London sandwich chain Pret A Manger opens shop at Dubai airport

Pret A Manger, the sandwich shop beloved by London office workers for its freshly made rolls and organic coffee, has opened its first UAE store.

The chain whose magenta star sign, chrome furniture and daily donations to the homeless have become a staple of many a central London street, announced yesterday it has opened its first store in the emirates at Dubai International Airport through a franchise deal with Emirates Leisure Retail.

The new store, located in the new Concourse D, will include the concept’s trademark large kitchen and will be open 24 hours every day.

Emirates Leisure Retail, a unit of Emirates Group, which also operates the UAE shops of Costa Coffee, Giraffe and The Noodle House, is understood to be looking at opening further Pret stores across the UAE.

“We’ve had a lot of fun developing our new menu,” said Caroline Cromar, Pret’s group director of food. “We will be bringing plenty of existing Pret favourites over, with some special new products and fantastic locally sourced ingredients, such as falafel and hummus.”

The opening brings Pret’s sandwich empire to about 400 shops worldwide, including the US, France, Hong Kong and ­China, although about three- quarters of the shops are still located in the UK capital.

According to Pret’s new UAE website, the brand’s Dubai team has been training in Pret shops around the world.

The arrival of the sandwich chain comes as the similarly named Pret to Go is attempting to take a healthy sized bite out of the domestic sandwich market.

This month, Pret To Go, a sandwich chain founded in late 2014 by the entrepreneur Kunal Lahori, opened its eighth store in the Dubai airport free zone, Dafza. The chain also operates in Emaar Square, DIFC, Media City, Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi International Airport. Pret A Manger declined to comment on its rival.

The expansion of both chains in the UAE comes at a time when industry experts are predicting that up to a fifth of the country’s food and beverage operators could close by the end of next year, as more and more firms attempt to break into an already overcrowded market.

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