Pret has 389 retailers within the UK, 340 of that are in London, giving it an enormous stake within the metropolis’s financial system and making it a bellwether of the hospitality trade. Lots of its places have been closed after COVID-19 hit Britain greater than a 12 months in the past, and nearly all have reopened.
It completely shut 30 shops final 12 months on the peak of the pandemic and is now on the lookout for methods to agency up its enterprise as infections decline and Prime Minister Boris Johnson loosens lockdown guidelines. Mr Christou’s sense is that extra individuals are leaving the city for suburbs, and Pret must go the place the individuals are as a substitute of ready for them to point out as much as a retailer close to an workplace.
“In case you have a Pret whenever you’re at work, nice, however there’s an enormous alternative for us to have extra Prets the place individuals are residing as effectively,” he mentioned.
To attract in new prospects, it has joined forces with supply apps equivalent to Deliveroo, Simply Eat and Uber Eats. It’s also advertising drinks in supermarkets and thru a subscription service, hoping to construct loyalty.
Requested whether or not Pret overbuilt in London earlier than the disaster, Mr Christou mentioned, “We made the proper selections on the proper time” and that there’s no plan now to shut extra shops. “The employees now we have now are the employees we’ll preserve. We received’t be trying to cut back employees hours if prospects are available in two or three days every week.”
He expects some websites, equivalent to London’s West Finish, to get well quicker than others, equivalent to these in airports.
Britain’s departure from the European Union has put strain on Pret by creating extra paperwork for imports and exports. It additionally could dry up the provision of employees the corporate has trusted to employees its shops.
“As quickly because the Brexit vote got here by way of, we noticed a big drop in EU employees making use of for jobs in Pret,” he mentioned. “As a enterprise, we have to be certain that we’ve bought an interesting provide to entice folks.”