High street sandwich slingers plan for less slinging
Maroon-branded high street monolith Pret a Manger is getting formal advice on changing its way of working, according to the Financial Times. As the novel coronavirus pandemic keeps many offices closed, the sandwich slinger — and competitor Leon — is seeking support that could extend as far as linking the amount of money paid to their landlords to the number of grab-and-go meals sold. This is called “turnover rent.”
Such an arrangement would make rents more proportional to money coming into a given business, and therefore more affordable. It does not go as far as the “national time-out” touted by restaurant trade body U.K. Hospitality and a number of large chains and popular independents, which would offer nine months of total payment relief to landlords and tenants alike.
Pret a Manger employs over 8,000 people across 400 cafes, and has already reopened some of its sites with new social distancing measures in place. Its scale is one of the reasons it can afford to seek and use the support of advisory firms. This inadvertently highlights something else: in the absence of decisive government intervention, restaurants are being left to ask landlords to strike a deal. If one of the most popular chains in the country needs to marshal external support, where do smaller restaurants turn?
And in other news:
- London institution St. John will reopen its Bermondsey bakery on Friday 5 June.
- A round-up of everything that happened in the London restaurant world last week.
- After the driest May in over 120 years, wheat farmers predict rising flour and bread prices as crops are cut in half. [Sky News]
- COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe have had a knock-on effect on U.K. food exports, with sales to the E.U. falling by almost 20 percent in the first three months of 2020 compared to 2019. [Produce Business U.K.]
- Good tweet:
Everyone: one of the delicious things about new potatoes is their texture - that waxy, almost fudge-like quality.— James Ramsden (@JamesRamsden_) May 30, 2020
90s chefs: yeah but...how about we crush them