pret-a-manger-convert-eat-stores.gif Lauren Kallen

Pret A Manger plans to ‘turbo charge’ growth of vegetarian-only units with Eat buy

The company plans to convert U.K.-based Eat stores to Veggie Pret locations

Pret A Manger is buying British food and beverage retailer, EAT, with plans to convert the vegetarian friendly chain into the brand’s Veggie Pret concept.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to the Financial Times, which cited unnamed sources, the deal was valued anywhere between $70 million and $76 million.

Eat, whose roughly 100 units are located throughout the United Kingdom, sells sandwiches, hot pots, wraps, breakfast foods and coffee. The menu is geared for those looking for foods made with healthful, fresh and sustainable ingredients. The brand’s menu is easily customizable and caters to vegetarians and people with allergies, something Pret plans to leverage. 

Pret, part of a new JAB Holding division called Pret Panera Holding Company, said it plans to convert many of the Eat shops into Pret’s vegetarian banner, Veggie Pret. Pret opened the first Veggie Pret in September 2016 to cater to the growing movement for meatless food options. The brand now has four locations in London and Manchester.  

“The purpose of this deal is to serve a growing demand of vegetarian and vegan customers who want delicious, high quality food and drink options,” Pret CEO Clive Schlee said in a statement. “The acquisition of the Eat estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”

Pret Panera Holding Company formed earlier this year when Germany-based JAB Holding announced several leadership changes. The division also includes Panera Bread, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee. At the time, Jacek Szarzynski was named lead operating partner for Pret Panera. He previously worked 24 years at Mars. 

 Pret’s estimated latest year sales were $245 million, up 9.5% from the Preceding Year, according 2019 NRN Top 200 research. The company operates about 91 U.S. locations, including four franchised or licensed units in non-traditional locations such as college campuses or turnpikes.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @FastFoodMaven

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