Fast-growing chain Pret A Manger has announced it will convert one of its London shops to vegetarian-only for the month of June.
The move - initially mooted last summer - coincides with the beginning of the ‘Not Just for Veggies’ campaign, which encourages meat-eaters to eat more veggie options, and comes as Pret said its sales of vegetarian food saw double-digit growth in the last year.
Pret said it is turning the Soho store 'veggie' in order to challenge its chefs to come up with new vegetarian and vegan food and to ask customers what should end up on shelves permanently.
The company said it expects takings in the shop to fall but said the pop-up shows that Pret is “serious about providing veggie and vegan options”.
“Our chefs are working hard to replace over 40 meat and fish dishes with new and exciting ingredients. This entails hours of testing and lots of patience from our loyal suppliers,” chief executive Clive Schlee wrote on a blog.
“Last year thousands of customers told us they were trying to eat less meat. This year we have challenged ourselves to increase our vegetarian options in all shops, as well as opening a veggie-only pop-up shop to learn more from our customers.”
Pret also announced like-for-like sales grew by 7.5 per cent during the last year, as part of its full-year results to 31 December 2015.
US like-for-like sales were the fastes-growing with growth of 13.8 per cent, Pret said, and the chain has opened 36 new shops worldwide.
“These results represent another year of record sales for Pret. The highlights were a strong performance in the US – our newly opened Penn Station shop has the highest sales per square foot of any Pret in the world – and the opening of two very busy transport hub shops in Paris’ Gare de Lyon station and Nice Airport,” said Schlee. “Pret continues to grow steadily in the UK, adapting its menu to meet demand for healthy options.”
Pret’s UK market trends
· More than half (58 per cent) of sales were outside of lunchtime, on the back of increased demand for breakfast on-the-go
· Vegetarian sales showed double digit growth
· Avocado was the fastest-growing ingredient: customers ate five million in total
· 65 per cent of all card payments are now contactless