September 2, 2014

The rest of the Pret A Manger story

PretbreadIf the CNN story in the previous post got you interested in Pret A Manger, check out their web site. Holy cow. These people are serious about their business and it’s quality. And they say so with no uncertainty or big corporate-speak. I like these people.

I’m heading to NYC next week, and Pret A Manger is on my to-do list.

From their “Good Jobs for Good People” page:

We employ many different nationalities, and value the cosmopolitan feel this gives the company.

Twice a year, we throw a massive party. Some have passed into Pret legend. Everyone at Pret is invited.

We have an in-house ‘ideas department’. Postage paid ideas cards and prizes are reviewed each month. There are thousands of bright ideas that could help Pret be a better, kinder, easier place to work and shop.

PEF: Only about 10,000 things to monitor

You may recall that I’ve talked about the PEF or Personal Experience Factor a few times and it’s what Amy Curtis-McIntyre of JetBlue was talking about here.

Along comes a story today about Pret A Manger in CNN. Founder Julian Metcalfe got it right. A strong PEF is the result of OBSESSION.

Q. But you can create an atmosphere where people enjoy working in that establishment — you have that atmosphere.

A. Yeah. You can create an atmosphere with 10,000 little components. I always try and compare … I compare Pret to the inside of a beautifully made Swiss watch, you know. If all 10,000 cogs are turning it works. And the result of that is the atmosphere is good. And the sandwich is good. But you know all ten thousand cogs have to work: the recruitment process has to work, the training process has to work, the property indeed has to work, the hot water system has to work, the bread must be delivered, the man who makes the ham must make that ham with pride. It all has to work and only when all ten thousand things click together, then maybe if you are lucky you get a good atmosphere. And that’s the hideous truth. I’m not making this up, this is the truth and when I go, when we go into Pret shops and you don’t have that atmosphere or the quality, it’s because maybe just a couple of…you only need a few dozens of those cogs not to turn for the whole thing to start suffering. I’ll tell you that.

It’s a great interview. Read it. We help our clients with their PEF, but it’s always easier when they’re already obsessive. And, like Metcalfe says, it only takes a tiny percentage of the entire PEF to be misfiring to affect the entire operation. No amount of advertising will fix it.