Pret A Manger, a coffee and sandwich company with headquarters in the UK, is the newest well-known Western brand to enter the Indian market. On Friday, the company opened its first store in Mumbai, India’s financial capital.
It occurs the same week as the nation’s first two Apple stores opened by the US technology giant.
Pret announced a partnership with Reliance Industries, a company owned by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India, last year.
Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, said the company’s products will reflect its brand while “also adapting to local preferences and eating customs” in the nation.
Reliance Brands, which also owns India’s largest retail chain, is making its first foray into the expanding food and beverage sector.
According to Reliance, their initial location is a replica of Pret’s UK stores.
According to Darshan Mehta, general director of Reliance Brands, the stores will be targeted at “the new Indian consumer”.
A few days prior to the debut, Apple CEO Tim Cook opened the company’s first retail location in India.
A second location in the nation’s capital Delhi opened on Thursday after the store in the financial hub Mumbai opened on Tuesday.
Pret’s Mumbai location opened with a majority of its standard UK menu, but it also offered a few regional specialties, such the Bombay Toastie and a fiery paneer and lima bean soup.
“It’s been a bit chaotic here since we came, maybe because of it being the first day. But it’s quite similar to the London stores I have been to,” Hemlataa P, a fashion consultant, told the BBC.
To accommodate India’s sizable vegetarian population, the majority of menu items will likewise be vegetarian.
“The hot meal brought memories of my time in London. But I missed the cheddar and pickle baguette – it’s not served today,” said a customer who works in the neighbourhood.
Pret A Manger, whose name translates to “ready to eat” in French, was established in London in 1983, and its first location opened the following year.
College buddies Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe purchased the brand after the original company filed for bankruptcy, opening their first location in 1986.
Currently, the brand operates 400 stores in nine markets, including the UK, US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
More than 2,000 shops are run by Reliance Brands in India.
Parent firm Reliance Retail signed a franchise agreement with 7-Eleven, a chain of convenience stores with headquarters in the US, in 2021.
Reliance’s dominance as India’s leading brick-and-mortar retailer was cemented by the agreement.
Forbes estimates that Ambani’s personal wealth is around $84 billion.
The late Dhirubhai Ambani, father of the 66-year-old, created a textile firm that would later grow into Reliance Industries.
It is currently among the biggest corporations in India, having operations in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecoms, and retail.
Reliance Industries’ chairman is Ambani. The Ambani family owns 49% of the business.
The family also has tens of millions of pounds’ worth of property in the UK.
The renowned UK toy shop Hamleys was acquired by a division of Reliance Industries in 2019 for an unknown value.
Reliance paid £57 million for the ancient British country club Stoke Park two years later.
(Adapted from BBC.com)