Struggling sandwich chain Eat has announced the permanent closure of its remaining 90 sites, after 24 years of operation.
The grab and go concept first opened in London in 1996, the brainchild of husband and wife team Niall and Faith MacArthur. The brand’s first location opened next to Charing Cross tube station in central London but went on to open scores of branches in the capital and around the UK.
The decision to permanently close follows the acquisition of Eat by rival chain Pret a Manger in May 2019, which bought the company with a view to use it as a way to expand its Veggie Pret brand, which exclusively serves vegetarian and vegan food.
Announcing the closure, Eat’s official Twitter account posted: “After 24 years of creating, making and serving real food, it is time for us to say goodbye. Thank you to all of our wonderful customers – we’ve loved every minute of our journey.”
The majority of Eat stores were in the capital, but the brand also operated branches in Birmingham and Manchester, as well as airport outlets in Bristol, Edinburgh and Heathrow. European franchise partners will continue to operate Eat in Spain and Paris Gare du Nord.
Eat was put up for sale in February 2019 following hefty losses. In the 12 months to June 2018, company sales declined by more than 4% to £94.9 million and the business suffered a £17.3 million loss.
Currently, all UK restaurants, cafes and coffee shops have been forced to close temporarily, following stringent government measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. On Saturday 21 March, Pret announced its decision to temporarily close all 400 of its UK sites in the wake of the global pandemic.
It is not yet know when restaurants will be allowed to reopen.
If you or anyone you know works for the NHS, check out the restaurants that are offering discounts to NHS frontline staff during Covid-19.