Pret a Manger is plotting to expand outdoors London and different big city centres as massive numbers of workplace staff proceed to earn a living from home, with plans to open 100 franchised retailers, plus about 100 of its personal shops.

The espresso and sandwich chain has been hit laborious by the Covid-19 pandemic as its city centre shops suffered from the absence of commuters and vacationers. But the corporate stated that in some regional cities its retailers have been busier than that they had ever been.

The transfer comes as Pret – which final week rowed again on plans to slash workers bonuses after staff threatened strike action – has come beneath extreme monetary strain through the pandemic. The firm ditched its dividend fee to shareholders, and in April warned of “material uncertainties” over whether or not it may proceed as a going concern.

The firm stated it was in talks with doable franchise companions, which may lengthen its attain outdoors London and different big cities throughout the UK. It is drawing up plans to open about 100 franchised shops – eating places that might be run by impartial operators on its behalf – over the following two to three years.

It can also be proposing to open about 100 extra of its personal retailers over the following three years.

The transfer follows the launch this 12 months of a partnership with Tesco to trial Pret retailers inside Tesco branches in Kensington in west London, Peterborough, and different areas as a part of a shake-up of its enterprise mannequin after the pandemic.

A Pret spokesperson stated: “In some areas reminiscent of regional cities and elements of northern England, our retailers are busier than they’ve ever been.

“We’re trying to set up new partnerships with franchise companions to deliver Pret to extra folks in cities and journey hubs throughout the UK, and we’re additionally taking a look at the place we are able to open extra retailers which we run immediately.”

Pret staff, the overwhelming majority of whom earn fundamental pay on the authorized minimal of £8.91 an hour, had threatened to down instruments over proposed pay cuts. On Thursday, after the deliberate adjustments prompted an outcry on social media, the corporate stated a service bonus linked to efficiency judged by a thriller shopper could be restored to £1 an hour. Nevertheless, the chain has not reversed a choice to stop paying for break occasions.

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