A new wave of Pret and Veggie Pret cafes could be coming to dozens of high streets across Britain, after Pret A Manger confirmed it had bought the EAT chain.
The move affects 90 EAT stores making it the latest major brand to disappear from the British food and drink landscape.
However, Pret has said it is business as usual for now for EAT staff and customers, and hopes the deal can be completed and approved by competition authorities later this year.
Pret said growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food were behind its plans to expand its Veggie Pret brand of branches, converting “as many of EAT’s shops as possible.”
A review of the EAT estate will determine how many stores can become vegetarian-only or classic Prets.
There are already four Veggie Prets in Manchester and London, but the acquisition for an undisclosed sum is likely to “significantly accelerate the growth of this brand,” according to Pret.
There had been speculation Pret would buy several of EAT’s stores, but the company confirmed on Wednesday it had bought the firm entirely.
Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret said: “The purpose of this deal is to serve a growing demand of vegetarian and vegan customers who want delicious, high quality food and drink options.
“We have been developing the Veggie Pret concept for over two years and we now have four hugely successful shops across London and Manchester. The acquisition of the EAT estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”
Andrew Walker, CEO of EAT said: “EAT’s passionate and talented team are what make the business; their commitment to providing our customers with great food and excellent service is at the heart of the company’s outstanding recent performance.
“I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised through this transaction. It has been a privilege to lead EAT for the past three years, and I believe this acquisition creates new opportunities for employees and customers alike.”