Pret A Manger appoints Lewis for global PR brief

Pret A Manger has drafted in Lewis PR as part of a global PR drive spanning corporate, consumer and social media comms.

Expanding in the UK and launching in France: Pret
Expanding in the UK and launching in France: Pret

The sandwich and coffee chain has handed Lewis PR an annual retainer in a bid to promote its 2011 expansion, including the opening of new outlets in the UK and its launch in France.

It is the first time that the chain, which operates more than 240 outlets across the UK, US and Hong Kong, has appointed a retained agency in the UK. The move comes as Pret seeks to compete with rival chains such as Eat, as well as leading supermarkets and coffee shops.

The brief will concentrate on traditional media including print and broadcast. Lewis will help build the Pret brand around the world and correct the misconception it is 'owned by McDonald's'.

McDonald's bought a third of the business in 2001 but sold its stake in Pret in 2008. The sandwich chain is now part-owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint and poised for growth after it last year reported an 18 per cent increase in sales.

Lewis is also charged with advising on and running Pret's social media channels, promoting Pret's 25th birthday celebrations this year, launching new sandwiches and soups and raising awareness of the company's charitable credentials.

The company prides itself on only selling food freshly prepared on site every day. Leftover products are donated to the homeless at the end of each working day. During 2010, Pret gave away 1.7 million meals to homeless people.

Paul Charles, COO at Lewis PR, said: 'Pret is one of the most innovative food brands around the world. It is competing with chains such as Eat as well as supermarkets including Sainsbury's, but its unique selling point is the range of food made fresh.'

Charles added: 'This is a brand I have admired for years and we want to show how it delivers millions of sandwiches a year and explain how well it is doing in a "non-arrogant" way. It is at the heart of the community and we want to show it to be a responsible retailer.'

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