A Twitter meme perfectly captured here:
It’s not that I don’t welcome the success of a homegrown business – I do – but it’s more about what Pret a Manger represents.
And to my mind, what it represents is a relentless onward march towards homogenisation of taste in a world where the little people in maroon aprons will not rest until they’ve focus-grouped our tastebuds to within an inch of their lives.
The Pret menu does not, as one might wish, showcase the best of British produce or cooking skill. Instead it seems designed to appeal to the widest possible audience of well-travelled yuppies – the kind of smart-suited, twentysomethings who feature on The Apprentice, who talk fluent management-ese and pride themselves on their granite-topped kitchens and their Heston Blumenthal cookbooks (still unopened).
Such is the burning issue for Elizabeth Day, author of a book I can’t say I’ve read, and probably won’t be rushing out to buy on the strength of this article either…
Matthew Fort, genial host of many cooking shows, tries his best to rebut her, but sadly, she’s unstoppable.
Well, yes, OK, I concede Pret is popular and provides jobs for lots of people. Plus, they give their unsold sandwiches to homeless charities, which is A Very Good Thing. But I can’t help feeling we would be better served spending our lunchtime pennies in independent, local cafes rather than returning, day after day, to eat food that is mass-produced and tastes dispiritingly samey.
Why do the English get a kick out of running down someone or something successful?