise and millions in bonus. So, staff morale is low. Workers cut corners to try and resist the slavery-type bullying to work harder and faster for less. Working overtime without pay has also been a big thing in Pret even before Covid. Wage theft is also huge in Pret from own experience and also from two class action lawsuits Pret settled in New York, repaying 4000 workers. I write about this in Wage Theft in Pret. But in the UK the legal system is different and often in favour of companies rather than poor workers.

I will post some recent review at the bottom of this page and want to just as briefly as possible (yeah right!) explain Pret’s mentality.

From my interactions with current CEO Pano Christou and what I read in his emails to shops when he was UK Managing Director under then CEO Clive Schlee, I perceived Pano NOT as a leader. Pano came from McDonald’s management, and for a while until I kept pointing it out on social media, has always said to the press that he started on the shop floor. This of course gives the impression to the public that he started at the bottom. But far from it! So, I keep calling out Pret’s bullsh!t.

While he started in shops alright, he actually started in position number 4 as an assistant manager (AM) with higher pay, more bonus, more perks, paid travel to fancy places with other management, quarter briefs with galas, free fancy food and booze etc. etc. One of the perks he got that all staff who move into management get, even assistant manager roles, is £500 from Pret to go shopping for business attire which they can keep. And then assistant managers and shop general managers (GMs) get £50 EVERY month for the dry cleaners. This may have changed since the pandemic, but I’m talking about the “rich” years in Pret. I write extensively about these perks and the difference of assistant management to team members in Pano Christou’s Rags to Riches Story.

Since I kept pointing this out, he now at least says that he started as an AM.

Pano was for years Clive Schlee’s shadow. All I saw of him in my 10 years in Pret was when he accompanied Clive to shops, silently standing next to or behind Clive. And the only correspondence I saw was when Pano kept writing weekly or monthly emails to shops in how much money Pret made, especially when Pret reached a new million pound mark. And he also wrote emails to shops to announce when a shop closed.

Those emails where the most ridiculous emails I’ve read from anyone in Pret’s leadership teams. Especially when I was bereaved and traumatized. I was a team leader and would sit in the office in the afternoon to do the ordering of stock or cash up tills when I saw an email from Pano come in starting with the words: »Dear shops … it is with great sadness that I have to announce …«

Reading just the first few words, panic overcame me and my heart stopped thinking, “who died?!” And then the sentence continued: »it is with great sadness that I have to announce that (such-and-such a) shop is closing down due to (whatever) reason …«

I had these mixed emotions of anger and complete ridiculous shock that he spoke about the closure of a shop as if someone died, and as if we low-wage overworked staff even cared! Of course part of my panic was also because I received the news of my brother’s death via an email! So, I was constantly on the edge about emails and bad news. But I didn’t give a toss if Pret made another million mark or closed a shop because we were treated like dirt and bullied. I didn’t care if shops closed or how much money Pret made. I had NOTHING from this except manager after manager and OPs managers cheating me out of hours, money and break promises.

On 01. July 2019 Pano Christou, who was then still the Chief Operations Officer, closed his Twitter account after I tweeted Clive Schlee’s retirement to the press, also pointing to Pano’s Twitter account. And Pano was the only Pret executive who blocked me. His former Twitter handle has been taken on by another Pano Christou from Canada a few months later.

The COO role by the way didn’t exist before and after as it was just a stepping stone for Pano to go from UK Managing Director (2018) to CEO (2019).

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Pano has his head in the sand with the current issues, despite increasing complaints on mouldy food, bad press, more staff speaking out etc. It’s like he feels invincible after Pret got away with so much, especially TWO customers having died and dozen plus injured.

Clive Schlee was more “attentive” to reputation issues. He bullsh!tted the public and staff as well, but he was more active in bullsh!tting everyone, while Pano put his head in the sand, “hides” on Linkedin and enjoys other business people kissing his butt all day long, telling him how awesome he is in Linkedin’s typical toxic positivity way. Pret also has a lot of favour and support by some journalists like Harry Wallop from the “independent” newspaper The Guardian, which I explain in above podcast episode I linked to.

Pano is used that Pret keep getting out of trouble, no matter how bad it gets. He is either delusional or really doesn’t care, but he certainly is not a leader.

Clive left with this legacy from staff:

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A customer on Twitter pointed out that Pano upon becoming CEO in September 2019 has work cut out for him. Pret then let Pano take over the Glassdoor CEO spot in July 2019 despite him becoming CEO in September 2019. Clive didn’t want any more poor scores I guess.

In August 2022 Pano continues the trend with staff:

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Staff review and also email me saying work conditions have become beyond bearable. I know how hard it is to work at Pret. It was already horrific in my time, long before the pandemic. But I can’t even imagine how it is now! And this is not to be excused with Brexit or Covid.

  • Skimming customers out of money in many ways like via the coffee subscription, apps, deals that Pret don’t honour under bogus “technical issues”;
    Placing donation devices very closely next to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidentally donate £5 to Pret’s “charity” (charity = tax breaks and brownie points with the public);
    Not serving complimentary items any more,
    Decreased product size
    etc. etc.
  • Under-staffing (has always been done, but is much, much worse now)
  • Resulting in longer queues and frustrated customers who let it out on the low-wage workers who are at breaking point while Pano Christou smiles to the bank
  • More work while still expecting the same and higher standards, and expecting high financial results
  • Ongoing bullying
  • Ongoing wage theft, delayed pay, cutting hours, not paying hours worked for
  • Leadership non-existent
  • HR don’t care (that’s a no-brainer after what I’ve been through)
  • Poor food and hygiene standards (mouldy food, pest issues, dirty shops etc.) due to lack of staff and
  • Low morale
  • It’s each to their own to survive
  • And so on …

I say it again, Pano Christou is NOT a leader. He is stuck in the old Pret way that has shown him that Pret get away with ANY- and EVERYTHING.

After what I survived in Pret with direct contact to the top leadership, Clive Schlee, HR, HQ personnel, Pret’s lies, cheats, theft etc. I FIRMLY believe Pret, as in the core group of Pret’s leadership team like Pano Christou, Andrea Wareham and David Carter from HR and a handful of others who worked there many years for high pay, they are a clique of overpaid executives who run Pret like an organization which to me does indeed resemble like a mafia organization that a person on Facebook pointed out to Pret.

It’s all about the few at the top getting the biggest cut of the cake while abandoning the “slaves” on the front-lines who make all this happen but break at the end of the day. And it shows a great deal of the arrogance of Pano and the executive team to KNOW about all the suffering and appalling food safety issues from social media posts and news articles, but continue to drain employees AND customers.

A really good tweet just from today that made my day knowing that more and more people are aware of how abusive Pret are:

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Some recent staff reviews I find noteworthy to mention here.

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Link to Indeed review.

Link to Glassdoor review.

This is review is worth quoting in full:

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Title: Company of hell

Pros
Company from hell where lying is the key to their marketing strategy.

Cons
Managers shout at us, cleanliness is non-existent, no recycling, expired food in the fridges, stress all the time.

Advice to Management
Shut down your modern slave factories where you rely on green washing to attract consumers! You are not a healthy company!«

End of quote. I underline every single word 150 million percent! And I cannot explain how many times I have literally cried when I was contacted by staff in despair telling me that Pret delayed pay again, or do cuts here and there, how broken down workers are who are still forced to pretend a happiness or not get mystery shopper bonus. And whatever else they write.

I have many regrets in life, have made many mistakes, but it is safe to say that is it hands down by miles my biggest regret having worked in this horrible company!

For more reviews, please just scroll through Glassdoor and Indeed yourself and also check my front home page.

To end this long blog post, I post again here what made my day when Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha had some stern words for Pret and called on her 500K+ Instagram followers to boycott Pret. I still tear up when I watch this as not many celebrities would speak out on behalf of low-wage workers.

Unfortunately her words fell on deaf ears with Pret. After this video keep playing to see how I chased itsu founder and Pret RE-founder Julian Metcalfe and Pret executives off Twitter. An anonymous person sent me the info that Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book after the person saw my YouTube slide with Metcalfe’s deleted tweets, which I screen grabbed before he deleted. Metcalfe kept retweeting my tweets, but someone from Pret must have warned him who I am, he then deleted his tweets and Twitter account, but not before I screenshot most of it.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Journalist Sarah Butler from The Guardian & My Blog

When I started writing publicly about Pret on my website and also Twitter, Facebook etc. Sarah Butler from the Guardian started following me on Twitter early on.

I’ve already emailed many journalists before I was on Twitter, but hardly anyone responded. When Sarah started following I was of course gobsmacked that a journalist seemed interested in my story with Pret. I sent her a DM, but she never replied. After a few weeks I “kicked” her off my following.

I had many journalists follow since, and of course in my drunken stupor kicked most off.

The only journalists that either replied or initiated contacting me and then investigated further were BBC journos Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell. Mike was very interested in telling my story and mentioning my blog, which he did in his report on Pret’s lack of iced drinks on the coffee subscription.

Vivienne also reported on a Pret issue, a leaked video that I was sent via DM of a zoom call with Pret CEO Pano Christou. I passed it on to Vivienne, she reported, but didn’t mention my blog. I understand that this is often due to the editor not wanting to mention.

After Mike reported on the coffee subscription, mentioning my blog, other major news outlets reported as well, but never mentioned my blog. A Times article even quoted from my blog, but without crediting back to me. The journalist probably didn’t anticipate me finding his article with my quote. Journalists blame their editor, and here with silly excuses:

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Link

Other journalists via emails confirmed that it’s not right to NOT credit the source when quoting. One theatre and arts reviewer even agreed publicly that they should have credited to my blog:

Link

And some other journalists who got inspiration from my blog, but never bothering to mention the source.

Yes, of course I have manic episodes when drunk, but with Sarah Butler this wasn’t the case initially. In fact Sarah would comment rather positive towards Pret, especially in 2018/19 when former Pret CEO Clive Schlee was still in Pret and on Twitter. Schlee also followed Butler on Twitter. It seems to me that people often follow someone to “influence” them. As Sarah states on her Twitter profile that she writes on “ethical” business, she must have been fooled like most of the public, including many journalists, that Pret is an ethical business.

This was Pret’s and Clive Schlee’s main marketing tool to fool the public. But now, the facade has gotten much more cracks and Sarah is taking a closer look. But again, no mention of my blog.

The only time she responded to me was when I publicly asked in frustration if the claim of the Guardian to be “independent” investigative was here in 2019. Please note, I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg:

Link

So, Sarah was introduced to Union president Ian Hodson, as she started interviewing him when staff issues became public after I either tagged her in or emailed her.

I could write on and on and on, but just to say that it is disheartening that journalists love to peek from my blog or social media, but hardly anyone likes to credit back to me. And no, I don’t solely put the blame on my drunken rants.

I will never forget that Mike Powell was willing to mention me. I DID mess it up and it’s the way it is. But I will always be grateful to Adam from the Adam Paradox podcast, Gergor Gall from the Scottish Left review (links at the very bottom here) and Mike Powell from the BBC for mentioning my blog.

I’m also grateful to Vivienne for investigating THE MOST on Pret issues and for her immense patience with me.

My drunken outbursts are not right and no excuse. I just want to explain what’s going on when I feel frustrated. I’ve been “robbed” so-to-speak of so many things, especially in Pret. Constant promises were broken. And when people just take and take and take and take … I can’t take it anymore.

I’m sorry to everyone for my horrible emails, tweets etc.

Please always have courage and care to credit to sources and mention who/what inspired you to write your article. It shouldn’t be me to “press” journalists and their editors to mention my blog as the source of your report. And it shouldn’t be me to do all the research so that journalists can just write articles to their name on my “back” and labour.

My experience with Pret has messed me up big time. And if I have to bend a journalist’s arm to credit back to me, something’s not right! End of. That’s the main reason I’ve kicked most journalists, even high profile journos, off my following. I’m tired of journalists just sitting there on my following, waiting for a story to drop in their laps! No, you need to put in the work and stop wanting me to feed you, where you then get the rewards to your name on the back of my research and insight.

Please have integrity and care.

Thanks for reading.

Latest podcast episode on Sarah Butler’s writing and my podcast:

If the podcast player doesn’t work, please click on link below.

Link

My prediction which Sarah Butler looked into in above episode:

Link

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger CEO Payrise & Millions in Bonus After CUTTING staff pay

Two podcast episodes on my “forecast” in April that Pret’s CEO Pano Christou most likely either got the same pay from 2020 (£300K) or higher, plus the millions in bonus. And today’s episode after yesterday’s Guardian article.

The CEO didn’t spill the beans in April’s Times article what he got paid in 2021 and what he will get in 2022 because if he got the same or less, he would have announced it like Pret always announce their “charity” quickly. He only shared what his pay was in 2020.

Yesterday the news emerged that Pano Christou got a 27% payrise (£400K) and £4.2 million in bonus after cutting low-wage staff’s pay, benefits, paid breaks and other perks.

And before any office worker complains that you don’t get paid breaks, well, work for 8, 10, 12+ hours in excruciating heat, noise, stress, rude customers, mystery shopper fear management, bullying managers etc. and then we can talk again. Until then, keep sitting on your butt and browse through Linkedin.

Today’s podcast episode (may have to click on link underneath if WordPress refuses to post the player here):

Link

And on Pret’s Wage Theft, please click here.

My April 2022 podcast episode predicting that Pano either got the same or higher pay after cutting staff wages:

Link

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger’s “Propaganda”?

Let me explain.

Following Pret issues I keep seeing confusing information and mixed messages regarding Pret’s sales and profits. One week Pret’s sales are down, next week sales are 80% pre-Pandemic levels, next week Pret is close to ruin due to having to repay loans by the summer 2022, then profits up again … In the USA there are lawsuits in the millions for upaid rents.

Knowing Pret and their top leadership CEO Pano Christou, HQ staff, the HR department, OPs (area) managers, shop management etc. while claiming to be doing “the right thing naturally”, Pret’s way is to cheat, steal, borrow and scam customers and staff.

Pano Christou is under pressure to speed open shops. Pret received close to half a billion pounds, yes billion, from tax-haven Luxembourg based owners JAB Holdings (Germany’s 2. richest family, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past) and shareholders. Pret received this money with the task to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years. This is a huge and unrealistic task.

I remember when private equity firm Bridgepoint took over in 2008 and tasked Pret to open at least 15 shops per year. Me and my colleagues felt the squeeze. And now with JAB it’s even worse.

India’s richest business man has hooked up with Pret to open shops in India. I feel sorry and worried for workers AND customers in India, especially since Pret has a very poor track record on food safety and customer care, despite their “happy” and generous facade.

JAB and shareholders are like the Mafia, they want their money back. These private equity firms pass companies like Pret from hand to hand like drug dealers do with drugs and money laundry. Makes me almost feel sorry for Pano Christou who is squeezed in-between like a middle man and lower ranked drug dealer appeasing the big lords.

But the price is paid by the very bottom, the “addicts”, those who need jobs and sell their labour cheap to the overlords because they don’t know that they can beat the “addiction” when they get help and organise.

I’ve seen interviews of Pano Christou in India and other places lately, and he does NOT look relaxed. He looks tense, nervous, keeps sniffing as if he had a cold or is snorting cocaine. Not alleging that he does, but his nervous sniffing is unusual for him. I know of former OPs managers and HQ staff who took drugs in the toilets in head office.

I had to wipe cocaine traces off toilet hand dryers in Pret shops where mainly business people frequent. Again, I’m not alleging Pano is taking drugs, but I am calling Pret out again and again for scamming customers, stealing and borrowing from staff, selling expired, mouldy food even after having ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before this got public. THAT is what I can say for sure! I link to the reasons and evidence further below.

The media is helping Pret’s “propaganda” by saying sales are up, profits are soaring again, and I have a sense this is to attract potential investors.

Pano must be under pressure from JAB and shareholders to produce numbers. Hence, Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under dodgy excuses, the 2. excuse was “payroll error”.

Pano seems to be doing the EXACT thing that all shop managers do. Shop managers tweak numbers, cheat, extend expiry dates to save on food waste to boost their bonus and please their OPs managers. Pano has to produce and reach targets for his bosses JAB Holdings.

And since Pret’s been making profit again, they could and should raise wages, reinstate the benefits and paid breaks they cut. But of course no, they continue to cut in anyway they can including stopping complimentary items like butter portions for soup bread, seeds for porridge, sweetener, downsized the complimentary honey portions etc. etc.

These cuts are okay for me, what is NOT okay is borrowing from low-wage staff like workers are a bank to loan from without interest! Wage theft is also huge in Pret.

Here are just some of the mixed messages and “propaganda” Pret and the media throw out there:

04. July 2022

Link

Also 04. July 2022

I can’t believe Pano Christou getting involved, wanting the rail strikes to end so HE can make money! I have no words for this company!

Link

So, trading slumped down to 62% “because” of the train strike, let’s just blame workers again. Yet, on this same day news say that Pret’s sales are UP.

Can they make up their minds, or is this truly “propaganda” to get investors and customers in?

Pano Christou is SO detached and deranged, he doesn’t care one bit about workers. He even had the audacity AFTER he cut wages, making “temporary” pay cuts permanent to ASK his low-wage staff to donate to his “charity” half-marathon. Pano has NO shame whatsoever. His greed, or maybe it truly is desperation is amazing! I gave Pano a nickname, “Panoccio”! 🤥

-> Pret’s “charity” projects.

It also reminds me of Pret RE-founder and itsu founder Julian Metcalfe who didn’t want a 2. lockdown willing to sacrifice “a few thousand very old and vulnerable people”. I chased him off Twitter and was later informed that he is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book:

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Pret and itsu are thick as thieves and ice cold business people hurting people with a smile.

30. June 2022

Link

Februrary 2022

From the Daily Telegraph, quote:

»Pret a Manger has fired a fresh warning shot over its future as it races to delay debt repayments following two years of lockdown turmoil.

Company filings for the coffee chain’s owner, Pret a Manger Ltd, said it was attempting to buy more time to repay its loans.

It has until June to pay back £66.7m in loans, after having already extended that facility. A separate £605m loan facility is due to expire the following summer

Link

Link

This news to me seemed to have served to panic customers to flock to Pret for support. No more news on this since then. So, Pret either seemed to have repaid the £66 million and still has to repay £605m by the summer 2023.

And here’s what Pret’s been doing to reach targets:

BBC: Pret customers complain over drinks subscription deal

Ongoing complaints on the coffee subscription, apps, deals etc.

Claiming to have suppLIEr issues and technical faults preventing customers to get special offers and certain expensive and complimentary products.

The worst for me is delaying to pay their front-line, lowest paid staff TWICE this year and the ongoing wage theft.

And no, don’t make it too easy on yourself by saying staff can just look for another job. It’s not that simple when you have no money, a family to support, maybe even debt. Pret wear out their workers on purpose so they can’t think straight and have the strength to stand up or look for better jobs.

But customers can EASILY shop elsewhere and CHOOSE EASILY to support small independent businesses.

But no, most customers are as greedy as Pret by wanting freebies, a cheap coffee subscription and are willing to wait 10 – 15 minutes now while giving the few staff that are left a hard time for being “slow”!

So HOW can Pret be making pre-Pandemic 80% plus profits again while being understaffed, long queues, many customers boycott or completely abandon Pret.

Is it “propaganda” again to draw new investors while Pret is struggling in reality?

Many large companies underpay workers and are into wage theft. But for Pret to delay pay twice this year by getting bolder and bolder in broad daylight, shows desperation to me.

The uo and down, back and forth messages of soaring sales, then being close to bankruptcy is such a typical communication mess from Pret.

One employee review from New York from a purchasing director give some insights into Pret’s leadership. A purchasing director is closer to Pret leadership than shop staff. And I can underline this having had my traumatic experiences with Pret’s leadership ncluding former CEO Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, the HR department and some HQ staff.

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

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Just a few more from the USA and from London’s head office staff:

Link

Link

Link

Next, part quote:

»The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. … Advise to management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.«

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Link

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

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Link

A recent review of many along those lines, partial quote:

»harassing higher management from group and ops manager above. Unhealthy to both mental and physical health. … Group manager shaming for being sick. … Wages regularly not paid on time. … Safety standards for teams lack luster [causing] high risk of injury. …
Advise to management: Replace Pano with someone competent

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Link

I could go on and on and on, but to wrap it up, here some words from people in Ireland and Spain regarding Pret opening in those countries:

Spain’s and Ireland’s “welcome” message to Pret and below, “The Pret A Manger Anthem”.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Spain & Ireland’s “Welcome” Message to Pret A Manger

Spain:

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Ireland:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger are the MOST EVIL People I have ever come across

I keep writing horrible emails to friends, foes, Pret, the press, and I’m sure Pret are happy to see me suffer. I’m sure they’d be glad if I’d kill myself. This company has destroyed my life and the lives of so many others with a big fat fake smile. And they continue to do so.

After I raised issues with shop management and HR for almost a year, being ignored and further bullied, I contacted the then CEO Clive Schlee who then started some support, like Pret paying for counseling. But that was as a show in case for court, and the bullying continued. All the “support” Pret showed after I put my complaint in writing to the former CEO, was to show for court. As the bullying continued, I was offered money if I resign, never go to court, and never speak about my ordeal with Pret. I declined and indirectly forced Pret to fire me.

I tried to resign, tried to find another job, but I couldn’t sell myself, even in a low-paid job. I was too broken down, insecure, hopeless to find even the lowest paid work. If I would have found a job, I would have resigned. Even without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) taking “hush-money”, if I would have just resigned without signing my rights away, I could have NEVER written this blog.

Pret would have made a public statement like they did with Andrej Stopa who was fired for having started a Union. Pret would have said that they were happy with me as an employee, that they offered me help, but that I willingly chose to leave. Pret HAD TO fire me so that I can speak out. I didn’t realise this at the time. I even BEGGED in the last dismissal hearing to not fire me, my dad was just out of a three-week coma in Germany.

Even before any option of a dismissal came up I asked Pret if I can be put under the Pret Foundation, even an OPs manager later suggested I go under the PF for a while. But that never happened. Pret who claim to help homeless people, young apprentices and prison leavers have no room for long-term employees who go through tragedy. That’s why this Pret Foundation is just a PR machine and a smokescreen to hide horrible practices. I literally begged the hearing manager to not fire me! They did anyway, unknowingly forcing me to speak out publicly.

I have had to watch my parents, each on their own, deteriorate in a horrible institutional system in hospitals, rehab, nursing homes that are mostly chains under private equity. I had to struggle with everything on my own, and when help was offered, it either rarely came or it was not meant or just as a polite gesture. Or when help is offered, there is sometimes an ulterior motive and I have to figure out who means what. Or when I asked for help, I was met with a deafening silence or the words “I’m too busy”.

Or when the help is genuine, I can’t trust it, because of what Pret did to me via so many issues and people, and most vile, via Lila Tighilt Warren who claimed to have had a brother who died alone in his apartment, wasn’t found for days, like my brother was. I researched and searched if this brother existed, but found another person not the same as she described. This very horrific act Pret and Lila did, destroyed my trust in people.

The press are bystanders, watching. And what they use from my blog, experience and research, they make sure not to mention me and my ordeal. And those who wanted to report, I pushed away in my paranoia.

There ARE good people, but I can’t distinguish anymore the sheep from the wolves. And GOOD people are suffering my mistrust and outbursts because of this horrible company! No, it is I who bears responsibility for my words, writings and actions. But it takes evil people to destroy lives.

I have made the mistake to stay in Pret for 10 years, bearing under a toxic, dishonest, corrupt environment, where all that counts is making as much money and more and more and more.

And when someone asks why I don’t go to court, I did, but then withdrew when my dad died and I couldn’t afford legal aid. I have researched the British legal system of workplace related lawsuits while I filed a tribunal claim. I have read that even when former employees win their tribunal cases, the pay-out is so small, they end up in debt for the legal bill.

Pret and companies like Pret know that. They KNOW people can’t afford legal aid. They know that even pro-bono lawyers don’t want to pick up a fight in a 5-day trial for their 30% of an £8,000 payout. Too much effort for too little reward. Unlike in the USA (see Johnny Depp’s lawsuit in the UK vs the USA). Different systems.

A Cardiff bar manager choked by colleague wins tribunal. She was left paralysed in her face and won a meager £6,660 but had an £8,000+ legal bill, leaving her in debt. In the USA she would have won a 6-digits figure if not millions!

A former Pret assistant manager who got unfairly dismissed won his tribunal case getting rewarded about £8,812. Worker unfairly dismissed, says tribunal. After he lost his job, having a young child with his partner, he ended up on the streets living in his car for 2 weeks. For the tribunal it was worth a merge £8¾K. All this money probably went straight into his legal bill. Not to mention the mental strain people go through in a legal case against a large company.

When my dad died, leading me to withdraw the tribunal claim, I knew mentally it would lead to suicide going through the 5 day court hearings, even if I’d won. One day preliminary hearing, and 4 days court hearings, as the dates were already set having had 6 months to prepare with my dad in hospital, flying back and forth. I was told by free legal advice at Citizen Advice Bureau that there may be a 6th day with a second preliminary hearing as my case was so complex, having involved the top Pret leadership team. Even though I had strong evidence and Pret already hinted in their response to court that “if [I] win the case … that the reward should be low” according to some other lawsuit outcome that has set the precedent for lawsuits thereafter. But I had no support, no financial backing, no moral support and a new funeral coming up …

And before anyone says that I need therapy, first of all I have fought for therapy since over five years; 2. I have therapy now but cannot talk as there is a strict agenda to follow a rigorous program. So, please first ASK what people have had in support and therapy before giving unsolicited, patronizing advise.

In this life and society, most everywhere, it is all about money, position, what each individual can get out of whatever they can get from those already at the edge. If you are sick, disabled, bereaved, old … there is no place for you in a society that is looking for “productivity” more than those who produce. You are a disposable machine, a piece of garbage that is of no use anymore, sucked out of the life-blood by greedy corporates and anyone lacking basic human decency. The strong must become stronger and leave the vulnerable behind, as they can’t contribute to this cog-wheel of a society at a given time or forever. Survival of the fittest by the book. A repeated issue throughout time. Human nature at its worst that always becomes the norm with a new generation, until a new “uprising” and new precedent of disobedience …

Yes, I sound gloomy, but I suffer and fought hard to not only survive. I see the dark during a sunny day. And I’m sorry I am not what you thought or hoped for. Pret win again, hey.

I need people to stay away because I have nothing to offer you and I feel I won’t get better. I write horrible when drunk and hope everyone knows it is not personal, but you need to stay away.

And I will never stop saying that Pret A Manger, up to this current leadership in 2022, the same PEOPLE in head office that run the place since decades, this a core group of the top leadership and HR, are the most evil, toxic, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, incapable, unsympathetic, unethical, cowardly people I have ever had the nightmare to be dealing with.

And I remain deeply ashamed to have spent so long there and to have had any association with them.

And to friends, I don’t know what “friendship” is. It’s a myth.

Recent, select customer comments and staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter etc.

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The following to me sounds like wage theft again. Highlighted, quote:

“- Did not receive 80% of wages despite being on the furlough scheme

– All your hard work was over in a 2 minute zoom call – If you need a second job to support you, better clear it with your overlords. I know this is a standard practice but it shouldn’t be – if you want your workers to devote so many of hours of their lives to you, pay them decently so they can do more than just about afford to live

Unless you work in their offices, they do not give a s*** about you. Also the CEO doing company wide zoom meetings from the comfort of his very fancy house whilst retail workers are paid peanuts, talking about how we all need to pitch in to save the business is a joke.

Retail workers are the entire reason Pret is still standing. Those in office tend to forget that without retail staff upselling, being on the floor and handling customers, they wouldn’t have anything to sell.

I would love to know what the CEOs salary is in relation to the lowest paid retail employees an whether this has increased or changed during the pandemic – and the justification for leaving those who work their hardest at the bottom of the Pret ‘family’ foodchain on wages that do not meet the stanard of living, are not entitled to many benefits” End of quote.

Answer to the question how much CEO Pano CHristou earns? In 2020 = £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He does not reveal how much he made in 2021 and 2022. If he also cut is pay, he would make that public. The silence is a hint that he remains on £300K and probably more.

Pano loves to present himself as the “cabbie’s son” who started at the shop floor. But until recently, since I called him out on it, failed to mention that he started at position number 4 as an Assistant Manager because he was a manager at McDonald’s. He didn’t start as a low paid team member having to wear uniform, and in those days a silly cap, that increased the body heat in stuffy hot shops and kitchens. Pano received £500 to buy business attire; £50 every month for dry cleaning; insurance; paid sick leave from day one (that’s a big one!) compared to team members who are paid from day 3 being sick with a sick note. His quarterly bonus went into the thousands. And all the other perks, travel, fancy galas for management and so on.

Link

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Part quote: “It was just so depressing that I had to work there and thankfully don’t need to anymore. They need to consider what they do to the staff and force them to work it’s just not a good way to sort and they know that. A lot of workers are mistreated and insulted daily. The management is a huge part of that.”

Link

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Upon my question to above Instagram person who’s staff, if it’s true that Pret for the SECOND time recently didn’t pay staff on time, the answer was, quote: “That is correct, however the delay was much less noticeable as it was late by 1 day only.”

This staff doesn’t realize that even though it wasn’t that noticeable for staff, it’s still 1. unacceptable and 2. a huge deal because Pret’s work week starts Fridays and staff are paid on Thursdays. This means the “less noticeable” for staff is a big deal for Pret as their new financial week starts Fridays. They most likely had issues with shareholders wanting to present better numbers, and then “pay back” the next day starting on Friday’s new financial week.

Pret use and abuse the goodwill of workers. And this has always been the case with shop managers, they ALWAYS for years and years, every week “forgot” to pay an hour here, an hour there. Do this with a handful of shop staff every week and it all adds up, as many don’t check their hours, not noticing the “odd” hour here and there not being paid.

And Pano Christou now does THE SAME company-wide. Stealing in broad daylight, “borrowing” from the lowest paid to appease shareholders. Mafia-style in a nutshell. Pret use low-wage workers as a loan-bank. Absolutely despicable, unethical and disrespectful. And I hope financial auditors and the government get wind of this.

Link and Link

And there is no strength or courage to join a union and stand up. And Pret know that and wear the staff out so they don’t have an ounce of strength left to even entertain the thought to fight back.

Link

etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou’s “approval” rating:

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And the legacy former CEO Clive Schlee left with:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Animal Cruelty and Pret A Manger

When I started to write about my Pret ordeal in May 2018, I also started to do extensive research on the Internet on anything Pret related. I searched for similar experiences from staff and came across Glassdoor and Indeed, Facebook, Instagram, other blogs; searched on lawsuits, press articles, anything and everything I could find on Pret, where there are systemic issues. I also did this to back up my own experience as many people didn’t believe me. Now it is more common knowledge that Pret are NOT what they portray to the public.

But in 2018, I was a messenger who got “shot” as my message wasn’t welcome or people wanted to remain in their illusions about Pret. It was and continues to be an uphill battle.

I then came across a video called “Cruelty in Pret” which was uploaded in July 2018, is about chickens and the lack of welfare in farms. I bookmarked it like I do with most important or interesting issues.

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A short while later the video was switched from public to unlisted. I also couldn’t find the website that is listed at the end of the video nor anything on “The Humane League Campaigns” who posted the video.

I didn’t post anything on this as I couldn’t find any info and don’t post anything of which I have no evidence or a source where it came from. So I kept it on the bookmark shelf until now and passed it around social media here and there today.

I was perplexed that the video turned unlisted shortly after it was uploaded.

It could be that Pret contacted the person(s) and warned them with a lawsuit or so, and they then unlisted the video and the website never worked.

And then yesterday the Twitter’s sphere started to light up with this, quote:

“Chickens raised for meat suffer tremendously at factory farms.

Our new report examines which food companies are backtracking or failing to demonstrate action—including Pret.” End of quote.

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Link

The report can be downloaded as PDF from MercyForAnimals.org Report.

In it Pret have been caught yet again to be naughty.

Quote:

“The following companies have failed to report measurable progress toward their broiler welfare goals and have deleted their previously public policy commitments:

• BareBurger

• fresh&co

Pret A Manger

• Tender Greens

• Zoup!”

End of quote.

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I am not surprised at all that Pret deleted their policy commitments. Pret also stopped doing fair trade coffee a while ago, but still claim to have organic coffee. Pret already had to take the word “natural” off signage and packaging after being slapped by the Real Bread Company via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Further more I found a website that calls out former Pret CEO Clive Schlee for supporting CAGED chickens in Asia. Schlee is on the board of directors of Dairy Farm Group, one of the largest retail companies in Asia. The website DairyFarmEggs.com writes further, quote:

»Clive and Dairy Farm have a dirty secret – A shocking series of investigations has revealed what the company wants to keep hidden: they continue to sell customers eggs from filthy, cruel battery cage egg farms with higher food safety risks.

A series of investigations at multiple Dairy Farm egg suppliers found feces and dirt caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid. Feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of other countries around the world. The corpses of dead hens are left to decompose right next to hens laying eggs for human consumption.« End of quote. Link to website.

Clive Schlee also owns half of itsu and worked for several years in Asia before he became CEO of Pret, but left Pret in 2019.

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So, it makes sense that they delete their commitment to not be held accountable for not keeping their commitment yet again.

There was a Twitter storm for days, which as much as I support this, but has drowned out the issue that Pret are not paying their shop staff this week. The Guardian reported on this yesterday after I was informed by staff and passed it on to Sarah Butler from the Guardian and other journalists. Detail on this: Pret’s New PR Stunt on Payrise in Pennies UPDATED.

Pret did this on purpose over the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday as they know that the press and the whole of the UK are distracted with the celebrations. Usually when especially the Guardian, the BBC etc. report on anything Pret related, Twitter explodes with calls for boycotts. But of course, Pret being clever and always do their dodgy things at certain times or distract with charity announcements, there’s hardly any mention now.

Today’s main mention is the chicken cruelty issue as vegans and animal lovers come out en masse to tweet at Pret.

That’s alright. The Payment issue will resurface again.

What still surprises me though is that many people are shocked that Pret deleted their commitment. Many still say that they thought Pret was ethical, as if they lived under a rock since 2018 when the 2 customer deaths and several allergen injuries became public. Or is it that animal activists are not as much concerned about people.

Of course people can inform themselves, can stand up against wrongdoing and choose where to go, animals can’t do that. But still, people don’t realize that when a company treat their employees like rubbish waste, it will reflect back on customers and is also a no-brainer that a company like this won’t care about animal welfare.

And it is beyond me that many animal rights activists still fall for Pret who have COUNTLESS chicken products like chicken itself, eggs, mayonnaise etc. And the claim of “free range” chicken still seems to fool most. And the above report points out the suffering on free-range farms. A healthy egg and chickens are from PASTURE RAISED chickens. But that is too expensive for mass production.

And since Pret jumped on the vegan bandwagon, most vegans are excited instead of supporting vegan-ONLY food places. I’m not a vegan, but if I was, I would ONLY eat in purely vegan restaurants, cafes as I’m a little crazy as a purist!

Eating insects is a delicatessen in some countries and slowly is growing in popularity here in Europe. Once this becomes trendy, you bet Pret also will jump on that bandwagon to increase profit.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My last Email to Pret / Pano Christou

Yesterday after I was contacted by someone regarding Pret not paying staff this week, and then emailing the press and The Guardian reporting, I wrote a last email to Pret’s CEO Pano Christou and HR.

I also want to apologize to any and all Pret staff who contacted me, whom I kept referring to unions. Several of you contacted the unions and didn’t receive any response. I am angry and very sorry to have let you down on this. I can only say, please look for a better work opportunity and leave it all behind. It feels to me that the unions are more about politics and political agendas. The membership fees may be forwarded to political parties and projects. I have so much anxiety and mistrust about any organizations.

It seems ONLY that employees themselves will reach change when we stand up, not the unions. The unions will just “come along” when we initiate action and pay them, and then they will take the credit for OUR sweat, blood and tears. I’m sorry to be so gloomy.

Thank you for your trust and reaching out. I am sorry to have let you down.

If you need any more help, please reach out to the press directly. The press reach things more and quicker than unions or myself. But you need to have evidence, always gather and keep evidence in writing etc.

The Guardian: Sarah.Butler@theguardian.com, Ben.Quinn@theguardian.com

The Mirror: Amy Sharpe who went undercover into Pret after I asked her as I was too anxious. We were in contact via Facebook: https://twitter.com/amylsharpe

BBC and freelance: contact@bbc.co.uk, Vivienne.Nunis@bbc.co.uk, Mike.Powell@bbc.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph: Janet.Eastham@telegraph.co.uk

The Scottish Left Review who published my articles TWICE early on, when no news outlet was ready to report: Gregor.Gall@glasgow.ac.uk

And Adam, the amazing podcaster from California who interviewed me when no news outlet cared/dared: https://twitter.com/1AdamParadox

My last email to Pret, to CEO Pano Christou and HR, copying in the press and staff; verbatim without correcting spelling mistakes and grammar:

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This is my last email to you Pret,

I Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) private people in, staff, friends of staff, customers who reached out to me to tell them to not be afraid to speak out and stand up.

Pret has almost destroyed my life! But I survived to tell my story! And staff contact me with info and leaks, and it is my pleasure to pass this on to the press and others.

Is it still Pret’s practice to name, blame and shame shops that don’t do well? This has always bothered me. But it’s wonderful to turn the tables!

Complaints have increased on stale and mouldy food, expired foods, critters and rat droppings in food … you can “freshly make” a sandwich with stale bread and mouldy cheese.

Not paying your staff, the LOWEST paid staff in Pret who carried you and Pret through the pandemic while you sat at home or in socially distanced shiny air conditoned HQ, demanding for shop/kitchen staff to come to work even when they have Covid. Only you know if there have been Covid sick or even deaths. You managed to keep 2 customer allergen deaths quiet, I fear any news coming out one day that staff have died of Covid while they struggled to get paid!

Customer complaints increased on the coffee-subscription, apps, deals that are not fullfilled as advertised, and all your bogus “technical issues” while receiving “digital technology leaders” award and being slimed with award after award, compliments after compliments on Linkedin where everyone is telling you how awesome you are!

Surround yourself with Yes-Men/Women, hold your seminars and keep sweet-talking about sustainability, and keep ignoring customer emails/DMs/phone calls… and let customers and staff get on with telling the real story.

It’s no surprise that the way you treat your staff, it will reflect on customers.

Your “charity” projects make me cringe everytime I hear about it. The donation devices that Pret placed NEXT to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidently donate £5 thinking they pay for their coffee. And then the psychology that they are embarrassed to ask for a refund from “charity”.

The £1000 announcement that Clive Schlee made late at night from 28. to 29. May 2018 after I sent the link to my blog late that night to Sannu because I know that she can’t a secret!

The NHS freebie PR stunt you did before 1st lock-down on 18. March 2020, and right the next morning sent out an email to shops and HQ to announce cuts to staff. The low-wage staff basically PAID for your NHS PR stunt!

The half-marathon you ran last year and having the audacity to ask your low-wage staff for donation to “alleviate poverty” straight after you made temporary paycuts permanent, had turned my stomach!

And now, using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, where the press and people are distracted with the celebrations, to suddenly have a “payroll error”, and the 2nd time since recently not paying staff.

Your “charity” are a smokescreen and good for tax breaks.

To anyone who still works at Prt, if I can stand up on my own against these dwarfs who almost destroyed my life, you can stand even stronger TOGETHER with the Unions like BFAWU! Pret is more scared of you than you of them when you organise and stand up, strike, walk out, make higher demands and not let Pret trick you again with reinstating bonus that is discretionary to mystery shoppers and GMs!

I could go on and on and on, but I’ve written enough and wrote the Pret poison out of my system!

My greetings to your mentor and buddy Clive Schlee who patonised me as his “late night gitrl” while I SUFFERED with my emailing, he had a laugh and then shortly after getting me fired with my dad in intensive care, which you all knew about. And please tell him that the greatest thing I appreciate on being a woman, who is mistaken for a “girl”, on having been a low-wage “low skill” worker, is that I love it when entitled, rich, privileged, arrogant, self-assured millionaire business men underestimate me, and people like me. That’s my great joy!

Also greetings to Julian Metcalfe whom I had the pleasure to also chase off Twitter. Even if the YouTube slide is slightly out-of-date, but it still shows what’s really is behind you executives.

You can try to shut me down, I will pop up again. I do not care about the amount of followers or anything else and have backed everything up triple. It means nothing to me what you may do or how Pret report me to social media! Keep reporting. It means nothing to me! It only leads me to sprad out on other platforms.

What means the world to me is a SINGLE person to this day sending me an email or DM with words like “Wow, I just read your such-and-such, I didn’t know that about Pret. I thought Pret was so great … I will tell my friends and family and support small independent business from now on…” That is Christmas and Birthday all in one for me!

You made £300,000 in 2020 PLUS bonus. It’s interesting that you didn’t reveal how much annual pay you got in 2021 and 2022. If you had cut your pay like you did to your lowest paid workers, you would have made a big announcement like you make all the “charity” announcements.

I worked all my life in hospitality since I’m 16 years old, NOTHING has been as horrific, traumatic, unfair, disgusting as Pret in any company I worked in! Nothing! Your brainwash and fear management has followed me years after you fired me days after my dad came out of his 3-week coma!

You have it coming for you from staff, unions, more press, whistleblowers, more OPs and GMs leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and elsewhere … and you deserve everything that’s coming for you within the law, within the legal frame and free speech! You deserve it!

My apologies again to journalists, staff, strangers, friends … for my drunken outbursts from the traumas I’ve been through. I stand by my mistakes even when I am ashamed of it! But I own up to it. And I work on it like we all work on our recovery.

And to Pret, it is my UTMOST PLEASURE to have put you on a map showing your TRUE colours to the public.

I am not afraid of you, in fact, I have no respect for you whatsoever! I cried tears of anger last night when I received mail about staff not getting paid, because I know the excrutiating PAIN, anxiety, existential fears they go through! All while you sit in your comfortable huge mansion laughing to the bank!

It takes a special breed to not do anything about customer deaths and injuries until it became public. I was a team leader responsible for health and safety and didn’t even know about fatalities! Shame on you! You put ME as a team leader in DANGER to potentially be at “fault” for another injury or death by not telling me, not training and retraining me on allergen, labelling etc.

It takes a special breed to keep taking from the LOWEST paid on the BOTTOM of the barrel! All while portraying to the public to be ethical and caring! I am PROUD to have cracked Pret’s facade further and further!

And I KNOW that my tears of anger and grief will turn into tears of joy!

 expret.org 🖕😎🖕

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper Scheme – AUDIO

I explain in detail about Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I call “Misery” Shopper for a reason.

Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I plainly call abusive:

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The Wiki link to my blog that was deleted, which I explain in above audio.

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I have run out of space/time on my free podcast and am shopping around which podcast provider is the best value before I purchase.

On the podcast I cover some other Pret issues, like the allergen situation, ongoing labelling problems etc. As I ran out of free space I post the above Mystery Shopper episode here on my blog. For Timothy Noah’s “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger” and other articles on emotional labour, as well as several examples of Mystery Shopper reports, please see my page: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Thank you for listening.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

expretcast Podcast

I started a podcast, but not in a professional way as I am new to this medium. I am not sure if I do more or regular episodes on issues, but I find it easier and important to voice a few things instead of writing long blog posts. I’ve written everything I could write about and feel to speak more than write, and some people don’t like to read long blog posts or for visual reasons cannot read.

I started with the subject of allergen, mislabelling, cross-contamination in Pret. I may continue on other subjects or these may be all I do, I don’t know yet. Thanks for reading/listening.

expretcast

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Staff are so “happy” they can’t contain themselves

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And CEO Pano Christou is completely detached, ignoring reality, portraying a “happy” company facade to the public via the press that happily play along.

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Glassdoor

A playlist of staff reviews; mystery shopper reports (why staff smile so much and give freebies in a highly stressful environment even when depressed and bereaved; customer complaints and boycotts; coffee subscription issues etc.:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be FATAL

UPDATE 2022:

I want to add 2 things, the post underneath the line below I have converted on my Anchor.fm podcast to a voice version. It’s an automated voice, not perfect, but for those who don’t like to read long blog entries. I place the episode here as well.

And the other thing is I want to place my favourite tweet of recently after a customer responded to other customers outcry of Pret making temporary pay-cuts permanent. The below blog post/voice convertion is very important for people to understand Pret’s mentality and why it remains dangerous to eat there.

Link

The Tweet by @betty_de_brazil from 12. August 2021 reads, quote:
“A while back, I saw a Pret ad that said its staff were “passionate” about making sandwiches. This kind of bullshit talk always hides ruthless practices in my experience.” End of quote.

Unfortunately reading programs can’t read screenshots of Tweets or YouTube slides. I have to keep that in mind when doing new blog entries, to write out Tweets. I was also once told by a blind person on Twitter that their programs cannot read screenshots. So, below Twitter screenshots are not read by this automated voice conversion. Apologies to all with visual impairment, I’m learning as I go.

This blog post conversion to audio file is close to under 11 minutes long. At this time the French word “manger” isn’t pronounced the French way, but the American/English way of “Jesus in a manger”. For those who love to point out unimportant mistakes, get over it. Thanks.

As this player is just a preview, please click on the title itself within the player to go to the full audio version on Open Spotify:

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A few years ago I already dissected an article where Pret’s HR Director Andrea Wareham was interviewed. “Pret’s People Management Secrets” from HR Magazine. In this interview Andrea Wareham shares a lot about the typical Pret PR bla bla. But one sentence stands out to me which is typical Pret, but also dangerous.

Quote: »Pret famously recruits for behaviours, “personality rather than skills” as Wareham puts it, and these, she adds, are “relevant in every market”.«

When I worked at Pret it always astounded me how little many shop Managers knew of the job they were hired to do. Those staff members in lower positions who had more knowledge than some shop Managers due to experience and skill, were exploited and the Manager took credit for it.

It often bothered me how the “wrong” people got promoted and those who knew how to do the job where kept low.

In an unlisted video on YouTube (why unlisted?) new CEO Pano Christou even inadvertently gives away how poor the training in Pret is. He shares how when he did stock take for the first or second time, that he stayed until 4 o’clock the next morning! And that’s exactly how it is in Pret. The training is so poor and even Managers often are clueless that especially new staff have to stay long (unpaid!) hours to figure out how things work! Before I worked at Pret, I worked in many different food places, most of my life I worked in hospitality industry, in wine bars, restaurants, a canteen, a hotel. But never did I have to stay longer hours to figure out how things are done than in Pret! It was the most frustrating thing not being trained and not being given time to train others!

If people are trained and have skills, especially since Pano Christou was a Manager at McDonald’s before he joined Pret as an Assistant Manager, there would be NO NEED to stay until 4 o’clock the next morning to know how to do a stock take and other issues!

Pano should have known the job already, or at least picked it up quicker as he had previous Management experience. Unless he kissed his way up, like so many do. In Pret people also get promoted through the bedroom, and then more than few are incapable to do the job and rely on lower ranked staff to do all the hard work!

Pret is famous for their smiley staff, but since I write about it more extensively since 2018 it has become more common knowledge that this smiley culture is driven by weekly Mystery Shoppers. I wrote a few posts about it and made some YouTube slides as my blog is heavily censored on Facebook and Instagram where it is completely blocked. Even private messages are deleted automatically by algorithm when I link to my blog as Pret must have reported me, thus FB, Insta put me on a black list. But YouTube isn’t blocked.

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Journalist Timothy Noah wrote a brilliant article on Pret’s emotional labour (labor in US English) that Pret enforces low-wage employees to perform. “The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger“. I really recommend reading this article! And oh, how I remember the mental agony to have to smile, chat, present a happy facade, just to get a few more peanuts. And even during already traumatic bereavement I was expected to “leave my problems at home and wear a smile like I wear my uniform”! Real words of one of my Managers after we lost bonus for not smiling! Low-wage staff have to act like emotional prostitutes and acrobatic clowns to make Pret look good and as a happy place!

Noah wrote this article in 2013, a year after the first public “scandal” hit Pret when Andrej Stopa was fired for having started a trade union. Noah was one of the first, if not THE first journalist to take a closer look at Pret and write critical about the company when no-one dared to write critically. In fact, most journalists, even to this day write ecstatic positive articles about Pret.

Noah points out what former CEO Clive Schlee said about staff touching each other, quote: »”The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Pret’s previous Mystery Shopper requirements even was that Pret aims to “attend to EACH customer’s NEEDS” … and aims to “connect with EVERY customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks”. The weekly Mystery Shopper is then tasked to comment on how low-wage staff smile etc. and give points accordingly.

Excerpts of the old Mystery Shopper reports before Pret changed the wording but kept the expectations via Managers:

Since I write extensively about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme which has surprised many customers who assumed that staff give freebies out of “random acts of kindness”, while in reality staff are almost guaranteed to receive the £100 reward when giving a freebie to the Mystery Shopper, or the MS at least witnessing this “generosity”!

And Clive Schlee to me served like the Ronald McDonald of Pret. He was the friendly clown that was approachable to customers and staff alike, while in reality putting a rigorous Mystery Shopper scheme in place and manipulating staff with brainwashing slogans, and expecting touch to portray a wholesome and happy company … all to increase sales.

And yet, we all wonder how on earth can TWO customers die in Pret, a third customer narrowly surviving and at least nine more injured due to unlabelled allergen in the food. Pret IGNORED the multiple warnings to label their food, even after customers have died and got injured, Pret kept smiling and went full steam ahead doing business as usual. Pret only started slowly to implement product labelling AFTER customer deaths became public! I worked at Pret when 2 customers died and we weren’t even informed of this. Not even a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. Nothing! The emphasis was ALWAYS to drop every task, run on till, smile, serve customers fast and present a happy facade. Personality is more important in Pret than skill!

Link

If you don’t know what you’re doing and just “look” the part, but neglect life saving issues, you shouldn’t be hired or run a business! Smiling and having a bubbly personality is a plus, but without skills it’s useless for the health and safety of staff and customers alike! Clive Schlee, the Ronald McDonald of Pret has proven time and again how clueless he was:

Alicia Turrell deleted her Twitter account, so this link is gone. But to zoom in on what former CEO Clive Schlee responded to an open letter, shows how he lacked skills and knowledge on how to approach the lack of labelling that several customers pointed out, including a lawsuit BEFORE the first customer died.

Schlee’s patronizing, appalling and plain clueless response:

»Dear Alicia,
I am sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to board my flight and I have been reading your discursive open letter to Pret. I must say you have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.
You also make your point about allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point. Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?
With best wishes
Clive«

I am not a fan of Wetherspoons or any food/drink chain at that, and at least their staff have started standing up with Unions. But I heard an interview of founder and CEO Tim Martin recently on Desert Island Discs from 2017. He said something that positively surprised me and maybe because pub business is a different animal from cafe/restaurant business in customer service to some extend, but he mentioned something on how staff present themselves.

Then presenter Kirsty Young asks Martin at around 26 minutes in the interview, quote: »And when you are chatting, as you are doing every week to managers and deputy managers and bar staff, do you ever say to them, “never ever say this to the customer?«

Martin replies: »No. And I also tell them, “you don’t have to smile either”.«

Kirsty Young: »You tell them they DON’T have to smile?«

Martin: »They don’t have to smile, no! We don’t go out of our way to tell them to be nice, because I think that puts too much pressure on people. I think when you go to a pub you get a beer, someone’s natural personality will emerge better if they are not under too much pressure, which of course they are under tremendous pressure anyway. Some of our best bar staff are quite grumpy

I cut out that part from the above program:

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Or in the closing words of Timothy Noah’s superb article on Pret’s emotional labour enforcement: »Now that I know Pret’s slender blonde doesn’t love me, I prefer the human contact at a D.C. lunch counter called C.F. Folks. The food is infinitely better. But I also like that the service is slower, the staff is older and grumpier, and the prevailing emotion is “Get over yourself.” Try touching someone at C.F. Folks, and you just might get slugged.«

Another brilliant article on emotional labour I have listed in “The Dangers of Emotional Labour” is by Sophie McBain “How Emotional Labour Harms us All“.

I say it again, recruiting for (fake or even true) cheerful personality rather than skill can be fatal!

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

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.

Open Letter to a Prosecutor

Re-posting this:

Dear Kate Brunner QC,

below are some hints that Pret did not train us staff well and that former CEO Clive Schlee had no clue on what to do. I write from 10 years of front-line shop experience in Pret, most of which I was a Team Leader responsible for running shops. Sure, people think I have a vendetta against Pret and that’s why what I extensively write shouldn’t be taken seriously. That is people’s prerogative to decide. I just write.

Am I out of my mind? Sure. Am I angry? Of course. Are my social media rants off? Yes, at times, after I had one too many drinks in order to cope with trauma. But I know what I’m talking about first hand when it comes to Pret!

What I have been through is stuff for a shooting spree, but I went on a writing spree, and people can block me, look down on me, call me insane and all kinds of names, anything and everything. But I know what I have experienced and so many others I mention in my blog. So, people can continue to block me, report me, get my social media channels shut down. Be my guest.

And upfront, English is not my mother-tongue, so my grammar is a mess!

In the trial in Bristol it was said, quote from Sky News: »Food safety expert Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight told jurors Mr Rodriguez was fully trained and had acted outside of Pret A Manger’s allergen procedures.«

Well, Belinda Stuart-Moonlight is a food safety expert, but I and my former colleagues are Pret A Manger experts! And no-one wants to listen to low-wage front-line shop workers! But I’m going to say it anyway!

From my 10 years in Pret plus witnessing my colleagues in over dozen shops, I can verify that Pret’s training is extremely poor! For me it didn’t exist! If I was trained, I was given stuff to read during my break. If I was trained by a line manager, they were in such hurry, impatient and often clueless themselves. At times I myself wrote emails to HQ departments on issues to get the info directly from them because my Managers either didn’t know, or didn’t want to train me. The only reason that I was knowledgeable was because I made the effort to get information AND much of the information I knew came from previous employment in the hospitality industry, but not from Pret.

In an unlisted video on YouTube new CEO Pano Christou even inadvertently gives away how poor the training in Pret is. He shares how when he did stock take for the first or second time, that he stayed until 4 o’clock the next morning! And that’s exactly how it is in Pret. The training is so poor and even Managers often are clueless that especially new staff have to stay long (unpaid!) hours to figure out how things work! Before I worked at Pret, I worked in many different food places, most of my life I worked in hospitality industry, in wine bars, restaurants, a canteen, a hotel. But never did I have to stay longer hours to figure out how things are done than in Pret! It was the most frustrating thing not being trained and not being given time to train others!

If people are trained there IS NO NEED to stay until 4 o’clock the next morning to know how to do a stock take and other issues!!!

Pano here doesn’t realize that he’s giving away how poor the training in Pret is! Also, as a side note, WHY is the above video “unlisted” where people can only find it if they have direct link to it! Shouldn’t Pret be proud about a new CEO etc.??? Pret also prides themselves in hiring employees according to their personality!

So, Pret is full of smiley, chatty, bouncing people, but few have SKILL that a business needs to actually do the job. And those who have skills are exploited by the smiley bouncing folk who take the credit for the work skilled people do! Former CEO Clive Schlee himself was like the Ronald McDonald of Pret. He was the clown who’s main job seemed to have been to sit at the facade of Pret fooling the public on how wonderful and caring Pret is. He made himself available as this “transparent” and approachable CEO that everyone loved!

In the meantime, customers die, staff are bullied to work like machines to increase profit etc. etc. etc.

Hiring according to personality rather than skill can be fatal!

One of my passions has always been training and informing people. Even customers would comment that I had a lot of knowledge and why I wasn’t a Manager. My colleagues, many who are from other countries, always came to me when they had questions, because 1. I had a lot of knowledge on issues, partly because I worked in the catering industry most of my life even before Pret. And 2. I took my time to give them any and all info they wanted and needed as far as I knew it. But during the shifts I was always called away from training my colleagues to serve customers. Shop Managers always want the tills manned due to chronic under-staffing to increase profit and their bonuses.

My first year of being a “shift runner” running shops, I didn’t have the First Aid course. My Manager forgot or couldn’t be bothered to put me on the First Aid course which is mandatory when running shifts. I didn’t know it either until another Manager pointed it out when I changed shops. Other times I was asked to cut corners by Management, which I declined. Most of the time we were pressured to sign the yearly training records WITHOUT being trained or re-trained etc. etc.

If you were to walk into a Pret today and ask any member of staff if they are well trained, they will tell you yes! But they will tell you this out of fear! Pret staff are fear- and micromanaged via weekly Mystery Shoppers. Mystery Shoppers can also be regular customers. When I was bullied DURING bereavement in Pret, customers NEVER knew what I went through because I never told anyone except some colleagues. I remained professional and was riddled with anxiety. I’d never dare to tell a customer how it really is. I pretended to be happy, because that was our job, and Mystery Shoppers were tasked to probe and then comment on our smile and chatty attitude including eye contact … or lack thereof. My Teams would have lost bonus if I’d spill the beans and it happened to be the Mystery Shopper I’d talked to.

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at all at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

So, I buried my brother weeks before, couldn’t smile or chat, my Manager who knew about my bereavement, wouldn’t even allow me to work in the kitchen for a few days where I wouldn’t need to smile or chat. I wasn’t placed into the kitchen because I wasn’t fast enough in making sandwiches as I wasn’t used to the kitchen. And then we got comments like this from Mystery Shoppers. Do you think we would tell customers that we were not trained properly or that we are bullied? I smiled most of the time, went home after work and headed for the bridge.

But if you knew a Team Member outside of Pret, especially those who left Pret, you would hear the real story. I could give you names of current and former staff who spoke to journalists and spilled the beans on the reality, one of which is lack of training. I won’t give you their names of course, but there is a lot of communication happening behind the scenes between staff and me, between staff and journalists, and staff leaving anonymous reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter, Facebook etc.

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EDIT:

I want to add something I just shared with others on another platform. The reason I took health and safety, allergen, labelling, liquid spillage on the floor etc. so serious and always was on my colleagues’ case when they slacked about dangerous H&S issues, was not because Pret took it so serious or trained me well. It was because I myself made a mistake in another company before I worked at Pret. A customer ordered a SOYA frappe and stressed to me that it NEEDS to be soya as they have a dairy intolerance! I assured the customer that I will make it a soya. Due to the hectic stressful shift, I completely forgot to LEAVE OUT the dairy powder that is added to thicken the frappes & milk shakes. The customer left.

Half an hour later they returned with a rash on their throat! They asked me if the frappe was soya, I absolutely assured them it was, but then in shock remembered that I added the dairy powder. I was young and new to that company, never having had any training or experience with allergen. I admitted that I forgot to leave the powder out. Good thing the customer explained that it wasn’t life-threatening and they said “It’s ok, I just get a rash”. I reimbursed them and profusely apologized. The customer could have contacted HQ, but I’ve never heard anything from my Manager or HQ.

And because I had a VISUAL of their rash it gave me such a shock and wake-up call! I’ve NEVER EVER made that mistake again and MY MISTAKE accompanied me to Pret. And THAT IS WHY I was so uber careful and trained my teams and was on their cases about labelling, the allergen guide, spillage on the floor etc. It wasn’t because Pret trained me so well! In fact my colleagues and even some Managers and Leaders would make fun of me because I was so diligent with anything related to health and safety!

I used to be extremely annoying to my colleagues when it came to the fire exits! When rubbish bags piled up, or even a broom leaned against the exit doors, I would remind them again to please leave the door clear at ALL times! I said I don’t even want to see a dust corn in front of the emergency exit door! I lived in the USA for a few years and the constant news on mass shootings or a mad man going into a kindergarten stabbing little kids! I explained that a mad person could walk into the shop and start stabbing people, the exit doors need to be cleared all the freaking time! I explained that we always think this could never happen to us, or in London! That’s the WRONG thinking.

This soya-dairy experience was a scare that I will never forget, and this was MY fault! And I’m beyond grateful that the customer at the other company “just” had an intolerance, not a life-threatening allergy!

But Pret? From my experience, they were lapse! Any former colleague would tell you that I got on my colleagues’ nerves when it came to health and safety and the allergen guide, BECAUSE I myself made a horrible mistake in the other company. But it was a ONE-OFF mistake that I never repeated, no matter how busy it was!!! In fact, as I was a Team Leader having to multi-task, I listened out to my colleagues when I heard them order a soya frappe, I interrupted my customer service, no matter if I thought it may have been the Mystery Shopper, to inform my new colleague and their customer that there is DAIRY powder added, just for their information. At times the customer was ok, because they just liked Soya, other times they declined the frappe as they couldn’t have dairy, and then ordered another drink. I trained and re-trained my colleagues to ALWAYS mention that we add dairy powder when they ordered a plant-based frappe.

In Pret we couldn’t leave the dairy powder out like I could in the other company, because the dairy powder is already attached to the ice-cubes in the individually portioned blue bags. We couldn’t take it out as we sometimes didn’t have a separate only ice-cube machine. If we had a separate ice-cube machine, we could then just make a soya iced drink which wasn’t thick, but at least without the powder.

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Former CEO Clive Schlee himself inadvertently admitted that staff need more training and that Pret needed to take allergen more serious. As Schlee suffers from foot-in-mouth disease he responded to an open letter by an allergy sufferer back in 2015.

I made the following screenshot at the time when Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death became public. Alicia Turrell posted Schlee’s response to her open letter to Pret on Twitter. She closed her Twitter account now and her Tweets are gone, but I still have the screenshot. Alicia Grace Turrell is an actress and I’m sure it won’t be hard to find her and contact her for her own experience with Pret’s response. The Tweet is from 2018:

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Clive Schlee’s typical patronizing response transcribed for easier read. It’s dripping of his typical sweet-talk, “sliming” Alicia with his compliments, making sure he mentions that he, as the CEO himself, writes to her. Yet, he’s clueless on what to do, admitting that Pret did not take allergen seriously and that staff needed (better) training.

»Dear Alicia,
I am sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to board my flight and I have been reading your discursive open letter to Pret. I must say you have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.
You also make your point about allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point. Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?
With best wishes
Clive«

End of quote.

There is NO mention that staff are “fully” trained! In fact Schlee admits that he can’t argue with Alicia’s “fair points” and that he isn’t “exactly sure how to respond”! How can a CEO of an international food chain not be sure how to respond?! And Alicia Turrell wrote to Pret NOT to Clive Schlee, but Schlee in his typical self-assured way thought he’d impress a customer by responding HIMSELF. And Alicia Turrell was supposed to be smitten that the top chief himself replied. Well, she wasn’t! She was appalled at his response!

This correspondence was in 2015. And here is how Clive Schlee and Pret started to take allergen more seriously, and we staff received more training:

ZERO! NOTHING! NADA! NULL!

In 2016 a man in New York sued Pret after he had a reaction also to unlabelled sesame. Pret won. When the man learnt of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death, he was devastated as he hoped his lawsuit would be a wake-up call for Pret.

AllergicLiving.com article

In 2016 Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died. I worked between 2008 and end of December 2017 in Pret as a Team Leader. Part of my job description was Health and Safety. And I took that very seriously. But not only were we NOT informed of Natasha’s death (and later Celia Marsh), but there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. Nothing!

Natasha’s mum tells of her shock about Pret’s lack of action:

From YouTube at about 0:20

Pret went full steam ahead doing business as usual!

I write extensively about the lack of action, the lack of training and the relentless pressure and pace in which low-wage staff have to work. If they don’t work fast, they get fear managed with disciplinary and the threat of job loss. And working fast, rushing, being exhausted and depressed, they make unnecessary mistakes and continue to mislabel even now in 2021.

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I also write extensively about Pret having hired the prestigious and expensive Barbican Venue in the spring of 2017 (after Natasha’s death and the NY lawsuit) to do a one (or two week) seminar. Pret hired the Barbican to do a seminar on customer service for all Leaders and Managers to take back to their Teams to train them. I can’t remember if it was two weeks, but it was certainly one week all day every working day. This seminar was all about how to lure customers in and kiss butt to increase profit, and to gain and retain customers. There was NO mention whatsoever on allergen and labelling. Nothing whatsoever! It wasn’t even mentioned that a customer has died. That’s how Pret “fully” trains staff after a customer has died! Irony off!

This seminar was AFTER the open letter from Alicia Turrell, AFTER the man in New York sued Pret and most tragically AFTER Natasha died.

Pret could and should have put on the emergency brakes and reshuffle the theme of the seminar and could have easily spent the money on allergen experts to teach us on allergen.

Pret also started to implement labelling machines for expiry dates for the kitchen in 2017, back of house, BUT NOT machines for allergen labelling for shops and customers, front of house.

One reason I believe also why Pret wasn’t keen on doing ingredient labelling on the packaging is because Pret claimed that their food is “natural”. But after ASA and a lawsuit challenged Pret (there’s a new lawsuit on this now again in NY), Pret took the word “natural” off their signage and packaging. Pret’s food was found to contain the “nasty” chemicals that Pret claimed wasn’t there, including GMOs and Glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now under Bayer, have been sued by thousands of people in the U.S., having to pay billions of dollars in compensation.

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Link

Again, I am writing as a former front-line shop employee with 10 years experience, most of which was as a Team Leader. Sure, I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived. But I am deeply offended that Pret didn’t even tell us about customers having died. I learnt like everybody else via the press after the inquest into Natasha’s death. And I’m further offended that Pret didn’t put on the brakes and had urgency about labelling and allergen, training and re-training us! I and my colleagues continued to be the next potential “Roberto Rodriguez” where our words and actions could have endangered more customers and the blame would have been on us. And like Natasha’s father Nadim said that the food labelling laws “played Russian Roulette” with his daughter’s life.

Pret that boast themselves to be front runners and trail blazers in issues, ignored multiple warnings and subjected us staff to partake in the Russian Roulette. And I can absolutely understand Roberto Rodriguez having dived under and not letting solicitors find him. He was blamed, but my argument is, was he really fully trained or did he just sign the training records out of pressure? Roberto is in a pickle: he can’t admit that he wasn’t fully trained if he signed the training records without having been trained. It’s a lose-lose for staff.

I took Health and Safety extremely seriously, and I was known to take it very serious. I got on my colleagues’ nerves as I was always on their cases, including Managers, to keep fire exits clear, to keep fire extinguishers clear for easy access, to immediately take the yellow “caution wet floor” sign when there was a spillage on the floor while we were getting the mop, FIRST put the caution sign down on top of the spillage and THEN get the mop etc.

My colleagues were always annoyed with me being on their cases, as well as telling them to NOT stretch dates of expired foods etc. etc. etc. To then learn that customers have died and been injured and NOT being informed and NOT being trained or re-trained more thoroughly is so offensive to me. Pret is micromanaging and EASILY penalize staff on even the smallest issues. And yet, they failed US as staff more than we could have ever failed them!

Clare Clough, now UK Managing Director, was tasked to face the press on Pret’s lack of action, via Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ITVTonight/status/1068123662556061696

Part of the interview from November 2018:

Ranvir Singh, ITV: “How can people trust Pret when you still don’t have full allergy labelling on every item in all your stores?”

Clare Clough: “Pret takes this incredibly seriously. We immediately put allergy alert stickers on to all of our products, so that customers would have on every single product they bought from Pret, information on how to easily find the allergen information that they needed.”

Ranvir Singh: “Immediately when?”

Clare Clough: “Following the inquest.”

Ranvir Singh: “Right, so two years after Natasha’s death. … Which doesn’t sound very immediate to me.”

Clare Clough even goes on to say:

“We were already adding allergen information to the shelves where people choose the products, when we were first made aware of Natasha’s death.”

Repeat: “We were already adding allergen information to the shelves where people choose the products, when we were first made aware of Natasha’s death.”

And YET, Roberto Rodriguez LOOKED at the labelling on the shelves to see if sesame was included in 2017 and did NOT see sesame, and thus unbeknownst to him misinformed customer Isobel Colnaghi, who then suffered an allergic reaction also to sesame, narrowly surviving!

So, either Clare Clough wasn’t truthful and product labels on the fridges were not labelled, or she didn’t know that Pret did NOT label, or Pret labelled some products and missed other products like the item that Isobel Colnaghi chose.

Pret is cleared now, and the blame is stuck on Roberto Rodriguez. A low-wage foreign worker, who has to live with the blame of a customer’s allergy reaction that would have almost been the third fatal reaction to a Pret product.

Link to Tweet from 2018

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A list of my blog posts about the ongoing mislabelling, chronic under-staffing, staff reviews on lack of training, high pressure, bullying, unpaid over time, fast pace environment etc. etc.

Mislabelling: Vegetarians and Vegans Eat Meat at Pret

My detailed report on HOW MESSY and chaotic Pret’s labelling system was before they started labelling in 2019: Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Lack of training in Pret and how staff are pressured to sign training records without being trained (I also explain this in my below audio player interview from 2018 at about 1:13:00): Roberto Rodriguez – Pret Allergen Trial

Pret hiring the Barbican for customer service training in 2017, but not for allergen or labelling: Be Kind, Honest, Generous – Pret’s Seminar on Customer Service

Pret’s Bullying Culture and High Pace: Caught in the Act at Pret

Undercover in Pret, Wrong allergy labels and wasted food: Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

»Worked Into the Ground without Empathy at Pret«

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

How Pret make Profit from the Coffee Subscription

Several customers, including a The Times journalist, have ask how Pret can make a profit from their “generous” subscription offer.

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Link

And another recent question on reddit:

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I explain in detail, click on the picture to read on reddit or on the link underneath:

Link

UPDATE June 2022

A customer cancelled her subscription in August 2021 and realized now that Pret continued to charge her, altogether £210. From all the complaints I’ve seen on social media, there have been several who were charged 3, 6+ months after cancellation, but this is the longest, almost 9 months. And not all customers complain publicly, only Pret know how many complain via email/DM or try to get through via phone where Pret customer service rarely picks up.

If people have enough or a lot of money in their bank account, it will take a long time to notice that the odd £20 goes missing every month, except if they check their accounts regularly like I do, as I have been overcharged on several occasions. Clever thieves who steal credit card details often don’t wipe the bank account out of all its funds, but they withdraw or make purchases of small amounts over a long period of time until the account holder realizes.

Same with Pret. Take a little here and there from MANY customers over a long period of time, that’s how they make profit. Pret should seriously get investigated by financial standard and trading standard bodies.

Link

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Pret A Manger Furnace

Customers continue to raise the issue of under-staffed shops with queues out the door. Exhausted staff who slave for minimum-wage while Pret made a big PR announcement to be raising pay to £10 (from April on) while having cut pay during the pandemic, cut benefits and paid breaks. Workers are worse off while Pret do their usual “charity” PR stunts again.

And before anyone compares and comes with the “argument” that you don’t get your breaks paid, try to work on your feet for 8, 10, 12+ hours straight every day under intense stress, noise, heat, tinnitus, angry leader, bullying manager, mystery shopper commenting that you didn’t smile, frustrated customers who complain that their coffee took 2 minutes etc. etc. etc. Try working in that environment, all while HAVING to smile or not get mystery shopper bonus. Staff should get their breaks paid again and more than a flipping living wage. I write extensively about Pret’s micromanaging, strict and plainly abusive mystery shopper scheme here: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Pret silenced a staff member’s strike announcement which rallied a lot of support from customers via the media. Let me rewind to 2020.

At the start of the pandemic, just before first lock-down, Pret did a nasty PR stunt again. Pret announced on 18. March 2020 to give free coffees and 50% rebate for NHS staff, which of course turned into a big media event with countless customers complimenting Pret on their “generosity” and ethical attitude. Well …

The very next morning on 19. March 2020 I received a desperate message from a staff member unbeknown to me, that CEO Pano Christou has sent an email to all shops early morning on 19. March to announce cuts to staff.

Pret used NHS staff for PR and as a smokescreen to hide cuts to staff. I was sent the CEO’s email by another staff member and published it here: Plea to NHS Employees.

In a nutshell, low-wage front-line Pret workers paid for the NHS freebies. Companies like Pret always take it from the lowest to do their marketing scheme for the public. I passed this on to the press immediately and went on a social media spree to inform as many NHS workers as I could find.

Only 1 NHS staff was outraged as far as I could find. I’m sure there are more. But most NHS workers loved the freebies, with nor care about Pret staff.

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Link

In the following months Pret fired 3000 staff, cut hours, cut pay, cut benefits and stopped paid breaks while executives worked safely from home or socially distanced in air conditioned head office. And they continued to received a juice bonus package. If not, Pret would have “proudly” announced that executive pay and bonuses were cut, as Pret is always FAST to make huge PR announcements.

The same with donating £50.000 to Ukraine which is peanuts for Pret. Many shops make £50K in two days, some even in one day! In contrast to that, former CEO Clive Schlee received £30 MILLION on bonus for himself alone. We can only speculate how much all the other executives and share holders pocket, even during the pandemic!

I explain WHY and WHEN Pret always make big “charity” announcements including the interesting timing of Pret’s £1000 announcements to all staff back in 2018: Pret’s Charity Projects.

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Link to Daily Mail report.

They then made the cuts permanent which caused a huge public outcry via the media. One brave staff member made the strike announcement but was quickly silenced because Pret played a trick on them. I explain here: Pret Staff Announce Strike.

Two tweets from only today from 2 different shops within an hour from each other. And Pret always ask customers to DM with more info claiming to be “so concerned to read this” as if Pret isn’t aware of the stress THEY cause from head office. Especially on weekends shops have maximum 3 staff, if they’re lucky 4. I worked like this in different Pret shops, and that before the pandemic. But now it’s much much worse. So, Pret ask for DM to lure customer data for future marketing.

More customer complaints and staff reviews in below YouTube slides including some stern words from Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha.

I use YouTube because not everyone wants to read long blog posts and because Facebook/Instagram completely censored/blocked my website after Pret and die-hard Pret fans reported me. But they can’t block YouTube!

This customer tweet hits the nail on the head!

Link

Link

Link

Link

Long queues and customers started to boycott:

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Staff reviews and Nadia Sawahla’s words after Pret made temporary pay-cuts permanent:

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Some of many staff reviews from before the pandemic:

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The MOST poignant staff review from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in serving customers. There is no better worded review I have ever come across regarding work at Pret:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

French-run London bakery accuses Pret A Manger of ‘bullying’ over demand for name change

Yep, sounds just like Pret!

Evening Standard: French-run London bakery accuses Pret of ‘bullying’ over demand for name change

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

I was Team Leader Responsible for Health & Safety but Pret did NOT tell us of Allergen Deaths

Please click on above Spotify logo to listen to a converted voice version of below text.

I want to link to several posts I wrote from a behind the scenes perspective having worked at Pret A Manger when two customers died. The first fatality was 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from unlabelled sesame in a baguette. The second customer was mother of 5 Celia Marsh who died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap.

It is still not clear whose responsibility Celia Marsh’s death was, if the non-dairy yogurt supplier or Pret.

I know from experience that it is super easy to hastily grab the wrong products in Pret as shops have always been under-staffed to maximize profit, and many are foreign workers who can take the wrong ingredient in a hurry. Staff are penalized if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the speed of assembling sandwiches.

I want to keep this short here and only link to the posts with certain issues I have experienced first hand. I continue to highlight that under-staffing shops is dangerous. And Pret continue to do so to maximize profit, even before the pandemic. Burnt-out staff are bound to make dangerous mistakes.

Some people say that I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived as staff, and that’s why I write on all sorts of issues. My response to this is, it takes immense wrong doing for someone to speak out extensively and “whistle-blow” on wrong doing. If I was “just” a disgruntled former employee, I would have never started a blog. This is not about being disgruntled, this is about my own survival from this company and why Pret remain dangerous to people’s health.

I need to stress that I was a Team Leader of the shop floor responsible for a host of things like running the shops (opening or closing), ordering stock, counting money at the end of the day, checking temperature of cooling equipment, looking after the staff, striving that we had high scores in Mystery Shopper visits etc. etc.

A Team Leader in Pret is really like a mini-manager! they do EVERYTHING except hiring and firing. They are the true managers who run the shops. Same with kitchen Team Leaders, they run the kitchens.

But one of the responsibilities and job description of Team Leaders is health and safety. I myself took that extremely serious as I had many years experience in the hospitality industry in three countries.

I was known by colleagues to get on their nerves when I saw spillage on the floor and I stressed to first grab the yellow caution sign before getting the mop. Or the emergency exits even having the slightest item blocking it. Or the emergency calling cord that’s hanging to the floor in toilets and was tangled up. I always untangled it and re-trained everyone to keep checking that the chord is always loosely hanging on the floor easy to pull should someone be lying on the floor etc. etc.

This was not my managers training me to keep an eye on, this from my experience outside of Pret where I was TRULY trained!

I stress the Team Leader health & safety responsibility because Pret is extremely strict with many issues, but also with a lot of unimportant issues. But Pret did not only NOT tell us, especially Team Leaders, that not one, but two customers died and several got injured, there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious with labelling and allergen. Absolutely nothing! I am still very angry about this because Pret left us basically in the Wild West that if something happened, it’s our fault because they basically didn’t break the law at the time.

A list of issues I expand on in great detail:

Be Honest, Kind, Generous – Seminar on Customer Service. I start with a seminar that Pret did at the Barbican in spring 2017, a year AFTER Natasha died. But the seminar was NOT about allergen or labelling, it was about how to lure customers further to keep coming back spending money.

Vegans and Vegetarians Eat MEat at Pret with many photos by customers. Pret shops still mislabel products even in 2022 due to under-staffed, stressed out workers having to rush. Picture in the heading is a pot of mayonnaise sold as Bircher muesli. A stressed, rushed staff took the MAYONNAISE bucket instead of the dairy yogurt bucket. EASILY done!

A staff could have grabbed the dairy yogurt instead of the non-dairy yogurt for the vegan wrap that Celia Marsh died from.

Link

Pret’s labelling Committment? How staff easily mistake products due to under-staffing and rushing.

Pret do not label food in Dubai and Paris in 2021 and maybe other countries where there are insufficient labelling laws. Customers complain to Pret on social media with photos. Most likely there are no laws like the UK law “Natasha’s Law” since October 2021. Should a customer die in Dubai or Paris, Pret will again blame the local laws.

Pret Hygiene Rating 2/5. Many customers complain on filthy shops and London City Airport has scored 2 out of 5 in a December 2021 EHO visit on pest and hygiene issues. Again, under-staffed shops where staff are pushed to work fast to get products out but have no time to clean. Pret has never paid overtime while giving staff purposely very little time to do the job, then forcing them to work for free. Many staff walked out of Pret now.

Photos and videos of flies, maggots, rat droppings etc. in Pret food, as well as mice and ants running around including on food etc. Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot via YouTube:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Fans & Media HOLD YOUR HORSES!

Pret’s in shambles alright. But above picture by @Ruffbinta on Twitter, where Storm Eunice knocked at Pret’s door a little too hard, is a good metaphor how Pret is a shadow of their past PR glory. Though, they’re still able to fool the public with a smiley front.

So, relax! Pret won’t go bust! Take a deeeeep breath and have some soothing camomile tea on the house. You’re just being fooled again. This is just their usual way to use the media to make people believe Pret’s crocodile tears!

In Germany they have a saying, “In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen”. Loosely translated, “In times of crisis, the devil eats flies”.

In other words, in unprecedented times we do things we’d NEVER EVER thought we’d do in “normal” times. We would even eat flies if it keeps us alive.

The problem here though is, Pret is NOT in trouble! They are doing the USUAL thing of using the media to keep luring customers in.

I explain this in the “Tränendüse” post from 2020 when CEO Pano Christou did a clever PR stunt using The Guardian.

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Every link I post below shows evidence of how Pret keeps tricking the public.

Pret is desperate for customers. And what BETTER way to get customers in than saying, “We are about to close down if you don’t come and wait for 15 minutes to be served by our understaffed minumim-wage workers while we refuse to pay taxes and are busy counting our money … Hey boo, come on, buy our fertilizer.”

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Link to @Karatee’s photo.

All the customers who not only boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again (for lowering wages, coffee subscription issues, poor quality coffee and food, customer allergen deaths and injuries etc.), Pret wants to get back by squeezing their tears into a throw-away cup in hopes people return in droves.

Pret is back 93% pre-pandemic levels, but hey, someone needs to foot the bill for the loans Pret took out and all the lawsuits they’re hit with, including the recent settlement for FINGERPRINTING staff in Illinois agreeing to pay 800 staff a combined $677,000 (after lawyers take their share around $500 per staff)!

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LawStreetMedia.com

And at least 6 further lawsuits in the million for unpaid rents in the USA.

Give Pret 6-12 months, if not less, and they’re soaring again higher than before.

And most importantly, they still sleep well at nights.

Telegraph: “Pret scrambles to delay loan payments over ‘going concern’ warning – Coffee chain has until June to repay £66.7m after pandemic borrowing”

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Link to Telegraph article.

UPDATE: 19.02.2022

The comment section shows a lot of insight into private equity. Some people aren’t fooled by this.

Quote from Hercule Smith: “This is a non story. The PE sharks are just running their business in their normal fashion: drowning in debt to negate tax (until just before they want to refloat it, when debt will just marginally reduce). They’ll drop in more equity when they have no choice, unless they spot a chance to dump the debt via a pre-pack or similar.”

Another quote: “How do you issue a warning and say you are continuing to expand?”

Bingo! As the above person already explained about the private equity sharks, Pret received £100 million from shareholders to open 200 more shops within 3 years. This will now be doubled to £200 million. Pret also received £185 million from owners JAB Holdings in tax-haven Luxembourg as well as the support from the government during furlough etc. There is NO plan to pay debt!

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Another person wrote what I also thought yesterday, quote: “If they are struggling to pay £60m this year how on earth would they pay £600m next. As for trading at 93% od pre pandemic level I find that hard to believe.”

Exactly! Especially also with all the lawsuits and settlements, Pret have no urgency to pay any debt. I also find it hard to believe that Pret made 50 million coffees on the subscription. They claim 50 million cups on Instagram and Facebook but NOT on Twitter because more people would call Pret out on Twitter than Instagram & Facebook. And the press is more active on Twitter but not elsewhere.

Here one customer calling Pret out on their BS on IG which I posted on Twitter:

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Link to IG

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Love-Bombing from Pret A Manger Low-Wage Staff

I have written already extensively on Pret A Manger’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme including slides on YouTube. Someone last winter linked to my blog from Wikipedia, after I wrote a lot about my experience in Pret with the Mystery Shopper scheme and I kept mentioning Timothy Noah’s excellent article, “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger“. But the Wiki editor deleted the link again. I don’t know who put my blog on Wiki or why it was then removed.

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But after 2018, after the customer deaths became known, Wikipedia updated a lot of information they didn’t have before, like the first Pret being opened in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman NOT in 1986 etc. Pret keep it away from the public that Jeffrey Hyman was the first to open Pret and have now even put signs on Pret shops with a simple “London 1986”.

A friend of Jeffrey Hyman alleged on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Hyman’s info off Wikipedia!

Link

A lot of info has been taken from my blog as usual, while Wiki remains out-dated on Pret issues. But that’s for another post.

I want to highlight again Pret’s humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme, but instead of a long blog post (don’t bank on it!), I want to link to my page with certain posts and YouTube slides I’ve already published. I use YouTube and keep adding to a playlist on a variety of issues, as Facebook and Instagram completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. But they can’t block YouTube! ‹^› (°_°) ‹^›

The press now KNOW about Pret’s emotional labour scheme but don’t want to elaborate on it as they always like to avoid having to mention my blog from where they got the initial info from. So, I keep updating customers who are still fooled that minimum-wage workers seem happy in an unforgiving stressful, noisy, hot, straining work environment.

Many customers are grateful to learn of this, some other customers cuss me out or communicate in other passive aggressive ways that they don’t want to know about this. They are p!ssed off because I destroy their illusions that staff actually smile for bonus and £100 cash rewards and NOT because they are in love with the customer or are happy working at Pret!

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Many middle-aged people are especially annoyed when they learn of the Mystery Shopper requirements, because they love to flirt with low-wage staff (for free coffee or just because they can). Some even LOVE it that staff are exploited this way and seem to get a kick out of it. Others have expressed their “reliance” of being “emotionally” cared for by poorly paid staff, who are exploited to meet the emotional needs of customers so that these customers return again and again to spend more money.

Customers become “reliant” on the emotional attention of low-wage staff as if workers are psychologists or emotional “prostitutes”. Customers have become conditioned to get their emotional fix from hospitality workers and workers have become accustomed to sell emotions on top of food in order to top up their low pay. I still cringe at this having had to distort my feelings for extra cash and to not get fear managed when a Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile, even when I was sick. Staff are not paid the first 2 – 3 days sick leave, depending on their age, even when they have a sick note.

I had to constantly make a decision if to stay home to get well but lose money, or go to work sick and risk that my Team didn’t get the bonus because I coughed!

Mystery Shopper excerpt when I coughed and therefore couldn’t smile:

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

I was reprimanded in the office later by my boss after this report came in. I also didn’t “feel cheerful” enough to smile after I buried my brother and Pret bullied me to keep performing emotional labour and refused to place me in the kitchen. I literally begged managers to please put me in the kitchen for a day or week where I didn’t need to smile. But they often refused because I was too slow in the kitchen but very fast and efficient in the shop.

I had to suppress my grief and keep smiling. After my shift I often headed for the bridge. Well Pret, I survived to tell my story!

Important to note as well that Pret staff have 60 seconds (sometimes Pret changes it to 90 seconds) to serve a customer, also to get the coffee ready into customer’s hands, and on top of that staff are demanded to stroke people’s emotions on the go!

If a staff or the Barista takes longer than 60-90 seconds, they risk also not getting Mystery Shopper bonus as Mystery Shoppers time them to the second while expecting PERFECT coffees, smiles, chatting, eye contact …

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Link to article.

UPDATE: On my podcast I talk in detail how the Pret mystery shopper scheme works. As WordPress also censor me and now don’t allow embeds, just click on the link or copy paste into a new window: https://anchor.fm/expretdotorg/episodes/Pret-A-Mangers-Strict-Mystery-Shopper-Scheme-e1ho40a

Or check Spotify:

Many more customer comments via the below YouTube l slides.

I received many Mystery Shopper “outstanding cards” (£50 cash reward) and “super outstanding cards” (£100 rewards when the scores were perfect) and many customer compliments for my service. But inside I was burnt out and later suicidal after my brother died. Pret continued to demand that I smile. I was reprimanded by management, including an area Manager after the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile.

The Mystery Shopper didn’t know that I just buried my brother, but Pret knew. It didn’t matter. No mercy.

Since I publicly write on this, highlighting certain sentences from the Mystery Shopper reports, Pret has changed the wording to avoid criticism.

Excerpt of previous Pret Mystery Shopper questions which Pret has now changed to more general questions:

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Quote, I highlight/bold a few things:

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

Little but important side note, an individual Pret staff serves an average of 300-500 customers per 8 – 10 hour shift depending on the busyness of the shop and their position. Hot Chefs, Baristas, Kitchen Staff of course serve less people as they have their job roles cut out for them. Pret demands that staff bend backwards like acrobatic clowns and what I call as “emotional prostitutes” to draw customers in emotionally to spend more money.

Further:

Quote:

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”

Mystery Shopper: “The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making a friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

Where possible? Maybe it wasn’t possible because Team Members were FOCUSED on their JOBS for which they were paid for. Bonus is at the discretion of Mystery Shoppers and Managers. it’s a bonus, not a required wage! Yet, in this they are bullied and fear managed THE MOST!

It’s a lose-lose for staff. They are focused on their jobs for which they were hired and paid to fulfill, and if they wouldn’t be doing their jobs, they would be penalized for not cleaning, stocking up etc. And customers love to flock to Twitter to complain that their tables weren’t wiped or there is no sugar stocked up. All the while Mystery Shoppers are demanded to probe if staff smile while bending backwards being FOCUSED on their jobs!

If they do their jobs, they are reprimanded for not smiling. If they smile and chat but then don’t have time to stock up or clean or a bit of toilet paper is on the floor etc., they are reprimanded for not doing their jobs. It does not matter AT ALL how well they work, how much they do, they are always penalized and bullied in a nutshell.

Only one of many such reviews, quote from Glassdoor review “Stressful“:

»Constantly understaffed and expected to clean the entire store and multitask like crazy because there is no one else to do it
Sometimes really hard to get the bonus because you work so hard to make the entire store presentable, clean and neat but if the mystery shopper comes during the busy lunch period when you are understaffed and have to stay on till and cannot leave it and tidy the shop floor and they then don’t give you the bonus because there was ‘toilet paper on the floor in the toilet that could have been tidied’. Or if there is a long queue until the door they complain that they were not served within a minute and a half of joining the queue which is ridiculous.«

So, now many shops have locked the toilets with “out-of-order” sign on it since months.

They go left, they’re penalized for not turning right. They turn right, they’re penalized for not turning left. They run, they’re penalized for not stopping. They stand still, they’re penalized for not moving … You get the picture! I know what I’m talking about, I survived this bullsh!t abuse!

If you, dear reader, really want to see the micromanagement and humiliation in how ONE staff made a silly mistake, resulting in the whole team not getting bonus, read THIS, especially at the bottom of the page!

But be warned, your illusions are going to really get fucked up!

And to further destroy illusions of Pret’s “generosity”, when a staff member gives a freebie, that is almost a guarantee to get the £100 cash reward from the Mystery Shopper. An example of this is at the very bottom YouTube player.

I am not a fan of chains and neither of Wetherspoons, but boss Tim Martin in his interview with Kirsty Young on Desert Island discs years ago, said something that pleasantly surprised me. I’ve put an excerpt of the interview on Soundcloud, click play:

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Pret boasts about recruiting staff for their personality rather than their skill. This sounds lovely doesn’t it! Yet, so many especially in leadership are clueless on how to do their jobs. But as long as they are like bouncing bunnies fulfilling customers’ emotional fixes, that’s all that Pret cares about.

Two customer deaths and 20+ allergen injuries has not taught Pret a lesson that SKILL is life saving, with or without a smile. I write about this in: Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal, where I dissect HR Director Andrea Wareham’s interview on this.

Again, please also read Timothy Noah’s brilliant article from a customer and journalist point of view! And you may say, why don’t staff just get another job? Well, this question is for psychology and experienced service workers to answer in how fear management, brainwashing and inexperience with exploitation in low-wage jobs work.

And if you as a customer would ask any Pret staff if they’re happy working there, of course they will say YES with a BIG smile, because they fear you could be the Mystery Shopper! Even regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers and staff ALWAYS anticipate them walking into the shop at anytime.

I renamed the Mystery Shopper to “Misery” Shopper also because these are often people who ENJOY their power to withdraw or give bonus. I once signed up on a Mystery Shopper Forum where secret shoppers mingled and exchanged experiences of their jobs.

I explained to them our ordeal and how excruciating it is to have to love-bomb customers to get extra cash EVEN when we are bereaved, depressed, ill etc. Nine out of ten Mystery Shoppers on that forum were merciless and said that it is our jobs to smile no matter what. They absolutely enjoyed the power they had over minimum-wage staff. That’s why I dedicated my blog post on Timothy Noah’s article naming him a “hero” in my book! As a journalist he dared to take a more critical look at Pret back in 2013 when no journalist dared to critique Pret.

A thorough and extensive list on Pret’s emotional labour demands via weekly Mystery Shoppers can be found here, with links to Mystery Shopper reports, my own experience, YouTube and journalists reports: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Here I want to briefly highlight a few things again. I will now abbreviate Mystery Shopper to MS.

Since I write about Pret’s MS scheme, Pret has put some info into shops to quickly counter any critique and “admit” they do MS requirements, but they fail to explain how micromanaging and humiliating it is. Again, for thorough detail, see above “Dangers of Emotional Labour” page to the links.

After a strike announcement was made in August 2021, Pret quickly reinstated the hourly staff bonus from 50p to £1 starting in September 2021. Now Pret announced that the bonus will be £1.25 from April on when the government raises the minimum wage, forcing Pret to pay a few pennies more to LOOK generous.

I explain in detail why reinstating the bonus is a TRICK: Pret Staff Consider Strike.

In short:

Shop/kitchen hourly paid staff SOLELY rely on their weekly bonus via the weekly Mystery Shopper visits AND shop Managers moods.

Until April 2022 a staff member can earn an extra £1 per hour IF the MS is happy enough to give it. If a staff member works let’s say 60 hours that week, he/she will get £60 bonus that week if the MS is happy to give it. From April 2022 it will be £1.25 p/h. But even if the MS awards the bonus, the shop Managers have the discretion to NOT give the bonus for ANY silly reason. I explain in detail in above “Strike” post.

I and colleagues have been threatened by management that our bonus will be cut for any and all silly reason I explain in detail. Thus, Pret is using the bonus system to penalize staff and save money. Some staff have left reviews on Glassdoor and/or Indeed explaining that the bonus is used as a “weapon” or that achieving MS bonus has become extremely hard due to understaffed shops. Teams have lost bonus because there was a little toilet paper on the floor in the toilet, regardless if the shops are understaffed.

THAT IS WHY many shops have just CLOSED the toilets with an “out-of-order” sign on the door, as they don’t have staff to keep it clean and thus not get bonus.

It’s a lose-lose for shops! It does NOT matter how much they bend backwards and forwards, Pret penalize and bully them via the strict and unreasonable Mystery Shopper scheme. In hindsight after what I have survived in Pret, I really really believe that Pret executives and head office including HR literally ENJOY treating staff like this. Leadership that abuse their power over minimum-wage staff.

Managers also coerce young inexperienced Team Members to have sex in exchange for promotion. Sure, you may say, that’s a hefty allegation, but what world do you live in where your illusions get the better of you? Abuse in low-wage jobs is rife EVERYWHERE in the world. You know that! It was often an open secret what Manager got into their position via the bedroom! Sad for a sandwich shop! You expect that in law firms and politics or the music industry, but a sandwich chain? Really sad.

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Link to review on Glassdoor.

Or Luton Airport management:

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Link to review on Indeed.

Quote: “… Only sad thing was the whole sleep with a manager to get to where you want. Sadly it was the case for who was my assistant manager and main manager at the time. A lot of staff were very angry at this happening but that was not for me to dwell on. I looked past it.”

People have sex in the staff room because the shop offices have hidden cameras after Managers would have sex in the offices.

Shop Managers, Assistant Managers, Area Managers and above get their bonuses quarterly. But their bonus relies on a host of things like shop profits, waste management, labour costs, health and safety scores etc. But the biggest chunk in management bonus comes from the Mystery Shopper scores.

So, while shop/kitchen hourly paid staff solely rely on Mystery Shoppers and Managers to get their bonus, Managers and higher ups have more chances to get their bonuses. Thus, penalizing front-line, low-wage employees is much easier than Managers. This way they can control staff better while cashing in on the top levels.

Anyway, for anyone who loves to live in the real world and doesn’t mind to get their illusions destroyed, I wrote an encyclopedia on Pret’s “Misery” Shopper scheme with tons of examples and MS reports detailing the point and cash reward requirements.

So, next time a minimum-wage worker is love-bombing you, you won’t need to toss and turn at night thinking they’re in love with you. They just want to top up their crumbs that millionaire executives throw at them.

Smile For The Misery Shopper:

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After my writing on this, Pret changed the wording, but the demands remain as brutal as ever:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Sourcing New Lies (UPDATE Mar. 2022)

As Pret is raising the coffee subscription price from £20 to £25 a month, some customers announced cancelling their sub (good luck!). Some mention that they continue to NOT get any smoothies/frappes, even now in winter, no chai latte available etc. Pret of course continue to use excuses while in reality don’t want to serve any expensive items, including the complimentary cream on the sub. I write about this extensively in Pret A Manger keep adding excuses for not serving items

Also, Pret played a very clever tactical game. They raised the prices of food and other items these last few weeks, so customers quickly got the coffee subscription in hopes to safe money on raised coffee prices. Pret waited a few weeks so more customers subscribed, then now raise the sub prices. And it is common knowledge now that Pret make is hard to unsubscribe! And even when people succeed to cancel the sub, Pret continue to withdraw money from accounts. More on this below.

Between June and September 2021 Pret came up with yet another lie after multiple complaints kept coming in about lack of smoothies and frappes. Pret held people for fools, and most fell for it.

The lie was that they’re “sourcing improved equipment” but that this will take “a little while to deploy to every shop”. What Pret is NOT telling customers is that the GENERAL term of “equipment” are NOT ice machines or blenders, but the Cimbali coffee machines. Pret again leave it up to customers to interpret new improved “equipment”.

Customers keep speaking about ICE MACHINES and BLENDERS, NOT coffee machines! Pret wants to give COFFEES on the subscription NOT expensive iced drinks and chai latte etc. So a general term of “equipment” should fool the public.

Grass has grown over this and complaints continue now in WINTER 2022 Februrary that hardly any customer can find a smoothie or frappe where the demand is VERY low in the cold weather. Pret still refuse to serve it to safe money and continue to rip customers off via the subscription.

June Tweet:

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Link

The last of this generic copy & paste lie came in September 2021:

Link

It’s now February 2022.

Companies who work with Pret usually make huge announcement of equipment roll-outs. Coffee machine company Cimbali and others announced on all social media platforms that Pret has purchased new coffee machine equipment.

Interesting that there is NO announcement of ice machine or other equipment for iced drinks. 😉 The faster coffee machines are there of course to do MORE coffee for the subscription! But no iced drinks are offered. Also, what do faster more efficient coffee machines do when there is hardly any staff to man them!

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Link

So, the Pret social media staff spoke a half-truth. Pret DID roll out new “equipment”, but for coffee beans, not for ice machines or blenders, and neither for more staff to work to get the queues down.

And when complaints flood in about where the equipment is, Pret will claim that they meant the coffee machines. Thus the customer is the one looking stupid again.

UPDATE 24.03. 2022

A new lie has emerged which is so funny I almost peed myself laughing! A shop supposedly got a new blender but with only ONE jug. Well, that is impossible because in Pret we were ALWAYS required to have at least TWO separate jugs for dairy and a separate jug for non-dairy (smoothies). We even got stressed to use the appropriate lids. The dairy jug had its own lids and the smoothie jug has its own lid, EVEN when they were washed, we were required to use appropriate lid for each jug.

And Instagram is also on fire with new complaints regarding no iced drinks served.

Link

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Another lie Pret gives which is also laughable. In the summer Pret claims that due to HIGH demand, they quickly run out of iced drinks (even at 7am in the morning 😉 ). Now the lie is, in winter due to LACK of demand … 😀

I worked at Pret as a Team Leader, like a mini-manager, responsible for ordering stock every day. I worked for 10 years in 30+ shops, we NEVER EVER EVER ran out of iced drinks in WINTER! Not even in the summer. We were always instructed to have plenty in stock, which we did! It was EXTREMELY rare, even in the summer that we ran out of ONE item, then we offered another iced drink. And especially in Winter, there is NO way shops don’t order enough or ran out! Complete Bullsh!t and lies! So, Pret continue to hold customers for fools.

Tweets from just today:

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Link

Pret raise the subscription price while offering sh!t service and VERY limited products. Even the BBC report from December 2021 of 5000 customer complaints doesn’t seem to change that. Only a HEAVY fine and the masses voting with their feet will get Pret’s attention.

BBC: “Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal”

Link

Pret won’t waste any time to source new lies to every customer.

NHS nurse Tweet:

Link

Pret is indirectly pinning customers against low-wage staff, saying £1.50 from the subscription increase will go to the staff pay-rise. So, customers get mad at staff, while in reality, Pret is greedy, using the crisis to fill their pockets again. The pay-rise to £10 which will come in April, and is NOT in effect now, is a joke anyway because Pret keeps all the benefits cut, staff are still worse off.

Also, Pret is hit with numerous lawsuits ringing up into the millions, especially in the USA. A recent class action Pret has settled on fingerprinting low-wage front-line shop staff for clocking in and out. Pret agreed to pay 800 staff a combined $677.000. Everyone will get approx. $500 after the legal Teams take their slice.

And who better to foot the legal bills than customers!

More here: Pret’s Lawsuits and Settlements

Dan Price, founder and CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments who lowered his million dollar wage to $70K a year and raised all his staff wages to $70K, made a good statement:

Link

UPDATE 07.02.2022

After getting challenged on their “supplier issue” excuse (Pret read my blog) as well with chai latte since almost a year as well as matcha latte, cream etc. (all expensive items for the subscription) they now use a broad, general excuse of “operational difficulties as a result of the pandemic”. A one-size-fits-all approach that cannot be traced for truth. Clever Pret. But still, customers aren’t stupid and remain unhappy. Many silently vote with their feet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2022-02-06-from-supplier-issues-now-to-operational-issues.jpg

Link

Pret A Manger’s Shady Practices, especially with the subscription and the difficulty to cancel the sub with Pret continuing to withdraw money AFTER people cancelled:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Prick A Manger — Pret A Manger’s Phallic Baguette

Okay, okay, I know what you think! What dirty mind do you have! But bare with me. Pun intended!

As customer complaints continue of Pret’s price hike, one customer pointed out how the baguettes have shrunk while prices have risen.

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Link

I want to point out something else here with Pret’s advertisements.

For one, Pret only use slim FEMALE hands in their advertising and mainly CAUCASIAN female hands. And the way the hands are holding a baguette or wrap has even other customers stunned.

Of course Pret will say it’s up to the customer in how to interpret Pret’s communications. When I worked at Pret and we had our training days in Head Office to become Team Leaders, we spoke about the calories in products. We were informed that the Posh Cheddar baguette had the highest calories, but that it is up to customers to decide what and how much to consume.

In other words, we say it’s healthy, while it’s loaded with salt, fats, chemicals, but you dear customer decide if you want to stuff yourself with out food. So, don’t complain later! This also happened in the lawsuit regarding Pret’s “natural” claim. Pret tried to get the lawsuit tossed out saying that paraphrased, customers should know that Pret’s food isn’t natural. I write on this in detail here at the bottom of the post: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

I will just put a few screenshots here, but people can check themselves what kind of ads Pret do, only using female, mainly white hands.

One customer pointed out on Instagram about the length of the baguette advertised that Pret enlarged. I worked at Pret for 10 years and NEVER seen this size baguette:

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The same ad on Facebook where a customer “omg’d” on it:

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Link

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Or an ad of a wrap:

Link

Also, a little side note, Pret is often cleverly using customer photos for their online ads. At times customers are “lucky” to get a month of free coffees for making free advertising or provide photos, other times customers have to ask for something. In reality, ads usually go for thousands of pounds especially when in print forever. But many are willing to give it freely to a multi-billion pound company making money off people’s photos and printed words.

And the monthly free coffees are of course via the subscription service that people have to sign up for! Win-win for Pret all the way! Coffees for Pret are extremely cheap. It costs Pret nearly nothing. One cup, including cup, lid, milk, labour etc. doesn’t cost more than 30-35p. Do the math on the profit margin and people easily selling out for cheap items in return for precious data (for marketing and to bind people to the brand) including intellectual property.

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Here, a customer is bold enough to ask for something for allowing Pret to use their photo, and yet after 3 weeks still hasn’t heard or received anything, while Pret collects data (home address, email) for future marketing:

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I also pointed out to Pret during Christmas time 2018 how unprofessional and CHEAP it is to use in-house staff for ads, when one photo showed quite poor, actually missing, manicure. Pret then deleted the Tweet, photo-shopped the picture and re-uploaded 11 days later. Now they seem to have gotten a better photographer, but it’s clear that the advertising people in Pret seem to be male.

Deleted Tweet from 10. Dec. 2018 which made me lose appetite:

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New Tweet from 21. Dec. 2018, photo-shopped and cropped whatever couldn’t get fixed 😀

Link

Even when zooming in on a 2021 ad for a wrap, the fingers are also look “rough” as if Pret used a kitchen staff for a free photo shoot.

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Why am I making such a fuss about it apart from being put off by poor manicure for food ads? Because Pret DEMANDS front-line, low paid shop staff to be PERFECT while under intense, unreasonable stress, and then in their highly paid marketing and digital departments at Head Office not delivering themselves!

Apart from that, I want to point out that Pret 9.9 out of 10 times use Caucasian, female hands and leave it up for interpretation what customers see in the photos.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger: »From the outside, it seems funny, on the inside, it’s a nightmare company«

I rarely check on staff reviews anymore like I used to, but sometimes a review jumps out, maybe almost for its “poetry”.

I wanted to call this blog post “Business Plan in Reversal” because the following review by a Barista sounds almost like a proposal or ad.

I want to put the whole review here verbatim but spread out for its creativity. I don’t want to highlight any specific issue like I usually do, because the WHOLE review would need to be underlined.

From Glassdoor. The title, to be frank of Pret not being the same anymore, well Pret has NEVER been good or fair, they just were able to fool everyone better during good/non-crisis times! And former CEO Clive Schlee was better in sweet-talking while Pano Christou puts his head in the sand and goes into hiding, pleasing ONLY the owners, shareholders and himself.

»Not the same company anymore

Pros
Free crap food and coffees if you care

Cons
A toxic environment that doesn’t stimulate growth.

From the outside, it seems funny, on the inside, it’s a nightmare company based on favouritism.

Its culture and values? Only mere advertisements.

Its promotions? Crap marketing strategies.

Its products? Coffees, frappes, food and beverages are ridiculously cheap for them and 4 times more expensive for people that pay their major expenses with health. Without considering that the majority of the staff in their shops don’t care about hygiene and food standards.

Its staff? Bossy frustrated slaves to the company that tries to take advantage of any person they hire.

They strive to mask the truth from people, that the only thing they care about is money. That is why they have wages to the limit, cutting on staff and driving those who work to quit.

Pret is not a company that cares for its employees anymore, nor for the people. In my experience, from 2019, I have worked over a year at Pret and in the end, I didn’t even receive the payment for the holidays accrued.

If you are looking for a well-paid job that makes you feel satisfied with what you do, then this is not a company for you. In my opinion, any other job would be better than Pret. I don’t recommend it at all.

Advice to Management

You should reconsider a few things if you want to save this company from failure.«

Link to review.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

When Life is too Hard that you keep up your Guard … Pret A Manger

Let’s have some FUN!

Yes, I can be light hearted and join some “fun” from time to time. But I can’t keep it just at a wishy-washy la la land situation. Fun here can be interpreted as wished!

A few “fun” things I tried to fling into the atmosphere from serious issues regarding Pret A Manger.

The Molly Goodfellow Pret Thread

Pret Poets Society

PRostitution in PRet

What does an Angel of Light look like?

The Pret A Manger Anthem

Former Pret CEO Clive Schlee is now Prohibited from entering a Pret

THE OLD pret a MANger AND THE SEA

How to Chase 3 Multi-millionaire Businessmen off Twitter

The Pret Love Treatment

Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot

Pret A Merde

Pret A Migraine

WOWing Pret Customers (Area managers sometimes give a staff member £10 or £20 when they see staff “wowing” at work incl. wowing customers. This is to manipulate other staff to do more. I still wow customers 😉 )

Happy Being-Awkward Day

Escape From Pret – The Inedible True Story

Pret’s Bang-Bang Rip-off Wrap

Pret’s Diverse and Reliable Soup Rota

Organic Coffins Natural Fools – Pret has a new fool

An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret

Pret Foundation Trust and Pret’s FALLEN STARS Program!

The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee (The £1000 Announcement)

Pret set aside £10.

Pret and “Broken Window Syndrome”

The 12 Days of Christmas … uhm, the 12 ways of Pret’s Mess!

Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendars 2019, 2020, 2021

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UNRELATED-ish TO PRET:

Ruin a Band Name by Removing 1 Letter

Ruin a Band Name with 1 Letter (removing OR adding OR exchanging a letter)

Ruin a Company with 1 CEO

Writing Challenges and Fun Stuff

Nothing more to come, because I’m done.

©2022 expret.org

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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:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger MISINFORMED the Press?

I received an email by a current Pret staff last night. This staff has given a “fake” email that doesn’t work, so I can’t respond to it. Some staff write with their true name and email, others with pseudonym but still a real email, and others want to completely be anonymous, which is fine. But if any current Pret staff read this, could you confirm if this is true or not? The full email verbatim, quote:

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Comment: »Hey! I am a Pret employee and I have been reading on the news that Pret will increase our salaries and benefits. This is true. However all the news I’ve read doesn’t make clear that those changes will be in place only from April!!
Even The Times says that this is our second pay increase in four months which is not true.
I believe those newspapers were misinformed on purpose.
It is ridiculous to announce a pay rise two months and half in advance!!!«

End of quote.

If this is true that Pret misinformed the press, then it truly is merely a PR stunt to lure workers in and make Pret look good again in the public eye because many customers boycott Pret after staff wages were cut to minimum-wage. And Pret is desperate for staff! The press played messenger again, like I mention in below post in my take on the pay-rise and why this is a joke: Pret’s new PR Stunt – payrise in Pennies.


UPDATE 30. April 2022:

I want to elaborate on some numbers in regards to pay.

  • CEO Pano Christou 2020 pay: £300,000 (more than UK Prime Minister) Source: The Times April 2022. Source: The Times.
  • UK PM pay: £161,401 Source: Politics.co.uk.
  • USA President pay 2021: $378,333 (2022 conversion rate £300,897). Source: Yahoo news.

Now, it’s interesting that CEO Pano Christou spilled the beans on his 2020 pay, but NOT on his 2021 and 2022 annual wage, let alone how many millions on bonus he got. Former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone. Source: Daily Mail.

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I think Pano doesn’t give details on his 2021 and 2022 pay because Pano, Pret, former CEO Clive Schlee etc. are always QUICK to make charity or any “good-doing” announcements for the public. Pano, Pret cut staff hours and then wages during the pandemic. They did that in a very nasty way. I write about this extensively on To NHS Staff.

But in a nutshell, on 18. March 2020, just before first lock-down, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% rebate on food to NHS workers. The public and press went ballistic with praise as usual. The very next morning on 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM from a Pret staff, whom I don’t know, that Pano has just sent a mass email to all shops and HQ to announce cuts to hours and with it pay. This is the very next day, early in the morning (probably sent late on 18. March 2020) Pano announced cuts to staff hours.

I was later contacted by other staff who sent me his email which I posted in above blog post which I addressed “To NHS Staff”. Pret did their usual nasty thing, doing PR announcements and even worse, using NHS staff as a smokescreen to hide cuts to own staff. I say it again what I said about this before, low-wage Pret staff basically paid for the NHS freebies and this PR stunt.

In above NHS blog post I posted a few customer comments on this. But this NHS worker was one of the very few who spoke out on behalf of Pret workers, most NHS staff enjoyed the freebies and didn’t give a toss who actually paid for it. It’s the same with all the free coffees, Pret don’t pay for it, they raise coffee prices to cover the cost. Same with the “free” plant-based milks, the week that Pret made vegan milks “free” was the same week they raised the coffee prices. You ALWAYS pay, one way or another, and most customers fall for it. The TImes made that clear as well: “Milking it: Pret a Manger’s dairy lovers pay for vegan surcharge“.

But to take from already low paid employees to give as a PR stunt to NHS staff takes a special breed of business people. Many call this “normal” business, no there’s nothing normal about that. In our society we’ve just been brainwashed to believe this is normal and good.

That’s why I emphasis some rare gems who speak out, like this NHS worker:

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Link

Link

After cutting contracted 35 hours to maximum 28 hours and managers contracted hours from 42.5 to 35 hours, Pret then also later made pay-cuts. Pret “asked” staff to TEMPORARILY get less pay, as if they had a choice. Many were fired, those who didn’t want to sign the new contract were let go. And then in 2021 Pret announced the pay-cuts to remain permanent. Staff were now on less contracted hours, while still working overtime for free, a very common thing in Pret, and also had their pay decreased to the national minimum pay of £8.91.

If Pano would have also taken a pay-cut during the pandemic, he would have announced his 2021 and 2022 pay to boast about his “charity“. But he only revealed his 2020 pay.

When the public got wind of the pay-cut, many customers on social media started to call Pret out and many not just boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again. Hello independents became the mantra. Even “celebrities” like Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha started speaking out. Mrs. Sawalha has over 500K followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK and Pret USA combined. Her words alone has lost Pret a lot of customers and staff turnover remains high.

Pret silenced a staff strike announcement in 2021 with a trick after The Guardan reported on the strike announcement. I explain hat trick Pret used, here: Pret Staff consider Strike.

Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret and some of the many staff reviews can be found in below YouTube video.

Back to some numbers:

UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds before April 2022 was £8.91, less for under 22 and even less for under 18 year olds.

UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds since April 2022 now is £9.50, less for under 22 and even less under 18 year olds. Needless to say that Pret love to employ under-aged workers and older experienced staff have to make up in unpaid overtime for the lack of skill and work experience young people come with.

In early 2022 when Pret learnt about the government minimum wage increase coming in April 2022, Pret made their typical PR announcement again on their website, not on Twitter because I and many others call them out on their bullsh!t on Twitter. Pret had the audacity to announce that they are having the highest payrise in their 36 year history to £10 and more. Source: Pret.com
But Pret did not mention that this will come in April 2022 and Pret lied again, it’s not £10 an hour, it’s £9.75 as found on job recruiting sites. Link on Twitter from 7. April 2022 AFTER the government raised the minimum wage to £9.50 and Pret claimed to have the biggest pay-rise to over £10.

Here the potential worker even has limited public transport:
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Link

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Pret have always paid a few pennies more, up to 25p, than the competition to appear generous and lure low-wage workers in. But staff have to work double and triple for it, and don’t get a payrise or promotion in many years. Even when staff go into a new higher role like barista, team leader etc. shop managers procrastinate the training, procrastinate the promotion, and with it procrastinate the higher pay.

MANY many staff members work in higher positions without the higher pay. I myself have been tricked by a manager who delayed my “graduation” to not pay me. She also broke a promise to give me the highest pay. When I confronted her and announced I’d be leaving if she doesn’t keep her promise, which she made with an old school handshake, she immediately promoted me and increased my pay to the promised highest rate. But then, she and her boss, the operations manager (OPs) transferred our kitchen assistant manager to another shop and we had no assistant manager anymore, and my work load increased. They basically retaliated by giving me part of the assistant manager’s job.

Pret staff over 22 years old starting pay £9.75 LINK

Pret is heavily into wage theft. I had to chase unpaid hours for years in every single shop I worked in. It was “normal” for me to have my separate spreadsheet, noting down how many hours I worked and how much I was paid. It is very normal for shop managers to take an hour here, and hour there, 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there from many staff members. It all adds up at the end.

Pret settled class action lawsuits TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workes combined almost $1 million each time. I write on this in Pret A Manger Wage Theft.


It is also very common that Pret does not pay the last week pay when staff leave. They did that to me, but I only noticed months after I left Pret because of the payout I received when Pret fired me, I didn’t notice that the last week is missing, also as my dad died at the time etc. My mind was occupied again from yet another blow. Some former staff mention the missing pay issues on review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.

Link to Glassdoor review.

Little side note, there’s a reason why Pret and even CEO Pano Christou have such low ratings. Former CEO Clive Schlee already left with a “legacy” and even before he “retired” in September 2019, he let Pano Christou already take over Glassdoor representation in July 2019 to avoid further “landslide” ratings.

When Schlee’s “retirement” was announced in June 2019 (while he remained in the background as Non-Executive Director until mid 2021, a customer on Twitter pointed out the poor ratings and reviews on Glassdoor.

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Link

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And days before Pano took over on Glassdoor:

Schlee’s “retirement” was in September 2019.

Since mid July 2019, typical Pret “leadership”, blame downwards, let lower ranks take over in critical times:

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So, if £9.75 or even if £10 is the highest pay-rise in 36 years, then it shows you how ridiculous and stingy Pret are, yet they are so used that the public falls for their bullsh!t, and employees are brainwashed and fear managed to look for better alternatives.

Journalists should go to Pret shops and ask staff directly. They may not get an answer as staff are instructed to refer journalists to Pret and not speak with them. But staff are frustrated and some may speak to the press nevertheless.

And here again a reminder on the public outcry last year after a strike was announced and Pret cutting pay to minimum-wage. Customers not only boycott, but many vowed to never set foot inside Pret again!

Two YouTube slides/videos within a playlist. I use YouTube because Facebook and Instagram have completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. So, I’m “forced” to reach out on other platforms. Just let the player continue after the first slide with all the customer boycotts, to the next video that will start automatically with Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret. Nadia basically highlighted – I paraphrase – how staff have carried Pret through the pandemic and as a thank you Pret cut pay down to minimum, as well as cutting benefits etc.

And Nadia Sawalha having half a million followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK & Pret USA have combined, Pret surely is desperate to do a PR stunt to fool the public AND potential employees again with the help of mainstream media:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret’s new PR stunt: Raising Wages in PENNIES calling it “Biggest” Ever Raise in 36 Years

PLEASE SCROLL TO 01. June 2022 UPDATE!
Pret are doing an ILLEGAL thing of NOT paying their staff today! For the second time!!!

Please also see my post on Pret’s WAGE THEFT and the class action lawsuits in the USA Pret settled TWICE within 4 years: Wage Theft in Pret.

Also upfront as a point of reference, Pret SILENCED a strike action that was announced by Twitter person @at_pret last year. Pret did that with a nasty TRICK! Explained here: Pret Staff Consder Strike Action (and how Pret silenced it fast). I never heard anything further from @at_pret even after they asked me and others for help.

Please also see an update from 08.06.2022 at the bottom.

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Here we are again, Pret with the help of mainstream media doing their usual PR stunt. Headlines saying that Pret raises wages the second time in months … or this being the biggest ever raise in Pret’s 36 year history … or calling it a pay “boost” … etc.

And upfront as a little side-note, it is telling that Pret made this announcement on their website and NOT anywhere on social media, but let the press announce it. Pret has recently deleted former staff comments and made commenting on their “We’re hiring” posts unavailable. So, they don’t make staff announcements anymore on social media, but use the press for it as Pret wouldn’t be able to keep up with deleting all those staff comments! Why? Here’s why with screenshots of deleted staff comments: Pret “Last Minute” Staff Shortages?

Calling 50p or even 90p etc. the “biggest ever” raise in 36 years is very telling how 1. greedy Pret is and 2. how easily fooled the public is with the help of mainstream media! And even Unions fall for this, assuming “victory” where there is none! Pret only always raised pay a few pennies when the government raised the minimum-wage. On their own, Pret did not raise wages, that’s why they may be calling these peanuts the biggest ever in 36 years. Quite a joke!

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UPDATE late night 01. June 2022

Pret A Manger’s “payroll error” cough cough … So, it really seems that Pret are in financial trouble, with the loans, lawsuits, debt etc. But again, taking it from the lowest paid employees, well keep sleeping well at nights Pano. You think you get away with this? Staff and friends of staff ALWAYS contact me when you do sh!t like this again!

Just recently I changed my Twitter profile text. And more than ever, it may become reality.

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For the 2nd time Pret is not paying their front-line low wage shop staff. So much to the “biggest” pay-rise in their 36 year (39 year > Jeffrey Hyman) history (PR stunt).

Private DM from staff:

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For people with visual impairment whose programs cannot read screenshots, part of the DM I received from a person on 01. June 2022 says, quote, “For the second time in around 2/3 months pret has failed to make weekly payments to their workers. The failures of prets payroll team today will leave workers unpaid for 5 days. … They have set up a support portal which is only available on Saturday, still leaving two days without pay.” End of quote.

The DM includes screenshots of Pret’s email to shops, not included HQ staff like they usually do, which means, this might only apply to the lowest paid staff on the front-line shops and kitchens.

The person further writes, quote: “This is literally devastating for workers who not only have bills to pay for but also may have plans over the bank holiday, and also with banks shut are unable to set overdrafts etc” End of quote.

And Pret do this AGAIN in a very sneaky way like they did with the NHS PR stunt in 2020. Pret do this during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend when all the press and everybody are distracted with the Queen. By the time anyone notices or responds, Pret already made money and delayed pay to please shareholders and JAB. Low-wage workers suffer YET again for Pret’s crooked greed!

Brief recap from 2020 just before first lock-down: Pret announced on 18. March 2020 freebies and 50% rebated to all NHS staff. The very next morning on 19. March, I received a DM from a Pret staff writing that CEO Pano Christou sent a mass email to all shops AND head office, announcing cuts to staff. I write about this here where I published Pano’s email: To NHS Staff.

Pret used NHS workers as PR and as a smokescreen to distract from the cuts. The same he does now again during the Queen’s Jubilee. The press are busy and distracted. Disgusting @&%!….

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Yesterday’s message, NOTE: Payment will be made on BANK HOLIDAY Monday!!! On a bank holiday? Pay can never be made on a bank holiday or Christmas/Easter holiday etc. Pret STEAL and LIE in broad daylight!

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UPDATE 22.06.2022

Quote from Propel Info who only report on sales and positive things of Pret, never of critical issues: “The return of London’s bankers to offices last week following school holidays and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday pushed sales at Pret A Manger in the capital’s financial districts close to a pandemic high.”

Sure, the numbers are up because Pret took pay from the staff over the Jubilee weekend, these crooks.

Link

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So, here’s the deal: Pret shop staff are NOT paid, and if they need money, there’s a fee which Pret are supposedly paying. We don’t know where to reach the government department, but this time a lawsuit is mounting.

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etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou, what you are doing is ILLEGAL!

Shop staff are paid every Thursday, and Pret cleverly use the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday to delay pay! I am beyond disgusted! There is no such thing as “payroll error” in advance, and then for the 2nd time! Pano, you got £300,000 in 2020, but haven’t spilled the beans on how much you got paid in 2021 and now in 2022, PLUS millions in bonus!

I have emailed Pano Christou and copied in journalists. The person who DM’d me, I have passed on emails of journalists to them and will get financial standards body and the government involved now!

STOP STEALING from low-wage workers!

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UPDATE 02. June 2022, after emailing journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian: “Pret workers short-changed as ‘payroll error’ delays jubilee wages”

Link

Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

A payroll employee calls Pret out on their bullsh!t, of course it’s inexcusable, because it’s a lie and an excuse in the first place. Pret should get investigated by financial authorities and the government.

Link

I emailed CEO Pano Christou copying in Sarah Butler and others, which resulted in above The Guardian article. I sent one last email to Pano Christou yesterday and published it here: My Last Email to Pret / Pano Christou.

For people who come to my blog for the first time, I write so openly and bluntly after having been bullied and targeted DURING bereavement in Pret. Pret offered me hush money, but I declined and never signed the NDAs offered. My full story at the bottom audio player and links.

UPDATE 03. June 2022 Staff begin to sabotage Pret which means customers will also suffer. Instagram message, quote from one person:

“This is outrageous, it’s a bank holiday week-end and your team members are working instead of enjoying themselves and you didn’t even pay them. You should not allow to have these technical issues as you push your staff to not do any mistake. And is not even the first time.” End of quote.

Response by a Pret worker I highlighted some words, quote:

“Don’t worry. We already drastically reduced food and service quality (since we work for free) and we will make sure Pret doesn’t make as much money as they think they will this bank holiday weekend. They told us 12 hours before payday that there is no money, on 1st of June when everybody has rent/mortgage to pay. They left us with no money to provide for our families. We tried to contact the head office regarding the issue but all of them were already gone enjoying early bank holiday. Lots of people already took sick-leave as a strike action leaving those in the shops understaffed (food availability will be affected). Thank you for your support. I advise to come back next week if you’re our customer to avoid disappointment. @pret you forgot to pay us because of public bank holiday. That’s the real reason, you simply forgot but you’re trying to hide it under an “error” excuse. You deserve to be publicly shamed.”

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Off the bat, Pret of course are not paying £10 an hour. They pay £9.75, 25p above from April 2022 on minimum wage. And in this job ad, there’s even limited public transport. Staff have to figure out how to get to work.

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This Tweet is from 7th April 2022 when the new UK minimum-wage of £9.50 came into effect: Link

With the rising costs of food, utility bills etc. Pret staff are not only NOT better off than before, they’re WORSE off! Pret already made pay cuts during the pandemic down to minimum-wage, as well as cutting benefits, paid breaks and other perks. Raising the pay back to a little over minimum-wage is where staff were before, yet workers are still worse off than before! No more paid breaks. Staff rebates down from 50% to 25%. And other perks and benefits that remain cut.

And before you office workers complain that you don’t get your breaks paid, you should work just 1 hour in any Pret shop! You will run out within minutes, kissing the pavement!

So, what’s this new Pret hype all about that most fall for again?

A pay rise in pennies that’s a little over minimum-wage, like they had before Pret cut wages to minimum. Yet, wages are still below the Living Wage and Pret keeps the “temporary” benefits cut and other perks they cut during the pandemic, while putting more work on staff who work for 3 people each!

The bonus from £1 to £1.25 is also a joke because bonus is at the discretion of extremely strict, micromanaging weekly Mystery Shoppers AND shop management. Bonus can be refused for any and all reasons, no matter how small! Staff reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed have mentioned that the bonus is used as a “weapon“.

Or another review where shops are extremely under-staffed and workers have NO CHANCE to do everything as they have no staff, and the Mystery Shopper cuts the bonus because there was a little toilet paper on the floor in the toilet! Quote from Glassdoor review “Stressful“:

»Constantly understaffed and expected to clean the entire store and multitask like crazy because there is no one else to do it
Sometimes really hard to get the bonus because you work so hard to make the entire store presentable, clean and neat but if the mystery shopper comes during the busy lunch period when you are understaffed and have to stay on till and cannot leave it and tidy the shop floor and they then don’t give you the bonus because there was ‘toilet paper on the floor in the toilet that could have been tidied’. Or if there is a long queue until the door they complain that they were not served within a minute and a half of joining the queue which is ridiculous.«

And these are just 2 of the many reviews on Mystery Shopper bonus issues. And from my own experience, I and my colleagues have been threatened with not getting bonus for the silliest reasons. Current Pret staff who recently wrote to me said that their shops hardly get bonus anymore due to the utter chaos and mess in their under-staffed shops! I know from experience that it was already hard before the pandemic, but I don’t even want to think how staff suffer now, physically, mentally and financially. All the while Pret boast again, having a laugh on the cost of their hard-working employees.

I write about the extremely strict, micromanaging and humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme where ONE staff did not ask a SPECIFIC question, resulting in the whole shop team to not get bonus.

If you don’t read anything I write, PLEASE READ the following Mystery Shopper report via the link, and tell me if reinstating and even raising the bonus isn’t a PR trick by Pret: Pret Staff don’t look Happy.

But not only a little toilet paper on the floor is the issue now, many customers complain about dirty shops. London City Airport has received a hygiene rating of 2 in December after an EHO visit. Detail here.

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The bonus system is a tool to manipulate and fear manage staff. Low-wage shop and kitchen staff ONLY rely on the bonus via the weekly Mystery Shoppers AND shop managers random mood swings.

Shop and area Managers (OPs – Operations Managers) get their bonuses quarterly and their bonuses rely on a host of things like shop profits, waste management, labour costs etc., and the biggest chunk is the Mystery Shopper scores. But shop/kitchen staff only get or lose bonus from Mystery Shopper visits and Managers’ moods.

Hence, Pret reinstating the bonus back in September 2021 after a staff member announced a strike action because Pret cut bonus from £1 to 50p, is a TRICK. I explain in detail here: Pret Staff Consider Strike Action.

The psychology is simple: Pret cut wages to minimum-wage DURING the most dangerous times in recent world history. Pret also cut benefits and other perks. Then Pret raises the wage again to a little over minimum-wage the way it was BEFORE, while keeping benefits cut and staff doing much more work. And thus, they continue to sell ice-cubes to Eskimos in winter time.

And unfortunately staff, most of the public and the press fell for it! Even Unions celebrate! Shame on y’all!

Link

Pret did NOT raise the wages now in pennies because of the strike announcement back in August 2021.

Pret now raised a few pennies as psychology for low-wage workers and the public because many Pret staff walked out, shops closed (also due to rent issues and lawsuits on unpaid rents etc.), many customers announced boycotts and some vowed to never set foot inside Pret again, Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret, bad press etc.

All these led to Pret playing another trick by raising the wages a few pennies above minimum wage, but still under the Living Wage.

And all y’all are fooled again! Shame!

And as a visual reminder again, former CEO Clive Schlee pocketing £30million in BONUS for himself alone! Do a rough calculation how much pay PLUS bonus current CEO Pano Christou, all the other execs and the shareholders get! And then tell me again that the pay “boost” and investment of £9.2million for 8000 front-line staff who carried Pret through the pandemic on wage cuts risking their lives, is generous!

Link

Pret’s owners JAB Holdings with seat in tax-haven Luxembourg under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns, must have given the green light to Pano Christou to throw a few crumbs at workers to appease the public and burnt-out staff. Front-line workers are so burnt out, they have no strength to even look for a better job. Morale is low, hope is gone, so a few pennies are supposed to fool them again! And it will.

»You can’t run a business on goodwill when the goodwill dries up.«
– Pret Staff Review on Glassdoor.

And remember the NHS smokescreen in March 2020 just before first lock-down? Here’s a reminder!

On 18. March 2020 Pret VERY quickly acted to the possibilities of a lock-down and announced free coffees and 50% rebates on food for NHS workers. The press and the public went ballistic with praise.

The very next morning on 19. March 2020, I wake up to a Twitter DM by a Pret staff who in despair wrote that shops have just received an email by CEO Pano Christou in the morning, announcing cuts to staff hours, and with it to pay. Other Pret staff started to send me the CEO email from that morning which I then published on my blog, as my website is the “channel” so-to-speak between Pret staff and the public/press.

I tweeted this to the press and all over, and Pret retracted for a few months until grass grew over it, but then started making cuts left right and center. But only to front-line Pret staff.

NHS workers were used twofold, 1. as a PR stunt for the public as well as NHS staff, and 2. as a smokescreen to hide cuts to staff. I write about the timing of this announcement and posted the full CEO email to shops here: To NHS Employees.

It is safe to say that millionaire Pret execs, who safely worked from home or socially distanced in air conditioned head office, TOOK from their low-wage front-line workers to pay for the NHS freebie PR stunt. And you all applauded!

And here is how Pret continually get caught doing Wage Theft.

Also, if anyone wants to take a peek behind the scenes on WHY Pret always makes BIG and noisy “charity” announcements: Pret’s Charity Projects.

So, dear mainstream media, you can continue to ignore my writings, my own experience and firsthand knowledge of Pret. You can continue to support this gaslighting system that claims to not be able to afford at the LEAST a living wage and PROPER benefits, to keep on enriching entitled prats who s*it on those who made them rich! You can continue to ignore Pret staff experiences and keep their voices silenced. You can continue to suck up to Pret because it’s not YOU who has to feed children on slave wages, after getting burnt out day-in, day-out until there’s nothing left to even find hope that this short life can be good for hard-working, honest people, who are stepped upon because their work is called “low-skill” to justify poverty wages …!

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That’s why very few people make it on my blog and YouTube posts, who are not as easily served up with Pret’s PR bullcrap!

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UPDATE: 08.06.2022

Someone posted on Linkedin about an auction for the Pret Foundation. Pret really seem desperate for money, using their “charity” smokescreen to get money.

Link

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Hygiene Rating

I’ve been writing on Pret’s hygiene and pest issues since I started my blog from own experience as well as what customers post on social media.

I’ve tweeted @foodgov on Twitter many times regarding pest issues, stale/expired food etc. I am surprised though that Pret at an airport did so poorly.

When I worked at Pret, an internal health and safety staff from head office made an unannounced visit to a Pret shop, and when this shop did poorly they call it a “black visit”. This means that shop had multiple issues of poor hygiene, expired foods, pest etc.

When this happens, Pret then names and shames that shop throughout the whole company for the rest of us to shudder in fear to do better. I never liked this calling out of shops, managers and staff, for the main reason that Pret do NOT give shops enough staff or PAID time to do things properly. Managers have not been trained properly on pest issues until a shop was shut down by an EHO at around 2011-ish. THEN only did Pret get a professional pest control company on board whereas before only had internal staff to deal with it.

I write about this in below link “Rat A Manger …” where I worked in a mice infested shop and we BEGGED head office for us to close the shop over the weekend to get on top of this! But no, nothing was done until an EHO closed down a shop after finding pest issues. Then Pret started firing and penalizing Managers who weren’t trained in the first place!

Plus, staff have always been overworked, even before the pandemic. Pret schedules staff rotas so tightly that staff have no chance whatsoever to finish all the tasks, especially the cleaning in the time given. Pret pretends that staff aren’t working hard enough, while in reality they work their @rses off! Managers then manipulate and fear manage staff to work overtime for free!

But because I was/am very organized by nature, I often managed to finish tasks with my colleagues on time, even early. And after this constant aim to manipulate us to work even harder for free, I drew the line and clocked off by the minute and as a Team Leader let my colleagues go home at the DOT of our scheduled finish time.

Whatever task couldn’t be completed, we left undone, as long as we did the most important things first, like cleaning, health and safety checks and repairs etc. Anything unimportant we left for the end, finished it, or we didn’t finish it and went home. Enough was enough! As long as we worked hard and did our utmost best, I refused to be threatened or manipulated to do even more for free. My Managers had no choice but respect this, because most of the time we DID finish everything and they KNEW my and my colleagues’ work ethics. They had NOTHING to get us with, even though they tried!

So, my question to regular customers is: You witness shops being so immensely busy, overcrowded, understaffed, two people behind the counter if they’re lucky, one person on the coffee, queue to the door, day in day out! And now during the pandemic and much more staff shortages, staff sick, staff walking out … shops close unannounced and without explanation or with dodgy “technical issues” notices.

Do you think that the food you eat is really FRESH?

Do you think that minimum-wage burnt out staff have time nor care to wash their hands in-between products (vegetable to meat products, allergen, gluten-free etc.)? Especially now during the pandemic in even more understaffed shops?

Do you really think that Pret has high quality products after being fed these slogans for decades?

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London City Airport’s hygiene rating is just the tip of the iceberg!

And if an airport shop can rate so poorly, a shop that is within a shopping unit on a property run by third parties, not independently as a shop on its own on the high street, are you kidding yourself that all the other shops are doing better?

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When I walk by a business that has a rating of 4, I always ask myself “What was the ONE point they lost the rating for?” I am not a competitive person in sports, or creative things etc. I do my thing, and when people are better or more successful in whatever they do, that’s great. I don’t care about that. Everyone has talents, makes effort, does hard work. But when it comes to hygiene ratings, I expect 5 out of 5 and won’t enter the business with a rating of 4! When it comes to hygiene and health & safety, I have zero tolerance to the slightest issue that is easily preventable!

The first thing I do when entering a restaurant, I go to the toilet, partly to wash my hands before eating, but also to see how the toilets are. I have walked out of businesses before even sitting down at a table, just by the looks of the toilets. End of.

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Link to part of the report which in this case was pest issue.

Quote:

»Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene« Improvement necessary. End of quote.

Usually when pest issues are found, the EHO who did the visit closes the shop until it is free of any pest. When an internal Pret HQ health and safety staff had a “black visit”, the shop has 4 weeks to improve. Often the shop Manager, even Assistant Managers and Team Leaders will be moved to other shops or send on “holiday” or get fired, depending on the situation and/or how close/friendly the Manager is to the OPs/area Manager. It’s all about making friends in Pret unfortunately. I was never good at making friends. I just wanted to do my job and go home.

Back in 2015 six+ months after my brother died and an area Manager targeted me for months on end with the help of other Managers, I was sent to a shop that had a “black visit” to help fix the mess. I was known for my strict hygiene and safety record, doing things by the book. But it was my darkest time in 2015 and 2016, with my brother’s death and the intense bullying issues that started shortly after I lost my brother.

Other Team Leaders and an Assistant Manager from other shops were also sent to that shop, as the whole shop leadership team was sent on holiday or fired. We had 4 weeks to fix the shop. What I didn’t know at the time is that I was sent there to FAIL! And I did fail in a few things, which was NORMAL because that shop was a f@cking mess and we were in front of a mountain of issues trying to figure out where to start!

All eyes were on that shop! Everyday “important” people from head office visited, health and safety staff came by, the pressure to improve daily was very high. And frankly, it was very unfair on us who came from other shops to fix a mess we didn’t create! They had no mercy! This area Manager who targeted me to get rid of me used the SMALLEST issue to get me a written warning etc. with the help of another area Manager and Managers.

Last year I called out another area Manager on Linkedin and Twitter who helped her to target me. This area Manager who’s shop had the black visit (she doesn’t work at Pret anymore after 20+ years, but still interacts with Pret on Linkedin), helped target me and then had the audacity to “like” my pinned Tweet about former CEO Clive Schlee. I asked her many times, for months to unlike my Tweet as I did not want her on my time line.

She was a SENIOR OPs Manager with 18+ years experience at the time. She could have EASILY supported me instead of supporting the bully-area Manager to target me. I still did my job exceptionally well, even during traumatic bereavement. I was KNOWN for my work. I was TOLD and confirmed via Mystery Shopper reports etc.

She could have stepped in, having seen my track record at work. But she helped the bully instead to get me a “note of concern”, a first step in the direction of a disciplinary and then dismissal. The smallest things I made a mistake in I was targeted with, penalized and threatened. All during the darkest time in bereavement! It was an emotional war zone I found myself in! How I survived this, I do not know! At the time “ignorance was bliss” and I kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt, until the evidence mounted! I saw with my own eyes after applying for my file, how Pret with HR and Managers SCHEMED against me! It was there, in black and white on paper!

Bereaved, ill, even disabled staff have no room in busy Pret shops. Time is money, and whoever crumbles under the weight of personal tragedy will be sieved out fast.

If Pret would have supported me from day one, like they boast about their Pret Foundation Trust to be helping vulnerable people, I would be writing a completely different blog now!

And the little help they did provide was ONLY after I contacted former CEO Clive Schlee in WRITING, so as to cover their tracks! But the bullying continued, it just shifted in more subtle ways.

Pret’s Foundation Trust charity project is PR and a smoke screen. Longtime staff have no chance when they become bereaved or ill! They need to go ASAP!

I even suggested to Pret in writing to put me under someone in the Pret Foundation Trust until I recuperated, another OPs Manager I worked with briefly, also suggested this to Pret, also in writing! But Pret refused!

So, this experienced area Manager helping the bully and then liking my pinned Tweet? Really?? Nah!

She ignored my request to “unlike” the Tweet again and again! Only when I requested this again under current CEO Pano Christou’s Linkedin mention, did she unlike it, then blocked me and then LIED publicly to never have liked it. Well, thanks for confirming what a toxic b**** you are!

Typical Pret leadership!

She then lied publicly on Linkedin after I asked again for her to “unlike” under a post that mentions former CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou. I then got booted out of that feed and my post got hidden/deleted by Linkedin after someone reported me. That’s why I take screenshots. But this is VERY typical Pret A Manger leadership, they like stuff in secret while pretending to be with/for Pret in the open.

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Really?!

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But regarding Pret’s hygiene and pest issues, and the 2 rating in City Airport, dear customer, you see the tip of the iceberg here!

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My post on pest issues in Pret: Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot

My post on expired NON-fresh food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

YouTube video and slide for those who don’t want to read long blog posts:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Racial Profiling in Pret A Manger

My second post of the year is for a lady who has raised the issue of racial profiling in a Pret shop in Manhatten, NY. She contacted Pret, and after a few times did get a response, but then keeps getting ignored again since months.

Of course, at this point it’s an allegation, but no-one who makes up stories would pursue this for months. And from experience having worked at Pret, I know for a fact that there is racism in Pret, also toward staff. I mention this because some come with the bullcrap “argument” that these are only allegations and no proof. I can only implore journalists again to go undercover into Pret and see for themselves!

I send her a link to CEO Pano Christou’s Linkedin post on Facebook, she posted on Linkedin as well now (see below). But so far no response again.

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Link

Pano Christou closed his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press about Clive Schlee’s “retirement” and also mentioned Pano’s Twitter account. He then promptly deleted it and now “hides” on Linkedin where people tell each other sweet little nothings all day, and how awesome Pano is, while Pret shops lie in shambles!

Journalists read my blog, so I offered her to put her concerns on my blog. Her message to Pano on Linkedin which they still leave in, usually they delete critical posts:

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Link

For larger print, quote:

»On August 30, 2021 I was racially profiled in one of your locations in Manhattan New York 47th & 6th street. I went through the proper channels and emailed customer service. As of this date December 23,2021 I have not gotten a phone call or any type of gesture apologizing. I have been in contact with someone but nothing has been done. I emailed them yesterday and my email came back blocked so I use two other emails address and they came back blocked. The first Rep was Elle Reference #10091595. I don’t want to discuss in details what happened on the platform but if I have to I will. You can check into this matter and get back with me ASAP.«

And having worked at Pret for 10 years and visited Pret’s London Head Offices many times, I rarely saw Black, Indian/Asian staff working there. Most are Caucasian British, German, French with very few exceptions. The same with OPs/area and shop managers.

UPDATE

February 2022

Pret’s response via Facebook (Shanee sent this to me). Pret AGAIN claims to have some technical difficulty, pretending they didn’t get the message.

I ask again like I did in my other post about Pret’s ongoing “technical issues” while having received a “digital technology leaders award”:

Pret A ‘Manager’ Received Digital Technology Award (for screwing up their digital technology so much!). In the post I linked to some of the many customer complaints that they can’t use their subscription and Pret claiming “technical issues”.

Question: How can a multi-billion £$ company have THAT MANY technical issues for so long?

Anwser: they don’t have technical issues, they’re just lying again!

Pret’s response on Facebook while continuing to ignore the complaint onracial profiling AGAIN. Shanee has the her emails as proof she sent it:

“Hi Shanee, We’re sorry to hear that your original message has not yet been resolved. We’ve asked our team to see if they’ve received your emails so they can get back to you as soon as possible. We’re also currently working to resolve a tech issue that sends an “undeliverable” message even when the emails are delivered. This is likely what happened when you tried to email our team this week.”

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Also, a Twitter feed of a customer experiencing racism in a Pret shop:

Link

Another feed on Twitter, also going into detail:

Link

A radio station in Washington DC where Pret also has shops:

Link

An article in The Voice about racism in Pret:

Link

A former staff sued Pret on racism in NY. It may be that the lawsuit was settled, as there are no more news about it.

Link

UPDATE 11.01.2022 Pret USA

Link to Instagram post

Former Pret staff after Pret made their PR stunt BLM message and always make big noisy charity announcement:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

1312 – Pret A Manger

From the day I started writing on my Pret A Manger ordeal to the day the BBC, via journalist Mike Powell, put my writings on the map, 1312 days have passed.

Thank you BBC.

Thank you Mike Powell. Thank you Vivienne Nunis. Mostly for your patience. And for believing (in) me.

Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal


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730,000 rounded down, because in selfish capitalistic worlds you round down … Time is money, and we don’t have time to be generous! Lose leap years, hold your numbers very tight! Mathematics don’t lie. In a nutshell, estimated 730,000-ish days from the first Christmas. Happy Christmas y’all! Life comes to an end, but until then we’ll live it. Every second of every day.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

»The most Toxic work culture I have ever experienced«

When I started writing about Pret publicly in May 2018, I never knew about Glassdoor and Indeed. I was too occupied with work and the traumas I went through, that I never realized that there were employment review websites out there.

I started to research on Pret and then came across Glassdoor and Indeed. It was like a new world opened up to me. I was so naive and like a kid in a sweet-shop, I discovered all these reviews about Pret that sounded so similar to my experience.

I then went to town and started collecting reviews. I put a chosen review that spoke to me on my blog every day and called it “Quote of the Day“. I obsessed over those reviews and scanned through the whole of Glassdoor and Indeed, as well as YouTube, Twitter etc.

Yes, I know! Whatever you think of my loony mind, it’s okay with me! I know what I survived!

These days I don’t check reviews so much anymore because I’m tired and I think I made my point now!

But a new review by Senior Leadership came that deserves its own blog post. I don’t know what “senior leadership” means, if it’s a shop General Manager, OPs Manager or someone in head office. It’s someone who’s either been in Pret leadership for a long time, or is in a high position. But these words ring painfully true and I love the way the person wrote it. Simple, short and sharp!

Quote:

»Awful, non-collaborative leadership that are never on the same page. Huge toxic blame culture. People are expendable… expected to work around the clock for the business but then in return were treated inhumanely when covid hit. Pret doesn’t care for it’s employees at all – it only cares about it’s externally facing reputation. Many of us that left, after having our morals and ethics compromised during lockdown have experienced PTSD.«

Advice to Management
»You can’t run a business on goodwill when the goodwill dries up.«

PHEW!

The advice to management would have been a quote of the day I’d chosen. And this is exactly what CEO Pano Christou’s problem is. He has his head in the sand and is stuck in the past. He runs Pret the old way and thinks that sweet-talk and brainwash will continue to float the ship, while not realizing that the ship has run into an iceberg and is slowly tilting!

This review is one of those reviews that has me in tears! Please be safe, value yourself, aim for a better job that you deserve. Life is short.

Link to review on Glassdoor.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Once you get it you die!

I understand now why no journalist wants to report on my story. Every journalist wants to put THEIR name under your story! I am too much in control of my own story. It is always and will always be about people wanting THEIR name under a story. I is always and will always be about money, self-interest, ones own skin.

Your friends will leave you when you lose the floor underneath your feet. You employer will move heaven and hell to get rid of you once you have loss or illness in your family.

This world will spit you out once you are of no use to them.

Britney Spears said it best in her now deleted Instagram post:

Stay safe y’all.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger keep adding Excuses for not serving items

The ongoing issues in Pret with EXPENSIVE items Pret don’t serve under the supplier issue lie.

So, how do Pret make money, save money, and get as much money as possible?

If you think that it is a coincidence that Pret keep having supplier issues, then why do Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa etc. even small independent cafes/restaurant have all the items that Pret claims are not available? Pret rides on the supplier chain issue and don’t give any EXPENSIVE item or complimentary extras. The pandemic forced Pret to show their TRUE face!

Interestingly, Pret NEVER have supplier issues on coffee, cow’s milk and bread, all the main products, but ALWAYS on expensive items like: chai latte, matcha latte, hot chocolate powder, frappe, smoothies (always broken ice machines or blenders or no ice!), plant based milks, and now cream! Complaints started also that shops don’t do a strong espresso shot or syrup when buying with the coffee subscription.

UPDATE: 23.12.2021 on Facebook:

Also as a side note, but IMPORTANT to note that Pret do NOT serve full extra shots, but HALF shots! I write extensively about this in Pret A Manger’s “Strong” Espresso Shot and why Pret call it “strong” and not “double”.

If a shop truly runs out of milk or coffee, then it’s due to management having miscalculated and didn’t order enough or in rare cases there can be delivery issues. But that’s rare. When I worked at Pret as a shop Team Leader, responsible to order stock, I once miscalculated and we ran out of milk. This is extremely rare. I grabbed a colleague and we went to Tesco down the road to buy milk. Pret allows that as long as the milk is organic, or whatever Pret advertises.

Of course, there are occasional delivery issues, but we had to move heaven and earth to get the missing stock in from another Pret shop or supermarket. Pret has no mercy on shops running out of even 1 item! But now, it’s a daily occurrence since the pandemic started. And supply chain delays come in handy for Pret to dupe customers. Wouldn’t it be funny if the supply chain REALLY don’t deliver coffee beans, milk and bread? 😉

Customer complaints since 2020 when Pret started the subscription, no iced drinks, or then iced drinks were served in SMALLER paper cup sizes, again due to “supplier issues” Pret claimed. Pret had NO issues getting the NEW 14oz paper cups while having supplier issues on their more expensive 16oz plastic cups for iced drinks. Do a rough calculation how many people are cheated out of 2oz per iced drink IF they’re lucky to get one on the subscription. The plastic cups are back now, but if I’m not mistaken, have also shrunk in size.

How do Tesco say? “Every little helps”! It all adds up in numbers!

Check the dates of the Tweets, especially towards the end of the slide. This is STILL going on now in December 2021:

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Clever thieves don’t do a big heist, they steal little by little but MANY people. People who had their credit card details stolen didn’t realize for months that a consistent amount of money was stolen, because the amount was small, but it went on for months. A steady income for thieves.

A customer realized this as well recently:

Pret stopped the complimentary butter portions for the soup bread. Customers also started to complain that Pret don’t do the little compote and seed pots for the porridge. And the honey sizes in the little pots has also decreased to smaller squeezable honey.

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Of course it’s at the discretion of a business to offer or refuse complimentary items. But I’m painting a picture here in how Pret is pinching at every turn while sitting on millions and making profit again. Little by little things are removed and people get used to it after initial outcry. And of course it helps for staff to not have to prepare all the little pots for porridge which is very time consuming, but to decrease sizes and stop complimentary items altogether is the typical business thing to cut costs.

And with the cream they ADVERTISE for their Christmas drinks, now they give more reasons to try and prevent exposure. And I keep telling people to contact ASA as well as consumer rights groups, and fill in the complaint form for false advertisement Pret keep doing. It just takes 2 minutes to fill in.

ASA Form: Make a complaint.

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Link

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Day 20? Month #6! No cream since at least June 2021:

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Sorry 8 months!

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Sorry, 12 months! You get the picture!

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How can a company the size of Pret have “supplier issues” for 6+ months on specific items?! Since I write extensively about Pret’s “supplier issue” and Pret read my blog, the updated version now covers a broad range of reasons, quote: “ongoing shipping issues, delayed 3rd party deliveries or smaller quantity deliveries”.

And this way customers as well as consumer rights group cannot trace back if that is true, because more people/businesses are blamed.

But again, Pret NEVER has issues with coffee beans, cow’s milk and bread, the holy trinity of Pret’s business.

Also, Pret now SELL expired food they give to “charity” via food app TooGoodToGo (TGTG). Pret sell food under their “charity” umbrella and try to get money at every turn. Pret even now sell hot (cooled down) expired food via TGTG that Pret before wouldn’t even give for free due to safety issues with the temperature fluctuation! Also, soups get frozen now, NOT fresh as Pret claim. It was never freshly “made” anyway as soups are cooked in factories! I write about frozen soups in Pret Food is NOT Fresh.

The Mushroom Risotto soup is usually a favourite of Pret’s soups by many customers.

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When I worked at Pret, I know for a fact that the soup for example is heated at least twice, often 3 – 4+ times! By the time it is given or now sold after its 2 hour hot shelf life, the customer then heats it up AGAIN for a third or more time!

Soup is cooked in the factory and delivered in plastic bags holding 6 cups per bag. First thing in the morning the Hot Chef then places soup bags into the water bath (marinator) or later heats it up in the microwave. This is then the second time soups are heated. If a bag of soup is still in the water bath at the end of the day, it HAS TO be wasted! But many cheat under the pressure from stressed Managers. They let the bags cool down and then put it back into the fridge and heat up the next day. Third time heated up! Etc.

Of course this is not allowed, but many do it! My Managers always hated me because I wasted it! Yet, even with the waste, I still managed to help shops be successful. You absolutely CAN do things properly without cheating, but due to understaffed shops, staff feel the intense pressure and keep heated products as well as “stretch” dates of expiry dates!

Pret now making money for “charity” where before they wouldn’t give high risk products like hot food for FREE! When it comes to money, health and safety out the door! When I called Pret & TGTG out on it on Twitter, TGTG_UK promptly blocked me! Thank you for confirming that you don’t appreciate the truth! I can still respond to people who tag you in TGTG_UK, you know that, right?

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I write extensively about this in Pret’s Health & Safety Hypocrisy.

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