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Pret A Manger Swallows EAT As It Looks To Boost Veggie Brand

By Dave Simpson

Pret A Manger has bought smaller rival EAT, the British sandwich and coffee shop chain announced this week, as it looks to capitalise on the thriving vegan and vegetarian market through its Veggie Pret brand.

Pret A Manger said that it plans to convert most of the EAT shops into Veggie Pret outlets that cater to health-conscious consumers who prefer plant-based meals over meat.

An "Opportunity To Turbo Charge The Development Of Veggie Pret"

"The acquisition of the EAT estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it," Chief Executive Clive Schlee said.

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The deal was an all-cash transaction with some of the deal being financed with debt, The Financial Times said, citing unnamed sources, adding that EAT was being valued at between £55 million and £60 million.

JAB, the family office of the billionaire Reimann family, bought Pret A Manger for $2 billion from its private equity owners in 2018.

The first Veggie Pret was opened in 2016 and Pret A Manger has been experimenting with vegetarian and vegan options for products such as brownies and macaroni and cheese, as well as offering dishes such as a vegan Mediterranean mezze salad.

Three more Veggie Pret branches have opened in London and Manchester.

The company did not disclose the terms of the deal. PwC and Skadden advised Pret on the deal, a spokesperson for JAB said.

Struggling High Streets

Britain's high streets are struggling, with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain this week joining a string of companies going into administration with the loss of 1,000 jobs.

A Bright Spot

Vegan and vegetarian offerings have been a bright spot, with bakery Greggs Plc citing its vegan sausage rolls as it raised its annual forecast for the second time this year.

In North America, Beyond Meat and rival Impossible Foods are fighting for market share by launching new products at fast-food restaurants.

Pret A Manger opened in London in 1986 and has more than 500 locations in the UK, United States and cities including Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai serving more than 300,000 customers a day.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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