Pret a Manger’s Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe set up this chain in 1986 to provide fresh, natural and preservatives-free sandwiches to a market lacking exciting alternatives. Their products helped start a national revival to improve lunchtime choices. It has also pioneered giving away its unsold sandwiches to charities for the homeless. The London-based chain which has stores in America and Hong Kong opened its 185th store in Liverpool recently. Bridgepoint bought a majority of the business in February valuing the chain at £345m. Sales in 2007 reached £222.5m.
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