The French phrase meaning "ready to eat" (thanks Zamz!), Pret à Manger is a chain of high quality sandwich shops in London. Based on the ethos that all their food is freshly prepared, using only the best ingredients with no artificial additives, they sell some of the tastiest and most interesting food in London. Not just sandwiches, their range includes some very attractive sushi (including a vegetarian sushi), homemade yoghurts and muffins and coffee that knocks Starbucks into the sidelines.

They were started in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, two City workers disgruntled with the (lack of) quality of sandwich shops in London. The company is still owned by its founders and now has over 100 stores, and they have now started a major expansion programme, with outlets across the UK, and apparently they opened their first American outlet, in New York City earlier this year.

Ahh well, proof positive, if any were needed, that The Man will get his clutches into everything. As of January 30, 2001 McDonald's has taken a 33% stake in Pret. Two companies with more different ethoses could hardly be imagined, yet Pret sold out... *sigh*

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