Having signed agreements to enter five new markets by the end of 2023, Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou says the company will continue to target new growth opportunities as it seeks to replicate the international success of US fast-food chain McDonald’s
Pret A Manger currently operates approximately 200 outlets in markets outside of the UK | Photo credit: Pret A Manger
Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou has said that he wants to oversee a ‘genuinely worldwide’ business and will continue to pursue growth in new markets.
Christou, who has led the UK-based coffee and food-to-go chain since 2019, said that Pret A Manger still has growth plans in the UK, where it operates 430 stores.
However, he said the ultimate goal is to become a global brand on a par with McDonald's, the US fast-food chain for whom Christou worked for five years until 2000.
McDonald’s took a 33% stake in Pret in 2001, which it held until the coffee and food-to-go chain was acquired by Bridgepoint in 2008. Pret A Manger is currently controlled by Luxembourg-based conglomerate JAB Holdings, which acquired the company in deal reportedly worth £1.5bn in 2018.
“We want to be genuinely worldwide. Why can’t it be like McDonald’s – we haven’t really got a British brand that has done that, so this is our aim,” he said.
Pret A Manger currently operates around 630 stores, including 200 outlets in markets outside of the UK. Meanwhile, McDonald's operates more than 38,000 locations across more than 100 countries around the world, with the majority of restaurants operated by local franchisees.
In September 2021 Pret outlined target to double the size of its business within five years, as well as expand into five new markets by the end of 2023. It has since announced agreements with franchise partners to enter Canada, Ireland, Spain and Portugal and India.
Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Christou also detailed the impact that rising energy costs are having on the business. He said energy prices are the ‘number one cost challenge’ facing Pret, with costs growing 150-200% this year.
Pret A Manger is also facing considerable cost increases for ingredients and materials, especially for wheat and sunflower oil, much of which comes from Ukraine.
Additionally, Christou said the costs of coffee beans had risen by 40%, leading to a 6% price increase for Pret’s customers. The average cost of a Pret A Manger coffee has increased from £2.95 ($3.37) last year to £3.10 ($3.54) currently.