Meat free eaters in central London are celebrating this week following news that Pret A Manger’s first vegetarian pop-up will not be popping off anytime soon. The sandwich chain’s “Veggie Pret” trial has been such a success that the green-fronted shop in Soho is to become a permanent fixture.
As MFM reported in April, the Broadwick Street eatery, which used to be a traditional Pret, was set up for a month in June but ended up doing such a brisk trade in salads such as Cauli Tabbouleh Veggie Pot and wraps such as Avocado and Chipotle Chickpeas that the decision was made to keep it open for the summer months.
More than 45 veggie and vegan recipes were rustled up to ensure the venture was successful, although bosses were not optimistic: profits were expected to decline by 30 per cent following the removal of meat from the menu. Pret A Manger’s chief executive, Clive Schlee, said the response to the company’s “experiment” had been “overwhelming”
Announcing the news on his blog, Schlee said: “Our customers have spoken loud and clear, so Veggie Pret is here to stay … We’ve taken the decision to keep it open for ever! And, if we can, to open more Veggie Pret shops in the future.”
Apart from the food, Schlee put some of the success of the project down to the age and tech know-how of its clientele. “Clearly, the move towards a plant-based diet is gathering momentum, especially among millennials. Vegetarians and vegans are an articulate and social media-savvy group. Many of you have been advocating eating less meat for years and have been thrilled to see a major UK business take up the cause.”
The next of the meat-free outlets – which are branded green rather than the company’s usual dark red – is likely to cater for the corporate market inside London’s Square Mile, tempting suited and booted City types to invest in their health and that of the planet.
As the trend towards meat free eating grows among engaged and environmentally aware people of all ages, in big cities and beyond, it’s to be hoped that a Veggie Pret will be taking over a store near you soon. Let us know if you spot one!