Pret A Manger has bought rival sandwich chain Eat in a move that will see the latter brand disappear from the high street as Pret looks to “turbocharge” its Veggie Pret format.
Eat owned 94 locations across the UK, with Pret planning to turn “as many as possible” into Veggie Prets in response to growing consumer demand for more vegetarian and vegan options. The rest will be turned into normal Pret formats.
A spokesperson for the brand tells Marketing Week: “Our plan is to convert as many of Eat’s shops as possible into Veggie Pret, while others will become classic Pret shops. This means that the Eat brand will ultimately be absorbed within Pret.”
The decision to shutter the Eat brand in favour of Pret makes sense, with the latter the much stronger of the two brands. According to YouGov BrandIndex, Eat has an ‘index’ score (a combination of metrics including quality, value and reputation) of 1.8, putting it 27th on a list of 48 fast food and pub chains.
Pret, by comparison, sits at fifth with a score of 10.4. Pret similarly beats its rival on consumer perceptions of quality, satisfaction and recommend. Consumers are also much less aware of the Eat brand, which has an awareness score of 44.4% compared to 86.7% for Pret.
Pret opened its first Veggie outlet in 2016 in London and has since opened two more in the capital and one in Manchester.
READ MORE: How Pret used customer insight to shape its new veggie pop-up strategy
Schlee, who came up with the idea, says: “The acquisition of the Eat estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbocharge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”
The majority of Eat branches are in London, but there are stores across the UK including in Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh. While store staff are unlikely to be hit by redundancies, the future of Eat’s marketing team is unclear given there will no longer be a brand to promote.
Andrew Walker, CEO of Eat, adds: “Eat’s passionate and talented team are what make the business; their commitment to providing our customers with great food and excellent service is at the heart of the company’s outstanding recent performance. I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised through this transaction.
“It has been a privilege to lead Eat for the past three years, and I believe this acquisition creates new opportunities for employees and customers alike.”