Eat announces permanent closure of UK business (updated)

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Eat announces permanent closure of UK business

Related tags: Pret a manger, Restaurant, QSR, Closure

High street sandwich chain Eat has permanently closed its doors in the UK after 24 years.

Its owner, Pret a Manger, shut down Eat’s remaining branches under its plans to dissolve the brand and convert as many of its stores as possible into Pret and Veggie Pret sites.

Confirming the news on the Eat Twitter account​, the company wrote: “EAT. The Real Food Company has now closed.

“After 24 years of creating, making and serving real food, it is time for us to say goodbye.

“Thank you to all of our wonderful customers - we’ve loved every minute of our journey.”

Eat was founded in 1996 by husband and wife Niall and Faith MacArthur, and opened its first site on Villiers Street in London.

It was bought by private equity firm Lyceum Capital (later re-branded Horizon Capital) in March 2011, and grew to a 90-strong business with sites across the UK including in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester.

However, having grappled with heavy losses, the business was acquired by rival chain Pret in May last year, in a deal thought to value Eat at £60m.

At the time Pret said it was looking to rebrand “as many as possible” of Eat’s 94 stores to its offshoot Veggie Pret concept​, in response to growing consumer demand for plant-based options on the high street. However, 16 units were subsequently marketed for disposal​ in August last year. 

To date three Eat sites have been converted into Veggie Prets, with others set to follow suit in the future once the Coronavirus crisis is over. 

According to The Guardian​, ​franchise partners will continue to operate Eat outlets in Paris Gare du Nord, and Spain.

Related topics: Openings

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