Pret a Manger to 'turbo charge' vegetarian expansion with Eat deal

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pret a Manger agrees takeover of rival Eat chain

Related tags: Pret a manger, QSR, Coffee

Pret a Manger has today (22 May) confirmed it is to buy rival cafe chain Eat with plans to convert much of its estate to vegetarian-only sites.

Pret says it is looking to rebrand “as many as possible” of Eat’s 94 stores to its Veggie Pret concept in response to growing consumer demand for plant-based options on the high street.

“The acquisition of the Eat estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it,” says Pret CEO Clive Schlee.

The proposed deal was first reported by BigHospitality’ssister site MCA​ last week​ after Eat’s private equity owner Horizon Capital appointed advisors to offload the business in February.

Pret, which has around 400 UK locations, has opened four vegetarian cafes in London, and one in Manchester,​ following a successful trial in the capital in 2016.

Eat reported a loss after tax of £17.3m​ for the 12 months to 28 June 2018, but said it was on track to grow EBITDA by almost 50% in its current financial year after reviewing its food and service style.

Eat's CEO Andrew Walker, who worked at Pret for 12 years until 2012, says the deal will create “new opportunities for employees and customers”.

Pret was bought by investment business JAB, which also owns Krispy Kreme doughnuts and the US chain Panera Bread bread, for a reported £1.5bn in 2018.

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