I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.
I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.
This is one major reason why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.
In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions for improving work conditions was an inconvenience, when nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine.
I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even days ago on employment review websites.
But when I was bullied in Pret during the darkest time of my life while HR was aware of, even involved in it, I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department claims.
Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.
If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I listed from outside Employment Review websites.
In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people.
Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything but there may be fake reviews! Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.
Since I compiled all these complaints, the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more targets and profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out.
As true reviews will always continue on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.
One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”
Another review also from NY: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.
You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay etc.
And on the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.
Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!
I left all the mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.
This is for my former colleagues with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder for almost 10 years.
I miss you guys, and this is from and for you!
Some of the most direct reviews:
Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.
“Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” NEW review from 27. June 2018
NEW review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”
Same comment, new name:
My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:
Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks.
Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.
A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!
Quote: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”
A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.
“One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.”
Quote: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company…”
This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.
A former Manager’s review:
“I am an ex GM [General Manager] … I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs [Team Members] to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”
Source, scrolling down to the comments.
From YouTube ca. February 2018
— and —
— and —
From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.
“The idea of proper training is also rediculous – Most people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”
Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!
“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”
Pret A Manger Logo “If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret” “Being made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.” – Welcome to the Club and my website! You are not even safe when you grief the loss of a brother!
and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).
“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”
My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.
— 4 months later: —
“Further to my previous comment [scrolling up above this review] about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”
“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.
Alot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”
“Please get the bullies out” “Forced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination …
“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.”
“Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”
“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthless … get down from that high horse you’re on”
“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”
“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”
“If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”
“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!
“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!”
“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.
“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.” “Favoritism with management … No integrity … A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo. …
“The brainwash is real” “The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. … managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)
“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!
“Management … has no clue how to manage people”
“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated“ “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.“
“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.”
“Horrible training, too many lies” “Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Advice to Management: Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”
“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” … really unprofessional and have very low management skills.”
“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”
“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”
“Most of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from”, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”
“Worst company to work for” … managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)
“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)
“I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”
“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”
My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.
Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt”
Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings”
Pret A Joke “You have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.”
Pret A Nothing “didn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.”
Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”
Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops. … Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!”
Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”
Pret A Scream “One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.”
Pret A Manager “the staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck”
Pret A No Respetar “Los managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”
“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)
“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)
“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”
My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!
“Good but not perfect” … management should do their jobs
“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”
NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.
“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”
My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!
“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”
“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”
My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!
“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.”
“Ok job…” (“Atmosphere was horrible at times. … Don’t overload your staff.”)
“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!
“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.
“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”
“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”
“Barista” again “Advise to Management: Train your internal managers better”
“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”
“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”
“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”
“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”
“Well, unfortunately my post about the harsh treatment at Pret has been removed minutes after appearing here. Censorship. Will find another way to post on the web.”
“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”
“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!
Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”
“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”
“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”
“Team Member” “Managers are pain”
“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”
“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”
“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”
“Eh” “The management is terrible.”
“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”
“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”
“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”
“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”
“The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”
My response to this review: This person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it gotten worse.
“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!
“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”
“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”
“General Manager” “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones. Advice to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”
“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)
“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”
“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”
“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”
“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”
“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”
“just terrible” “Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”
“working at pret” “Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)
“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…” “Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution”
“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”
“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them. Advice to Management:get over yourselves.”
I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….
Pret A Manger Logo “Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave.” “Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”
“DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”
They hire if you don’t know the language (That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).
Other review site “Indeed”
to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)
Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)
Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.
….. and so on.
In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.
@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.
Thank you for reading.