The UK coffee and food-to-go chain views a strong HR function as integral to its successful growth into new global markets and has hired Yum Brands HR Director Ed Evans to replace long-serving Andrea Wareham
Evans will continue Wareham’s efforts in ‘making Pret a brilliant place to work' said Pano Christou | Photo credit: Pret A Manger
Pret A Manger has announced Ed Evans as its new Chief People Officer, with the Yum Brands HR Director commencing the role in January 2023.
Currently serving as HR director for the restaurant chain Taco Bell, Evans also worked for KFC as HR Director for UK and Ireland operations between 2017-2019 and US operations between 2019-2021.
Evans will replace current Chief People Officer Andrea Wareham, who has worked in various HR roles for Pret A Manger since 2000, including as Head of Training & Development and Global HR Director. She became Chief People Officer in August 2019.
Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger, thanked Wareham for the work she has done ‘to develop and establish our values and people practices’.
"After over 22 years with Pret, Andrea Wareham has decided to leave the business. Put simply, Pret wouldn't be the business it is today without Andrea's hard work. We wish her nothing but the best as she steps back to spend some more time with her family," he said.
He continued to say that Evans will continue Wareham’s efforts in ‘making Pret a brilliant place to work, both in the UK and as we expand into new markets’.
In September 2021 Pret outlined plans to double the size of its business within five years, as well as expand into five new markets by the end of 2023. This year it has announced agreements with franchise partners to enter Canada, Ireland, Spain and Portugal and India.
Pret A Manger has achieved a remarkable turnaround in the last year after stating it had lost a decade of growth in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July 2020 the coffee and food-to-go chain announced the permanent closure of 30 of its UK outlets before announcing 2,800 job losses the following month as sales lingered at 60% of pre-pandemic levels.
However, while the company does not envisage a resurgence in its sales in London’s financial districts for at least a few years, a realignment of its brick-and-mortar business towards neighbourhood stores and a successful monthly coffee subscription led Pret A Manger to return to profitability in March 2022.
Having achieved sales growth of 230% in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, Pret A Manger is strengthening its workforce as it scales its business in new markets.
In January 2022 the company announced investment of £9.2m ($12.6m) to raise wages for 8,000 of its UK store staff from £9.40 up to £10.15 per hour. In October 2022 Pret A Manger announced a further pay rise for UK staff, pledging an additional £10m ($11.1m) to support its employees in the wake of the rising cost of living.