Only Pret’s location at University of Chicago remains.
The UK-based on-the-go sandwich, Pret A Manger has closed all but one location in Chicago after suffering from financial loss throughout the pandemic.
Sandwich local and UK import, Pret A Manger, otherwise known as “Pret”, opened its first location in NY in 2011. After rapid success as a quick-and-easy sandwich shop with soup and salad options — popular predominately with hustling crowds of office workers — the company expanded into a multitude of cities, including Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago — the latter in 2010. By 2016, the chain had become a $200 million business, having opened 11 locations in Chicago alone.
Late July, the company announced that they would shutter 30 locations in the UK as well as 17 locations between Boston and Chicago after suffering an 87% sales loss since the beginning of the pandemic.
“It’s a sad day for the Whole Pret family, and I’m devastated that we will be losing team members,” said CEO of Pret, Pano Christou. “But we must make these changes to adapt to the new retail environment. Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, enabling us to grow once more in the medium term.”
Like restaurants, bars, and other eateries, Pret closed its locations at the onset of the pandemic. Even though the chain reopened its US locations in late April, it continued to suffer loses due to its missing target clientele — the crowds of busy-body office workers and morning commuters who stopped in on the go.
At this moment, its outpost in the University of Chicago is only one left in the Windy City. However, customers can still order delivery through Grubhub and Seamless.
“We cannot defy gravity and continue with the business model we had before the pandemic,” said Christou. “That is why we have adapted our business and found new ways to reach our customers. While Pret may look and feel different in the short term, one thing I know is that we will come through this crisis and have a bright future if we take the right steps today.”
[Featured image: @pret]