A Soho branch of Pret a Manger is to become the first in the world to go “veggie only” following a surge in sales of its meat free dishes.
The outlet of the 30-year-old sandwich and salad chain will be a “no carnivores” zone for a month during an experiment in June. The exact location of the store involved has not yet been revealed.
Pret boss Clive Schlee said a double-digit growth in veggie sales was down to both an expansion of the menu and improved recipes. Pret sold 17,000 of its beets, squash and feta superbowl a week last year, outpacing chicken and salmon items.
Schlee said: “Vegetarian (products) haven’t looked or tasted good enough for meat eaters to give them a go. Once they start to get vibrant colours, textures and a good enough mouth-feel people will go across quite easily.
He credited Pret’s fastest-growing ingredient, avocado, with boosting the appeal of many veggie choices. Last year Pret customers ate 5 million of the nutrient-packed fruit.
Schlee warned the Soho pop-up might not be a money spinner, but that the objective was rather to encourage more people to forego meat more often, as part of its wider ‘Not Just For Veggies’ campaign.
“Our takings in the shop will probably drop, but the pop-up will signal that Pret is serious about providing veggie and vegan options.”
The initiative follows another record year of sales at Pret, which now has almost 400 outlets in the UK, the US, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Group sales rose 14 per cent to £676.2 million in 2015, while earnings rose 14.5 cent to £84.3 million.
The US was its fastest-growing market, with New York’s Penn Station becoming its highest-selling store per square foot.