EAT disappears from high street after cafe chain bought by Pret

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
General view of an EAT branch in St Martin's Lane, London. Picture date: Wednesday May 22, 2019. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics

The UK cafe chain EAT has closed down for good, ending almost a quarter of a century of trading.

The brand released a statement on social media confirming its disappearance from the UK high street on Monday. All stores have now closed.

The announcement comes amid widespread temporary closures of other food and drink outlets and retailers including Costa Coffee and McDonald’s over the coronavirus outbreak.

But the winding up of EAT began last year after it was sold, and the pandemic was not mentioned when it announced its own permanent closure.

EAT and its 90 stores were bought up by rival chain Pret A Manger last year for an undisclosed sum.

Read more: Pret A Manger snaps up EAT to ‘turbo-charge’ Veggie Pret branches

Many branches have been converted since to become Pret branches, including its new Veggie Pret brand stocking vegetarian-only products.

EAT said in a statement: “After 24 years of creating, making and serving real food, it is time for us to say goodbye. Thank you to all of our wonderful customers - we’ve loved every minute of our journey.”

Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret, had said last May the acquisition of EAT’s estate was a “wonderful opportunity to turbo charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”

Pret itself has also been forced to temporarily close its UK stores over the coronavirus and government’s social distancing plans to curb its spread.