The once popular and currently struggling sandwich chain of the United Kingdom – Eat, will shut down completely and will not be seen on the high street of the country after Pret Manger, the owner of the brand, decided to pull down the shutters of the remaining 90 branches of the brand permanently.
The restrictions imposed by the UK government on social distancing has forced most of the coffee shop and restaurant chains on the UK high-street to announce temporary closure of their business.
However both the companies – Pret Manger and Eat, confirmed on Monday, that the closure announcement of Eat’s store was permanent in nature.
“After 24 years of creating, making and serving real food, it is time for us to say goodbye. Thank you to all of our wonderful customers – we’ve loved every minute of our journey,” tweeted the company.
The sandwich chain was taken over by the much larger rival Pret a Manger in May 2019. The deal amount was never disclosed. The strategic aim for the acquisition was to access a route for the speedy expansion of Veggie Pret, the standalone vegetarian brand of Pret a Manger, which only sells vegetarian and vegan food.
The vast majority of the remaining stores of Eat were in London but it also had sites around the UK including in Birmingham and Manchester, as well as airport outlets in Bristol, Edinburgh and Heathrow. The franchise partners of the brand will however continue to operate outlets in Paris Gare du Nord and Spain.
The Eat sandwich chain was first founded by husband and wife Niall and Faith MacArthur in 1996 and the first store was opened next to Charing Cross station in central London.
The private equity owners of the company, Horizon Capital, had put up the struggling UK business for sale in February 2019. The company in recent years was barely being able to cope up with the huge losses that it was incurring and hence was looking at the eventuality of cutting costs by closing down stores. In the 12 months to June 2018, the company had made a loss of £17.3m with its sales dropping by 4 per cent year on year to £94.9m.
On Saturday, Pret announced its decision to close its 400 UK shops temporarily in light of coronavirus.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)