Meet Pano Christou, Pret a Manger CEO

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pret a manger

Today we delve into the career history of the Pret A Manger CEO and find out whether you can start your own franchise unit with the brand in the UK.


Most of us have popped into Pret A Manger for a cup of coffee or tasty sandwich at some point or another. But who’s behind the incredibly successful chain? Today we meet Pano Christou, Pret A Manger CEO.

Who is Pret A Manger CEO, Pano Christou?

The current Pret A Manger CEO is Pano Christou. He began his Pret A Manger journey as an Assistant Manager in the Carnaby Street store 20 years ago. With lots of hard work and complete dedication to the brand, he worked his way up to Managing Director of Pret UK by 2014 and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the start of 2019. In September 2019, he was appointed as CEO.

pret a manger ceo

Before joining the sandwich chain, he had held positions as a Store Manger at Blockbuster and McDonald’s Corporation.

The title of Pret A Manger CEO was previously held by Clive Schlee, who helped the chain become the billion-pound business that it is and operate from over 550 shops in nine markets. Schlee will now act as a non-executive director.

There is never an easy time to stop being CEO of a wonderful company, but with the completion of our EAT deal tomorrow, and the roll out of the Pret Allergy Plan, now is a good time for a new CEO to take Pret on the next stage of its journey. I’m really pleased Pano is taking over. He knows our shops through and through and will keep Pret true to the values that have underpinned its success. – Clive Schlee

What is Pret A Manger?

Pret A Manger is a global sandwich and coffee shop chain based in the UK. It came from the brilliant minds of university friends Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, who were sick of the processed food and impersonal service they got from most sandwich stores. In 1986, they decided to open up their very own store on London’s Victoria Street – the very first Pret A Manger. It is community driven, and values, respects and, most importantly, involves its customers in the continuous development of the business.


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Pret A Manger is committed to minimising the negative impact it has on the environment and has implemented a range of strategies to help it reach its goals within the next six years. Pret A Manger’s strong community ethos and environmentally conscious way of operating has prompted it to introduce a number of initiatives to encourage its customers to think about how they can reduce their impact. For instance, in 2018, the sandwich shop business introduced a 50p discount on all of its hot drinks for customers who brought their own reusable cups along.

“I am honoured to follow Clive as CEO. Pret has big plans for the next few years – integrating EAT, developing Veggie Pret, delivering our digital transformation and leading the way in supporting customers with allergies. I want to thank Clive for his leadership over the last sixteen years, and we look forward to building on his legacy.” – Pano Christou

Does Pret A Manger franchise in the UK?

Yes! Let's see a full breakdown of the opportunity.

  • Becoming a Pret A Manger franchisee: You need to have experience managing the operations of a medium to large-sized food and beverage store. If you want to find out more about starting your own franchise, you should complete the application form on its website.
     
  • How much you need to invest: Applicants must have the ability to demonstrate a net worth in excess of £7 million with access to liquid assets of £3.5 million.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Pret A Manger doesn’t go into details about the training and support it provides on its website. Fill in the application form to get a full rundown of the franchise opportunity.

Other franchise opportunities in the sandwich shop industry

1. Subway

Subway is the UK’s biggest sandwich retailer in terms of sales and one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

  • Becoming a Subway franchisee: Subway is looking for savvy entrepreneurs with a passion for the brand. You should have expertise in the market and display good time management and communication skills. You also need to abide by its procedures and follow the training and site selection processes.
     
  • How much you need to invest: In order to be accepted as a franchisee, interested entrepreneurs will need to make a minimum investment of £85,570. However, you can get help with funding from one of Subway’s financial partners, so if you have good credit standing, you could get bank loans that cover up to 70 percent of the cost.
     
  • What you get for your investment: In order for you to be able to run your own Subway franchise confidently, the brand provides a two-week training course that is carried out in one of its many training centres across the globe. Even after your business gets off the ground, Subway continues to provide support in the form of e-courses and communicates through newsletters. There is help with finding the perfect location, but bear in mind that setting up a store could take anything from two months to a year. Don’t fret though – Subway will be there for you every step of the way.

2. Baguette Express

If you're looking for a more affordable sandwich shop franchise but still want to compete with big names, Baguette Express may be the perfect choice. It has steadily grown since 1999 and now operates 50 outlets in the UK. It has also seen success internationally, having opened four branches in Dubai.

  • Becoming a Baguette Express franchisee: Franchisees can opt to open a kiosk, quick-service takeaway or large restaurant with capacity to seat over 100 customers. You can learn more and sign up on its client page.

  • How much you need to invest: This franchise requires a total investment of £60,000.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Baguette Express will provide a template for your business plan and support franchisees with site selection, store fit-out and procuring equipment and stock.
    Start a sandwich shop today

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Pano Christou, why not consider starting a sandwich franchise? Read all about our top five sandwich shop franchises in the UK.

Enjoyed this? Find out more about the Costa Coffee CEO in another one of our articles from the series.

>> Read more articles on the Food and Beverage sector

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