It’s nothing like anything we have in America; the concept seems fallacious, yet its food is consistently good. Lined with the walls of fresh, delicious product, Pret a Manger, more commonly known as “Pret,” is what most “fast food” strives to be, but falls so short of.

The food actually looks appetizing. Plain and simple, Pret a Manger offers uniformity. Its model reflects London, as it is accessible to anyone. When you walk into a Pret, there is almost always a rush of people. Very few times have I not had to stand in a line. The crowd consists of a melting pot of people, from old business people getting their morning coffee fix, to parents gathering supplies for their child’s lunch, to even university students, like me, grabbing a quick bit to eat before my next class; Pret has something for everyone.

It’s hard not to walk through central London and not see at least one Pret on any given street. It’s like in New York City, where you cannot seem to escape the plague of Starbucks.

But Pret offers so much more than say, an American version, Starbucks, does.

It’s concept is not necessarily unique today, but it was one of the first of its kind. Founded in 1986, Pret a Manger creates natural food without preservatives and chemicals. The company prides itself on making and selling its product on the same day, which eliminates the food being old or reused after the day is done. This whole business model, to me, seems wasteful and expensive, but Pret prides itself on giving its leftovers to different nonprofits, allowing less food to go to waste.

This past semester, I was studying abroad in London, the capital of this revolutionary healthy fast food. Every morning on my way to class, I would stop in a Pret and grab a quick breakfast, waiting no more than three minutes in line. 

Everyone knows a commute to work can be very stressful and time consuming so a healthy and quick option for any meal of the day is something Pret works to achieve.

They offer a plethora of breakfast options like a veggie sandwich on brioche (different vegetables like roasted tomatoes and spinach, with an egg and a slice of melted cheese, on top of a warm brioche bun) or a ham and spinach “power omelet.” The menu changes seasonally yet, true to English fashion, porridge is something that is consistently available to order.

Pret a Manger also offers lunch and dinner options, which are ever changing.  Now, you cannot walk through London or really any major European city without seeing one of the fast food staples, Pret a Manger’s Asian cuisine concept, Itsu, Eat, Wasabi, or Leon, all of which follow Pret a Manger’s healthy fast food model. All of these “fast food” concepts are affordable, healthy, and quick, offering reliability to the consumer.

A lot of these restaurants are looking to/ have already expanded into major U.S. cities. Seeing the success in Europe, this healthy, fast food concept is bound to take over the U.S. Be on the lookout for a European fast food chain coming to a city near you.