First Round: Aloo gob(i) smacked

No one, and it really does mean no one, enjoys the produce of healthy, fresh, fast-food purveyors Pret a Manger more than First Round. With at least half a dozen of its outlets within striking distance of PEI Towers, on any given lunchtime stroll (assuming hard working hacks have time for lunch, that is) First Round can quinoa, meatball wrap and kale it up with the best of them. Although preferably not at the same time…

And don’t even get it started on the new SuperBowls which have recently become a desk-lunch staple. In this case, the gateway drug was the Korean sweet and sour pulled pork bowl … mmmm. In fact the only thing that wipes the smile off First Round’s face when thinking about Pret is the hole it leaves in its pocket every month, although the occasional half-filled bircher muesli yogurt or mini-honey pot can also get its back up from time to time …

First Round could go on … So it was with interest and no little intrigue that it read that the Bridgepoint-owned company was mulling over the possibility of launching standalone vegetarian outlets. The group recently polled customers about the possibility of opening veggie stores and has apparently been met with a favourable response.

Last month its chief executive Clive Schlee told The Daily Telegraph that sales of its vegetarian sandwiches and salads had grown 12.5 percent in the last six months – faster than any of its meaty treats. Not only that, but, according to Schlee, falafel and halloumi is now its most popular wrap. (What – selling faster than hot Swedish meatballs??)

First Round has no doubt the firm could make a roaring success of such a venture and the demand would appear to support the move. First Round too would be happy to nail its colours to the veggie Pret mast, in the earnest expectation that pure veggie options might be a little kinder on its wallet. Well best of luck with that…