Pret abandons vegetarian venture as novelty of meat-free branches wears off: Pret A Manger is axing almost all of its vegetarian-only stores as the novelty of meat-free branches wears off. The company is to shut or rebrand 75% of its Veggie Pret stores six years after they first launched. Four Veggie Pret stores have closed for good in recent months, while one in Canary Wharf has been converted into a regular Pret. The company is understood to be considering doing the same to two other branches in Manchester and London. The pullback will leave just two Veggie Pret shops in London’s Soho and Shoreditch. Pret said the decision was driven by the fact vegetarian options were now widely available at all its stores, giving customers less reason to seek out the specialist shops. A spokesman told The Telegraph: “Over half of our menu is vegetarian or vegan, with meat-free and vegan options accounting for one in three of our main meals sales.” Meat-free items include smoky carrot and falafel sandwiches, hummus and chipotle wraps, and beet wellington baguettes. Veggie Pret first began as a pop-up in London’s Soho in 2016 but proved so popular the company made it a permanent fixture. The original branch sold salad super bowls and “plant pots”, among other items. At its peak, there were ten Veggie Pret sites across the country and the company had planned to convert the majority of EAT stores into Veggie Prets after buying the rival chain in 2019. Those plans were halted by the onset of the pandemic before being scrapped. The Pret spokesman said: “Our focus now is to keep growing our extensive vegetarian and vegan offer in every Pret shop, so we’ve decided to convert or close some of our current Veggie Prets.” The remaining two Veggie Prets “will continue to develop new vegan and vegetarian options to be rolled out to our classic Prets,” the spokesman added. Vegan and vegetarian diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, driven by concerns about health and the impact of the meat industry on the planet. Pret A Manger has almost 400 stores across the UK.
Restaurant meal kit platform Plateaway closes down: Restaurant meal kit platform Plateaway, which last year raised circa £500,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, has announced its closure. The company was founded by Harry and Lewis Slagel and at one point worked with 140 global brands. Harry Slagel said: “I have some sad news: Lewis and I are gutted to share that we have taken the decision to close Plateaway - the business we put our lives and souls into for the past two-and-three-quarter years. During this time, the team achieved a lot. Here are some of the achievements we’re most proud of: worked with more than 140 amazing global brands, fed in excess of 40,000 foodies across the UK, and achieved nearly £1m in revenue. I want to thank my amazing team who we couldn’t have achieved what we did without and also a massive thank you to our investors, partners and customers for believing and backing us.”