Vegetarians rejoice! The veggie Pret is now permanent

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This is a great day for all meat-shunners and broccoli-lovers, because the veggie-only Pret pop-up is now going to be a permanent fixture on the Soho scene.

The company's CEO Clive Schlee broke the good news in his blog today. It doesn't come as a huge surprise to fans of the pop-up: it was originally opened for just one month, which was then extended for the summer due to "overwhelming demand".

CEO Clive Schlee.
CEO Clive Schlee (Pret/PA)

"We had expected sales in the shop to decline as a result of the pop up. After the massive hype of the first few weeks, sales at Veggie Pret are still well up on where they were before the conversion," says Schlee, explaining why they have decided to keep the store green.

For Schlee, the popularity of a veggie-only store makes perfect sense. "Clearly, the move towards a plant-based diet is gathering momentum, especially among millennials. Vegetarians and vegans are an articulate and social media-savvy group," he says.

The pop-up has received over 20,000 customer comments in the past 12 weeks, and it's not just the social media-savvy millennials who are sharing the love. Even Sir Paul McCartney sent an email. A seal of approval from a Beatle: no wonder they decided to stay open.

So what does Pret want to gain by its new store, aside from some ace PR? Schlee says: "Pret's goal is to encourage meat eaters to try more veggie food by making sure it looks and tastes better."

Surprisingly, some of the vegan products are the biggest-sellers, with the cacao and orange pot selling 10 times the number originally predicted.

This could very well be the beginning of a veggie Pret empire. Schlee is looking to convert another London Pret into its veggie-friendly cousin, potentially in the City by the end of the year. Further afield, it might be Cambridge that gets the green treatment, so watch this space.