Interviews

Pret A Manger: Innovation responsible for annual sales boost

3 min read

21 April 2015

Former deputy editor

Food chain Pret A Manger achieved a 16 per cent sales growth to hit £594m for the full year in 2014, and claims innovation is responsible for the achievement.

The 30-year-old company’s focus on change was demonstrated in early April when the “Good Evenings” menu, which includes alcohol and hot dishes, was introduced to a London branch to reach consumers with something more substantial than a sandwich.

The 16 per cent year-on-year sales increase that took the firm to £593.6m for 2014 is up from £509.9m in 2013.

Meanwhile, store numbers grew by six per cent to reach 374 from 352. They were spread across the UK, London, the US, France and Shanghai, which marked a debut for China, helping to push overall investment in property to £191m over the past five years

The particular innovation that Pret was keen to highlight over the year, however, was a commitment to organic coffee, which sees more than 1m cups sold a week. We’ve previously looked at the potency of the caffeine-laced drink, which is serving as a foundation for new SMEs.

Additionally, the firm has adapted menus to support healthy options for on the move and expanding the vegetarian range. As such, 12 per cent of all sales came from new items that arrived in 2014 – for example, 50,000 macaroni cheese dishes are sold weekly following an October launch.

Clive Schlee, CEO, Pret A Manger, said: “These are a strong set of results and represent another successful year for Pret. With double digit growth achieved in virtually all of our markets, we continued our measured expansion of the business by remaining faithful to our core values and by responding to customer demand for innovative, healthy and hot food.”

Read more on the food industry:

Apprenticeships have been a large focus for the government over the last five years and the 2m mark was reached in December 2014, while British positivity in the jobs market is now at a high. 

Pret claims its attention on jobs over the year has resulted in 526 new hires, while its apprenticeship programme has provided 60 homeless people with work. Additionally, the company embarked on a “Bring Back the Saturday Job” campaign last year to create more than 100 weekend jobs. 

The efforts will be bolstered following the launch of the Pret Academy in London that opened last year with the promise of training courses for more than 10,000 people. 

It’s in line with the push from Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread, which plans to create 6,000 apprenticeships, 7,500 work experience placements and 6,500 employment opportunities by 2020.

Pret’s Foundation Trust also resulted in distribution of 3m sandwiches and salads to homeless charities across the year, and business growth is expected to continue with the launch of further sites throughout 2015.